Local News - Issue 270

Khumalo Pens SuperSport Return
SuperSport United have confirmed the signing of Bongani Khumalo as well as Fergie Lakay. Former club captain Bongani Khumalo returns after a disappointing spell in England and joins on a three-year deal. Meanwhile, 18-year-old forward Fagrie Lakay joins on a four-year deal from Santos. Lakay was a revelation for the Under-20 national team last year, helping them qualify for the African Youth Championships. He was also part of the Bafana Bafana squad that participated in the Cosafa Cup tournament, and became the country’s youngest ever player when he came on as a substitute in South Africa’s 2-0 Nelson Mandela Challenge win over Ivory Coast in November. Khumalo will wear the number 29 jersey, while Lakay will don the number 19.

Mpumalanga Black Aces have completed the signing of former Moroka Swallows defender Ashraf Hendricks. Hendricks left relegated Swallows at the end of last month upon the expiry of his contract, and recently featured when his new club won the inaugural Mbombela Cup, beating Platinum Stars on penalties. The former Bidvest Wits and Santos centre-back says he will always hold Moroka Swallows in high esteem in his heart, and if it was up to him he would have continued playing for the club in the NFD. The 30-year-old defender made 12 league starts and three substitute appearances during a disastrous season for the Dobsonville side in 2014/15.

Orlando Pirates striker Kermit Erasmus is reportedly the subject of a transfer bid from Swedish league leaders IFK Gothenburg. The Sowetan reports that Gothenburg have made a formal offer for Erasmus's services, with the club's Mats Gren declining to comment on the matter. Bucs, should they be open to considering a bid, would have to make a decision swiftly as the Swedish transfer window runs until August 11. Erasmus, who missed the Carling Black Label Cup with a hamstring injury, previously played in Europe for Dutch outfits Feyenoord and Excelsior Rotterdam (loan) before returning to SuperSport United in 2010. The Bafana Bafana international spent three seasons with United before joining the Buccaneers, who he top scored for in 2014/15 with 16 goals in all competitions.

Former Orlando Pirates midfielder Benedict 'Tso' Vilakazi has officially retired from playing and moved into coaching. Vilakazi was spotted sitting on the bench for Education Through Soccer as a head coach during the Under-17 Engen Knockout Challenge at the Marks Park Sports Club in Johannesburg at the weekend. Vilakazi helped his team finish fourth as they lost 1-0 to Mamelodi Sundowns in the semi-finals of the event. "Yes, I can confirm that I have retired from playing football," Vilakazi said. "I have now set my sights in coaching. I have just finished my CAF B licence and waiting for my certificate.” The diminutive playmaker, who earned 31 Bafana Bafana caps, last played at Botswana Meat Commission nearly two years ago. Vilakazi became a household name at Pirates, while he also had stints at Sundowns, Mpumalanga Black Aces and Black Leopards.

Championship side Cardiff City are reportedly planning a move for Bafana Bafana international Tokelo Rantie. The striker scored the opener for Bournemouth in a 3-2 friendly defeat against the Bluebirds on Friday night. Walesonline reports that City manager Russell Slade has earmarked Rantie as the man to lead the line, despite him failing to start a match for the Cherries last season. Things look even more uncertain for Rantie in 2015/16 as Bournemouth have bought in some new players for their debut English Premier League campaign. Rantie is the club’s record signing, having joined from Swedish club Malmo for £3million two years ago. City also have South African midfielder Kagisho Dikgacoi on their books.

Banyana Banyana beat Kenya 1-0 on Sunday to advance 2-0 on aggregate to the final qualifying round for next year's Olympic Games. Banyana - who will battle either Equatorial Guinea or Nigeria for a spot at Rio 2016 - prevailed thanks to substitute Rhoda Mulaudzi's 25th minute strike at Machakos Stadium. Vera Pauw's charges won the first leg courtesy of Lebohang Ramalepe's 75th minute goal at Dobsonville Stadium on July 18. Banyana started their qualifying campaign with a 8-2 rout of Gabon.

Mpumalanga Black Aces have confirmed the signing of Liberian striker Kpah Sherman. Sherman has penned a three-year contract with AmaZayoni following a spell with Tanzanian side Young African Sport Club. Aces chairman Mario Morfou is confident the Lone Stars international will link up well with Zambian forward Collins Mbesuma this season. “He’s an excellent player and arguably one of the best players we have ever signed and yes we are relieved to finally be able to formally welcome him to AmaZayoni,” Morfou said on the club's website. “He will be an ideal partner upfront with Collins Mbesuma and I’m confident he will be amongst the top goal scorers in the league this season.”

While pleased with the way his side "killed the game" to qualify for the CAF Under-23 Championships in Senegal, national Under-23 coach Owen da Gama feels they should have beaten Zimbabwe by a greater margin than 3-0. "We totally took control and it should have been four, five or six goals in five minutes! But I was very, very happy for these boys," Da Gama said. “With a little more game-time and a few more matches I think we have got the basis of very good team to help us in Senegal." The Under-23s will now compete in an eight-nation CAF Under-23 tournament in Senegal in November, aiming for a top-three finish to qualify for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

Golden Arrows have announced a raft of new signings, which includes strikers Rodney Ramagalela and Mwape Musonda from Mamelodi Sundowns and Orlando Pirates respectively. The PSL returnees have also recruited goalkeeper Philani Zikalala and defender Gladwin Shitolo from Pirates, as well as ex-Platinum Stars midfielder Edgar Manaka and fullback Tumelo Letuka from Free State Stars. Arrows released a statement on their website, part of which says: "Gladwin Shitolo previously with Jomo Cosmos and Orlando Pirates, has been signed to help with the midfield. He captained Cosmos before being signed to Pirates, he has a natural ability to lead, and this shows on the field. "Nkosinathi Zitha, this young player joins us from Thanda Royal Zulu. He is an explosive player on the field, and has considerable performance on defence. Mwape Musonda joins us from Orando Pirates. He initially made his name at Konkola Mine Police where he scored 10 goals in the 2012 season when the club from the northern border town of Chililabombwe made its topflight debut. He is a strong, quick and powerful striker, who reads a game well and combines well with others going forward and he can shoot with both feet. Khayalethu Mjoli hails from Natal United, although young, he impressed earlier in the year when Golden Arrows met Natal United on the field. He has a natural ability with a football and has adapted well to the Golden Arrows style of play. Kwanele Hlongwane also plied his game at Natal United. The youngster is another versatile attacking midfielder who has impressed while being with the club for the pre-season. Philani Zikalala has joined the team from Orlando Pirates. Having spent much of the last season as the Bucs third choice keeper, he is a welcome addition to our keeping outfit. Born in Kwa-Mashu, Philani is returning home to wear the green and gold. He has played in one of our pre-season friendlies and has impressed all. Edgar Manaka formerly from Platinum Stars is a seasoned player, having had experience with Boroka FC and Black Leopards. He has also joined the midfielder position but is known to be versatile with the boot. Jabulani Ncobeni is a promising midfielder. Previously with Bloemfontein Celtic and Maritzburg United, he made a decision to get game time after being benched. He moved to Sobantu Shooting Stars in the SAFA Second Div and has now joined Lamontville Golden Arrows. Rodney Ramagalela has also joined us from Mamelodi Sundowns. Rodney has recently joined the club this week and will be traveling with the team when they head to Richards Bay for the Premiers Cup that's taking place this weekend. The striker who has also played for Black Leopards is a promising signing for the team. With 3 goals and 1 assist from a handful of games last season, Golden Arrows are sure he will light up the field when representing the team. Tumelo Letuka is a left-back previously with Free State Stars, he is a definite team player and assesses the game well. Able to adapt his style to suit game situation, he will be a welcome addition to the team. Other players signed from the Vodacom League include Quincy Ngcobo, a Pietermaritzburg-born player who has come across from Sobantu, Mfundo Ngwazi who has come through the ranks of both Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates Development, as well as Koloko Mkhithi."

The PSL have released the full fixture list for the 2015/16 National First Division campaign, which is scheduled to kick off on 22 August. The upcoming season will see four new sides ply their trade in the First Division: ABC Motsepe League winners Mbombela United from Mpumalanga and the Eastern Cape’s Mthatha Bucks are the two promoted sides, while AmaZulu and Moroka Swallows were last season’s PSL relegated teams, as they look to bounce straight back into South Africa’s top-flight. The opening weekend of fixtures sees a number of entertaining match-ups taking place, with new-comers Mbombela United taking on Thanda Royal Zulu who finished just off the play-off spots last season in fourth, while fellow newbies Bucks hosting Nedbank Cup semi-finalists Vasco da Gama. Usuthu will begin their NFD campaign at home to Witbank Spurs, while Moroka Swallows travel to the Mother City to take on Cape Town All Stars.

NFD opening weekend Fixtures:
Saturday 22 August 2015
AmaZulu vs Witbank Spurs (King Zwelithini Stadium 15:00)
Black Leopards vs Milano United (Thohoyandou Stadium 15:00)
Cape Town All Stars vs Moroka Swallows (Athlone Stadium 15:00)
FC Cape Town vs African Warriors (NNK Rugby Stadium 15:00)
Highlands Park vs Royal Eagles (Makhulong Stadium 15:00)
Mbombela United vs Thanda Royal Zulu (Kanyamazane Stadium 15:00)
Sunday 23 August 2015
Mthatha Bucks vs Vasco Da Gama (Mthatha Stadium 15:00)
Santos vs Baroka FC (Athlone Stadium 15:00)

AmaZulu have announced seven signings for the new season and confirmed the lengthy list of players that have departed the NFD club. Usuthu were relegated from the Absa Premiership at the end of 2014/15 along with Moroka Swallows. AmaZulu have since recruited: former Swallows goalkeeper Sage Stephens, Linda Bhengu, who is the younger brother of SuperSport United's Phumelele, Mpendulo Dlamini, Nkanyiso Zungu, Alan Roberts, Mbongeni Gumede and Thabo Moloi. Moloi will only switch alliances on loan after the first two games of the campaign as SuperSport need his services due to suspension issues. Steve Barker's side recently parted ways with Willem Mwedihanga, Mbulelo Mabizela, Bongani Ndulula, Asive Langwe, Kulegani Madondo, Roscoe Pietersen, Bongi Ntuli, Philani Cele and Mfundo Nsele. All of these men saw their contracts expire with the Durban-based outfit in June, which includes loan deals. Meanwhile, the following players were released: Aubrey Mathibe, Siyabonga Mngoma, Larry Horeab, Nkosinathi Mthiyane, Paul Were, Philani Shange, Nhlanhla Shabalala and Mfanafuthi Dlamini.

A senior Cape Town City official has reportedly resigned following the financial failure of the inaugural Cape Town Cup. According to the Cape Times, the City's executive director of tourism, events and marketing, Anton Groenewald, has stepped down after the pre-season event - featuring Ajax Cape Town, SuperSport United, Crystal Palace and eventual champions Sporting Lisbon - took place two weeks ago. The newspaper said it cost the City R28 million to host the competition at Cape Town Stadium on Friday and Sunday. And while the venue can hold 64 100 fans, 22 000 tickets in total were sold. The City is currently compiling a financial report, with losses expected. "I failed dismally from a financial point, so seriously that it was enough for me to have to leave," Groenewald was quoted as saying. "We modelled the tournament using the example of when Manchester United played Ajax Cape Town at the Cape Town Stadium in July 2012. United played to a thrilling one-all draw with Ajax in a friendly match that coincided with Nelson Mandela's birthday celebrations. About 53 000 people attended. We thought that the same support would be given because we had international teams Crystal Palace and Sporting Lisbon here. But that did not happen.” A double-header match ticket initially cost R400. However, a week before the tournament the price dropped to R100, while general standing tickets were marked down from R200 to R60.

Bloemfontein Celtic unveiled the signings of Helder Pelembe, Geofrey Massa, Musa Nyatama and eight others at a function at Bloem Plaza Mall last Tuesday. Celtic's recruits include: Pelembe, Massa, Nyatama, Vuyisile Wana, Lantshene Phalane, Thabang Matuka, Mthokozisi Dube, Vusi Shikweni, Pule Letshabo, Ayanda Mtshali and Aphiwe Lubisi. Phunya Sele Sele chairman Max Tshabalala is confident the team will impress under coach Clinton Larsen this season.

Platinum Stars have confirmed the permanent signings of Sibusiso Gumede, Siyabonga Zulu, Bouna Coundoul and Kulegani Madondo, as well as the arrival on loan of Bongi Ntuli and Robin Ngalande. Stars also announced the appointment of Alan Clark as a performance analyst and head coach at their academy. Dikwena released a statement, part of which said: 'The following are the new additions to the family; Sibusiso Gumede, the center-back from Bidvest Wits, Siyabonga Zulu, a left back from Orlando Pirates, who was on loan at Chippa United. The Senegalese international goalkeeper Bouna Coundoul is now a permanent member in the Dikwena family and fans will see also Mbongeni Mzimela who will assist in the goalkeeping department, coming from Chippa United. Kulegani Madondo comes from AmaZulu FC and plays the center midfield role at the North West side. All the above are permanent transfers and the club is delighted to have them joining the family.  Robin Ngalande (Bidvest Wits), and Bonginkosi Ntuli (Mamelodi Sundowns) are all on a loan deal, with our own Kobamelo Kodisang, Charles Baloyi and Cyril Chibwe from Platinum Stars FC Development receiving their promotions to the senior team for the new season coming. Chibwe was on a loan spell in United FC and now returned back home to commence with the senior team. The club also confirms the additional technical member in Alan Clark who recently worked for SuperSport United. He is taking up a role as a performance analyst and the Academy Head Coach.'

Zambian striker Christopher Katongo has decided to rejoin former club Green Buffaloes just a month after Bidvest Wits opted not to renew his contract. Katongo returns to club football in his homeland 11 years since he left to join Jomo Cosmos in a career that also took him to Denmark, Germany, Greece and China. The 33-year-old will play for Buffaloes until the end of the season in November. Buffaloes was the last club the former Zambia captain played for back home and he now returns in the twilight of his career looking to make a difference after a disappointing 18 months that produced just three goals for Golden Arrows and Wits. Katongo remains a darling with the Zambians for leading Chipolopolo to their famous 2012 African Nations Cup success. The mid-table Buffaloes will be looking up to Katongo for inspiration as they seek to close a 13-point gap on leaders Zesco United.

A Black Leopards official has said that David Bright is the new head coach of the First Division club. Bright was recently announced in a press release as Chippa United’s assistant coach, but it appears he has now signed at Leopards. According to Leopards spokesperson Berry Ramunenyiwa, the former Santos coach has signed a two-year contract to coach Lidoda Duvha. “The reason the board of the club chose David Bright is because of what he has done in the previous years. His record at Santos and Bay United speaks for itself,” said Ramunenyiwa. We had no time to go through CVs but the board felt he was suitable for the job. His mandate is to win the NFD. He did it in the past in the old coastal stream, he's a good coach,” added the club official.

Orlando Pirates stalwart Lucky Lekgwathi is set to be given a new role at the club, which is believed to be in management. The 38-year-old defender did not feature for Pirates this past season due to persistent injuries. However, Lekgwathi is currently training with the team as he aims to get his fitness back. "We will be having a press conference regarding Lucky. He is still a player for Orlando Pirates," coach Eric Tinkler said. "As you have seen he is now training fully with the team. But we will be having a press conference to put you in a picture with what will be happening with him in future." Lekgwathi has made 342 starts for the Buccaneers since joining the Soweto giants from now-defunct Ria Stars in 2002.

Phumelele Bhengu passed up an opportunity to join Kaizer Chiefs and Mamelodi Sundowns in favour of a move to SuperSport United. 'Ace' was in demand after banging in 22 goals for Thanda Royal Zulu to walk away with the golden boot award in the NFD last season. With a number clubs chasing his signature, an opportunity for growth proved to be the deciding factor as Bhengu opted for Matsatsantsa ahead of Amakhosi and the Brazilians. "Kaizer Chiefs, Chippa United, Platinum Stars, Mamelodi Sundowns, Bidvest Wits and Free State Stars were all interested, but I chose SuperSport United," Bhengu revealed. "SuperSport is one big family. They compete and look after their players. They are very supportive, but the motivating factor was that the club gives players a platform to grow and move abroad when the time comes." The former Moroka Swallows hitman highlighted aspects of his game he feels have improved since the last time he played in the PSL. "I can turn, take a shot and follow up. I also work hard when I don't have the ball because that's what the coach has been emphasising that pressure has to start up-front. My physic and strength in holding the ball has improved as well."

University of Pretoria have signed forward Getaneh Kebede on loan from Bidvest Wits. The Ethiopian joins AmaTuks' strike-force of Lennox Bacela, Thabiso Nkoana, Thabo Mnyamane, Lucky Mathosi and Botshelo Mfulwane. Kebede told the club's website: "I'm happy to be at Tuks, they are an energetic team and I hope that I will enjoy my time here. I am willing to work hard to earn my place in the starting line-up."  Tuks coach 'Sly' Mosala believes Kebede will take on a key role for his side this season. "He was effective in his first season at Wits but since then he did not really get a chance to play," Mosala said. "We have at times brought in players who were not being given a chance and they proved to be valuable for us. He will be one of our frontline strikers. We feel he will link up quite well with the rest of the boys and add great value to the team. Lucky and Botshelo are still young and are still in a building or learning process so it will great for them to learn from the likes of both Bacela and Kebede."

Newly promoted National First Division team Mthatha Bucks have appointed Mzunani Mgwigwi as caretaker coach following the departure of Julius Dube. Mgwigwi was part of the exciting Bucks team that included the likes of Clement Mazibuko, Mzawuthethi Nogwaza, Wilfred Mugeyi and Dennis Vukubi that turned Independence Stadium into a slaughter house many years ago. Imbabala are looking forward to bouncing back into the top-flight soon after gaining promotion to the NFD from the ABC Motsepe League at the end of last season. Meanwhile, former Mthatha Bucks coach Julius Dube has blamed a third party for his departure at Imbabala. “The chairman is a very good person. There is a third force behind this,” Dube said. “However, it’s part of football. I have to move on.”

Kenyan defender Brian Mandela Onyango has joined Maritzburg United ahead of the 2015/16 season. The 21-year-old has signed for two years with an option for a further two years. The centre-back’s contract with National First Division side Santos expired at the end of June. Maritzburg have also completed the signing of Tamsanqa Teyise from SuperSport United on a season-long loan deal.

Orlando Pirates coach Eric Tinkler says new signing Edwin Gyimah will give them a lot of options this season. The Ghanaian joined the Buccaneers from SuperSport United, having spent last season on loan at Mpumalanga Black Aces. He made his debut on Saturday in the Buccaneers’ penalty shootout Carling Black Label Cup victory against Kaizer Chiefs at FNB Stadium. Tinkler says he is excited to get Gyimah for all the obvious qualities he brings. “We are obviously very happy to get Gymiah in; he is one of the players we earmarked at the end of last season,” the coach said. “He is a very adaptable player; we can use him in defensive positions if we have problems. We can also use him as a holding midfielder. He is an international player for Ghana and comes with that experience. He has also played in Africa; he understands playing on the continent and we felt that he will be a good addition to the team.” Gyimah became Bucs’ seventh off-season signing after Gift Motupa (Baroka FC), Felipe Ovono (Deportivo Mongomo, Equatorial Guinea), Tendai Ndoro (Mpumalanga Black Aces), Luvuyo Memela (Cape Town All Stars), Thembinkosi Lorch (Maluti FET College) and Roger Majafa (Polokwane City).

Jomo Cosmos have announced the signing of Denver Mukamba from Bidvest Wits. The 22-year-old Zimbabwean midfielder spent last season on loan at University of Pretoria, where he made 18 league appearances and scored three goals.  The club has also announced that in-demand Zimbabwean striker Charlton Mashumba is back at the club after attending trials in Portugal.

Mamelodi Sundowns coach Pitso Mosimane is hopeful the club can sign Colombian striker Leonardo Castro, while he has ruled out a move for fellow trialist Andrew Mwesigwa. The pair have been training with the Brazilians, with Mosimane especially impressed with the imposing Castro. “The Colombian is scoring. He has been scoring and scoring. He looks good, he is big, also good in the air,” Mosimane said at a press conference ahead of Sundowns' MTN8 opener against Bloemfontein Celtic on Wednesday. “Leo played in Copa, it is like the Champions League of Africa or Europe, that's their big one. He has been playing there and we've seen his games. We like what we saw, we like what we are seeing and hopefully we can sign him. I think we can sign him. But it depends on the figures and numbers. But we don't have pressure, we have Cuthbert Malajila, Mogakolodi Ngele, we can also push Khama [Billiat] up front and we still have [Katlego] Mashego so we don't have striking problems.”  Mosimane added of Mwesigwa: “Andrew, I'm not sure if we will sign him. He is a good football player but I don't think we will sign him to be honest. We really decided not to sign him.”

Port Elizabeth-based side Chippa United have added goalkeeper Daylan Hawes to their squad ahead of the new season. The 23-year-old’s three-year contract with the Chilli Boys has been confirmed by DJ Cleo, who represents the keeper through his company DCF Sports. Chippa United conceded 37 goals in 30 League games last season with Mbongeni Mzimela starting 22 of those games. Mzimela has since moved to Platinum Stars.

The Carling Black Label Cup clash between Orlando Pirates and Kaizer Chiefs has broken the record for attendance at FNB Stadium. On Saturday, 94 807 people were inside the stadium when the Buccaneers beat Amakhosi 4-3 on penalties after the match had ended 1-1 in regulation time. The previous record was 94 713 that was set when South Africa’s rugby team the Springboks hosted New Zealand at the Johannesburg venue back in 2010. FNB Stadium was originally opened in 1989, but underwent a major upgrade for the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

SA players abroad round-up: Tokelo Rantie scored against Kagisho Dikgacoi's Cardiff, Anele Ngcongca came off the bench for Genk, while Andile Jali's teammate Knowledge Musona netted for Oostende in Europe on the weekend.

Rantie collected another pre-season goal as he struck for Bournemouth in their 3-2 loss to Cardiff City, who are reportedly eyeing the Bafana Bafana striker. Dikgacoi got another game under his belt on his way back to full fitness.

Jali’s KV Oostende continued their fine start to the new season by making it back-to-back wins with a 2-1 victory over Westerlo, with Zimbabwean and ex-Kaizer Chiefs forward Musona on the scoresheet.

Ngcongca was again on the bench for Genk as his future with the side remains uncertain, though he did make an appearance as a late substitute in the 1-0 loss at Gent.

Patosi played the first 70 minutes for Lokeren as they twice came from behind to draw at home with Charleroi.

Phiri’s Brondby continued their domestic struggles with a 2-0 loss at home to Orebro. Although the side has been going well in the UEFA Europa League, they have just a single point from three league games to date.

It was not such a good weekend for Bafana goalkeeper Keet, whose Kortrijk side lost 2-1 at Waasland-Beveren.

Claasen started again for German Bundesliga II side in a playmaking role behind the strikers, but his side lost 1-0 to recently relegated Freiburg. That is back-to-back defeats at the start of the new season for 1860, who are yet to score a goal.

Young South African fullback Holden was on the bench for Scottish Premier League side Ross County as they lost their season-opener 2-0 at Glasgow Celtic.

Jacobs played for Championship side Queen of the South as they won a thriller 4-3 at Annan Athletic.

Nkili played the full game as Orebro were humiliated 6-0 by IFK Goteborg in the Swedish league on Sunday. Their relegation woes this season continue.

O’Brien was on the losing end for Alloa Athletic against Berwick Rangers.

Shipalane returned from injury for USA second-tier side Carolina Railhawks, but they were held 1-1 by Tampa Bay Rowdies.