Local News - Issue 282


Ajax Cape Town's Cecil Lolo Tragically Passes Away

South Africa awoke to the tragic news that Ajax Cape Town defender Cecil Lolo has passed away. The 27-year-old was involved in a car accident in the early hours of the morning, the details of which are still unclear. "It is with great sadness that we confirm the passing of our brave warrior Cecil Lolo," read a statement released by Ajax. "May his soul rest in peace." Lolo has been a mainstay in the Ajax backline, helping them win this season’s MTN8 crown as the Urban Warriors cement themselves a top eight team.

Bidvest Wits coach Gavin Hunt feels this year’s PSL champions will be crowned with a much lower points tally than last season. Defending champions Kaizer Chiefs won the 2014/15 campaign with 69 points, but Hunt feels there is no team that will reach that figure this season in what he feels is a much tougher and competitive campaign this time around. Wits currently sit top of the log standings with 17 points from seven matches, with Hunt hoping to average out two points per match which he feels could be enough to clinch the PSL trophy this season. “I think the most important thing is to not get ahead of ourselves, we must try and accumulate points per game,” Hunt said. “I thought if we can go to Pirates and get a point we will have 14 points from seven matches. Two points a game is 60 points - that will win you League or get you close. “I think it will be much lower this year because anyone can beat anyone. Last year Chiefs ran away with it because they had a great start. “So I think it is more about accumulating points because everybody hits a wobble. Everybody will have a bad patch and you need to have a little bit of insurance when we hit the bad patch.” Hunt added that he is not looking too much into their position on the log and that his focus is on collecting as many points as possible. “When you are playing games and you are not playing well, you settle for draws because you know you’ve got a little reserve in terms of points and you don't lose too much ground,” he said. “We don't have to go and win games, we play to win every game but we don't have to win all. I don't look at the log; I look at points first. We have to get 30, that's the most important for now.” Wits’ scheduled midweek fixture against Jomo Cosmos has been postponed until further notice by the PSL following students’ unrest on Wits University campus.

Serbian coach Vladimir Vermezovic remains unemployed almost a year since resigning from the head coaching job at Orlando Pirates. Vermezovic surrendered in the week leading to the first Soweto Derby PSL fixture of last season after losing to Maritzburg United at home and with the latest edition of the PSL’s flagship fixture playing out this weekend, memories of the 52 year-old have surfaced. VV is back home in Serbia and still out in the cold as he weighs up his next move. Ivica Stankovic, who handles VV’s affairs around the continent, confirms that the former Kaizer Chiefs coach is still back home in Serbia and available on the market. Since walking away in a rush from Pirates after a dozen League games last season, VV has been out of a job for almost a year – almost equivalent to the length of time he had stayed without a job prior to joining Pirates in February 2013. Straight after being sacked by Chiefs in April, 2013 VV trekked his way back home where he was eventually handed the head coach job at Partizan Belgrade at the start of the 2013/14 Serbian Super Liga. Eight months later and even with Partizan top of the standings, he was fired after dropping nine points in his last six games in charge. VV then had to wait 10 months before The Bucs surprisingly brought him back to South Africa by handing him the head coach job on Valentine’s Day last year. With his work permit issues taking another four weeks to be handled, VV only officially started his job a month later in March, staying on for nine months before pressure forced him to walk out at the beginning of December last year.

The Telkom Knockout semi-final draw which had Kaizer Chiefs thrown up against Orlando Pirates has renewed a domestic cup rivalry that has been dominated by the Buccaneers. In the history of the modern-day PSL stretching back to August 1996, although Chiefs have brought more cups to their base in Naturena than Pirates, Ezimnyama Ngenkani will go into that semi-final carrying the psychological edge of knowing that history favours them. Pirates have won six while Amakhosi have won five, with the other two finishing as draws in the 13 matches that have been contested as cup games by the two biggest clubs in South Africa. However, whenever Chiefs have won a semi-final against Pirates they have gone on to finish as champions of that cup competition. The last cup meeting was as recent as last year when Tefu Mashamaite’s soft header made the difference in the 2014 MTN8 Final at Moses Mabhida Stadium. The previous season Daine Klate scored the winner in the first leg of the 2013 MTN8 semi-final with the return finishing off in a 1-1 draw as Pirates progressed 2-1 on aggregate. Prior to that Bucs overcame Amakhosi 1-0 in the Final of the 2011 MTN8 with Oupa Manyisa’s drive from range leaving Itumeleng Khune baffled. In 2010 Pirates again had the better of Chiefs in the MTN8, winning that year’s two-legged semi-final 2-1 on aggregate after Katlego Mashego scored the sole goal that made the difference in the second leg after the reverse leg had finished in a one-all draw. However, that same season Chiefs had huge smiles on their faces after humiliating Pirates 3-0 in the 2010 Telkom Knockout Final – the last time the Soweto rivals were pitted against each other in this competition. In 2009 Amakhosi again had the better of their rivals in the Telkom Knockout semi-finals, winning 3-0 on penalties after the contest had finished goalless after extra-time. Chiefs went on to be crowned Telkom champions that year after overcoming Ajax Cape Town in the Final. So since Telkom took over as sponsors of the League Cup, the Soweto Derby has been played out twice with Chiefs winning both and eventually finishing off as cup winners on those two occasions. Chiefs were also dancing after the 2006 Absa Cup Final as they won 5-3 on penalties against Pirates after the match had finished 0-0 after extra-time. Prior to that Amakhosi had again won, beating Bucs 1-0 in the 2001 BP Top Eight semi-finals. Chiefs went on to win the BP Top Eight of that year. Then in the 1998/99 season in the Rothmans Cup semi-finals Chiefs won 3-1 in the first leg before losing the second leg by a single goal, but still went through to the Final as 3-2 aggregate winners. Again Chiefs went on to lift the trophy after beating Mamelodi Sundowns on penalties in a thrilling Final on November 28, 1998 at FNB Stadium. So on all the three occasions that Chiefs have won a semi-final against Pirates they have gone on to win that competition. The first two cup meetings of the PSL era between the two Soweto giants were won by Pirates with Sam Pam Junior’s fifth-minute strike making the difference in the 1997-98 season BOB Save Super Bowl second round. Then in the first ever cup meeting of the PSL era during the 1996/97 season – which was a BOB Save Super Bowl semi-final – Pirates won 4-1 with Jerry Sikhosana slamming a hat-trick and Helman Mkhalele adding the fourth. Pirates went on to beat Jomo Cosmos in the Final with Andries ‘Local is Lekker’ Sebola scoring the winner. So as it stands in cup games, Pirates have the edge with six wins over Chiefs’ five with another two finishing off as draws. If Chiefs manage to overcome Pirates on the weekend of November 7-8 then they will know that history favours them finishing off as champions. Chiefs haven’t won this particular competition since 2010 while Pirates last won it in 2011.

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Golden Boot holder Moeketsi Sekola is confident he can regain his scoring form after a knee injury derailed his progress in the off-season. Sekola netted 14 goals in 29 League starts in 2014/15, prompting widescale interest in his services. The 26-year-old, however, has only four substitute appearances to show for this term. “The knee injury has been a huge disturbance,” Sekola said. “My intention was obviously to carry on from where I left off last season but I have now had to go back to starting from scratch again because of the injury. As a striker you need that momentum to get going in terms of performing and scoring goals but once that rhythm is disturbed it becomes a challenge to get back. “Right now I am working my way back and building on those minutes that I am getting from coming on as a substitute. Once I open up my scoring account then I should be able to move on the way that I want to. That goal will help in terms of building up the confidence. “The positive with me is that though I have had to start off with this injury I am still working hard on getting myself back to the form that I had last season. I am not feeling discouraged in anyway about my situation because I understand that this game is always full of these kind of challenges. Once I am back to normal then I will be moving smoothly and helping the team get results.” Sekola adds that he is happy at Ea Lla Koto and is just focused on improving his game rather than clouding his mind with speculative transfer talk.

Mamelodi Sundowns playmaker Teko Modise says the Brazilians played to Pitso Mosimane's instructions and displayed their hunger in a 6-1 rout of Free State Stars in the Telkom Knockout. Last weekend Sundowns set up a semi-final date with holders SuperSport United next month via an own goal by Daouda Diakite and strikes from Mogakolodi Ngele, Keagan Dolly, Themba Zwane, Bongani Zungu and Katlego Mashego at Goble Park. “We played according to the plan given by the coach,” Modise told his official website. “There was a great deal of understanding from both the players and the coach on what needed to be done at the end of the day. “What is impressive is the fighting spirit that the lads showed out there. We clearly wanted the game more than Stars did. It is a good result and it puts us in a position closer to the Final. “If we continue playing this well then we can challenge for the trophy when the time comes.”

It’s been exactly a year since Senzo Meyiwa was killed but he’s certainly not forgotten thanks to his heroics in Orlando Pirates and Bafana Bafana colours, but also because of the dramatic events that have followed his death. ‘Nzori’, as Meyiwa was affectionately known by his teammates and close friends, was killed on this day a year ago. The Umlazi-born goalkeeper was reportedly with his girlfriend Kelly Khumalo at her mother’s house in Vosloorus when the robbers entered the home and one of them allegedly fired a gun and the bullet struck Meyiwa in the upper body. Meyiwa’s murder sent shock waves through the nation and there are more questions than answers about the murder as his killers remain at large, but perhaps what’s even more shocking are the reports after his death. Meyiwa was buried at Heroes Acre cemetery in KwaZulu-Natal on November 1 after being awarded an official provincial funeral. Meyiwa’s father, Sam, is finding it difficult to come to terms with the goalkeeper’s death especially because he was the family’s breadwinner and the situation is exacerbated by the police’s failure to bring his killers to justice. Meyiwa senior has previously claimed that he knows the killers and had to go into hiding because he was receiving calls from people who are believed to be those responsible, but the police have accused him of jeopardising the case by speaking to the media. In fact, it emerged earlier this year that the police were facing a lawsuit of R10 million after Zamokuhle Mbatha was initially arrested but the charges were later withdrawn. The Meyiwas, however, have been hit hard in the pocket by their son’s death if reports are anything to go by despite the player apparently having a R5 million life insurance policy before his death. Meyiwa senior opened up to City Press recently and claimed the family is starving. “Sometimes we even go to bed with empty stomachs. We need to perform ukubuyisa for Senzo but we don’t have the money. We need R10 000 for a cow and R650 for a goat. If we don’t do the ritual, my son will never rest in peace,” he said.

South Africans abroad

Darren Keet went down to Benni McCarthy's team, Dino Ndlovu scored yet again, Ayanda Patosi provided an assist, while Tokelo Rantie had a rare spot on the bench in Europe last weekend.

Daylon Claasen came on for the final eight minutes as his German Bundesliga II side 1860 Munich continued their miserable start to the season with a 1-0 loss at Greuther Furth.

Andile Jali played the full game as Oostende twice came from behind to secure a 2-2 draw at champions Gent.

Darren Keet played for Kortrijk as they lost 2-1 at Sint Truiden, a much-needed win for the club where Benni McCarthy is assistant coach.

Sergio Marakis was a second-half substitute for Ermis as they lost 4-0 at Anorthosis Famagusta in Cyprus.

Tefu Mashamaite played in Swedish side Hacken’s penultimate match of the campaign as they won 5-2 at home to Elfsborg.

Kamohelo Mokotjo played for Dutch league side FC Twente in their 3-1 loss to champions PSV Eindhoven.

Dino Ndlovu was among the goals again as he netted the first in a 4-0 win for Cypriot side Anorthosis Famagusta over Ermis, his seventh in seven games this season.

Anele Ngcongca came on for the final 21 minutes as Troyes slipped to the bottom of France’s Ligue 1 with a 1-0 loss at Bordeaux.

Ayanda Patosi provided an assist as his Belgian side Lokeren returned to winning ways with a 2-1 success at Westerlo. Patosi played the full game.

Lebogang Phiri played the full game as Brondby claimed a 2-1 success at home to Midtjylland.

Bradley Ralani was a substitute for Danish second-tier side Lyngby as they let a late lead slip to draw 4-4 with bottom side Vestsj├Žlland.

Tiya Shipalane played for USA second-tier side Carolina Railhawks in their 1-0 loss to Tampa Bay Rowdies.

Tokelo Rantie had a rare place on the bench for Bournemouth but did not get on in the 5-1 home loss to Tottenham Hotspur. Andrew Surman played the full game.