Local News - Issue 284

Interest In Mahlambi From Clubs Abroad

Bidvest Wits coach Gavin Hunt has revealed there is a lot of interest from other clubs in promising striker Phakamani Mahlambi, especially from abroad. Mahlambi is setting the PSL alight this season with exciting performances having found the back of the net three times in two matches already. And following yet another impressive display in their 3-1 victory over Jomo Cosmos on Sunday, Hunt said there have been a lot of enquiries, with scouts from abroad even coming to watch him against Ezenkosi. “I think he is a talent that needs more refinement. I think his talent needs a good environment, but I always say Benny [McCarthy] played here, [Steven] Pienaar played here, Quinton Fortune never played here,” Hunt said. “Players like that need a season here. There is big interest in him now and there were big scouts at our game against Cosmos.” Hunt has always said that he believes the best thing for the 18-year-old's future is to get him overseas as soon as possible and it seems like that will happen soon.

Forgotten forward Manqoba ‘Shakes’ Ngwenya has expressed his desire to end his playing career back in South Africa following his return from a two-year spell in Botswana. Ngwenya cut ties with Township Rollers in June after scoring a dozen goals in his time with the Gaborone club last season, having spent much of the last two years playing in the country, starting off with Notwane before joining Rollers. Yet he is now eyeing a return to football in South Africa. The 34-year-old former Mamelodi Sundowns, Wits University and Mpumalanga Black Aces midfielder adds that he has preliminary plans to get involved in the development of the game once he hangs his boots. 

Retired Congolese goalkeeper Makweni Mayala will continue serving as caretaker coach at Polokwane City with the club still to make a decision on their new coach a month since the departure of Kosta Papic. Mayala – who had been serving as assistant to Papic – has been holding the fort for the past four games, registering a win, a draw and two losses. City spokesman Tumelo Makgoara confirms that Mayala is still their stand-in head coach. “The arrangement remains the same with Mayala still the caretaker coach,” Makgoara says. “The issue of the new coach coming is being handled by the club chairman and so far he hasn’t informed us about anything new.” Although the club is keen to bring in a new coach, they are yet to find what they deem is the right candidate for the job, with two of the coaches that the club has tried to bring in failing. Mayala is currently being assisted by the club’s team manager Bernard Molekwa, with former Botswana international Modiri Marumo as goalkeeper coach. Polokwane, who lie 13th in the PSL standings, next face Platinum Stars on 21 November 21, with their final fixture of 2015 an away trip to Durban to face Golden Arrows at Chatsworth Stadium on 19 December.

The South Africa Under-23 national team will go into camp from 9 November until 14 November as part of their preparations for the 8 Nations Tournament from 28 November to 13 December in Senegal. Three top nations from the continent will qualify for the 2016 Rio Olympics. Coach Owen da Gama has called up 23 players to participate in the local training camp. As a result of the U-23 camp, Da Gama will not travel with the senior national team to Angola for the first leg of the World Cup qualifier against Angola on Friday, 13 November in Benguela.

Defender Bryce Moon may be on his way to Mpumalanga Black Aces following his departure from Mamelodi Sundowns. Moon terminated his contract with the Brazilians on Monday after falling out of favour at Chloorkop. The fullback has since been spotted training with Aces this morning, giving an indication he could be eyeing a potential contract with Muhsin Ertugral's side. Meanwhile, midfielder Lindokuhle Mbatha is another player set to leave Sundowns due to limited game-time. The former Platinum Stars winger has been linked with both Aces and SuperSport United.

Bidvest Wits sealed the Q1 prize following their Absa Preiership victory over Jomo Cosmos on last Sunday, with coach Gavin Hunt indicating that the players will split the R1.5-million amongst themselves.  Wits romped to a 3-1 victory over Cosmos at Bidvest Stadium, with goals from Daine Klate, Phakamani Mahlambi and Sibusiso Vilakazi also ensuring top spot on the log. The Students bagged the prize after collecting 19 points from the allotted eight games, which leaves them four points ahead of their closest rivals Platinum Stars, who have one game in hand against Ajax Cape Town. Hunt played down the significance of the quarterly prize amid their League title ambitions, but alluded to the prize money being an incentive to the players for their efforts. With a squad of 27 registered players this season it is estimated that, should the money be split equally amongst the whole squad, each player will receive in the region of R55 000 (before tax).

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Basetsana were denied a spot at the 2016 Women's U-20 World Cup following a 1-0 defeat to Nigeria in their final qualifier at Makhulong Stadium on Sunday afternoon. Veronica Chinwedu netted in the first half for the visitors, who won 3-1 on aggregate. Elisabeth Migchelsen's charges lost 2-1 to the Falconets in the first leg at Abuja National Stadium on October 24. Basetsana beat Botswana and Zambia in their previous qualifiers. The FIFA showpiece will take place next year in Papua New Guinea from 28 October to 16 November.  

Mamelodi Sundowns booked their place in the 2015 Telkom Knockout Final against Kaizer Chiefs after a 3-1 victory over SuperSport United at Lucas Moripe Stadium last Saturday night. Sundowns will take on Chiefs in the Final on December 16 after Amakhosi edged Orlando Pirates on penalties in the first semi-final.

South African Ayanda Nkili is tipped to leave Swedish top-flight side Orebro when his contract expires at the end of this year. Reports in that country say the 25-year-old will not have his contract renewed, and will be allowed to seek his footballing fortunes elsewhere. Nkili, a product of Farouk Khan’s Stars of Africa Academy alongside the likes of May Mahlangu and Tokelo Rantie, made 11 starts and six substitute appearances in 2015. His only goal came in the Swedish Cup Final when his side lost 2-1 to IFK Goteborg. Nikili moved to Sweden in 2010, joining lower league side IFK Hassleholm, before moving to Örebro in 2013 and helping them win promotion to the top-flight.    

Raja Casablanca sacked Ruud Krol last Thursday following the team’s 2-0 defeat to Fath Union Sport in the Moroccan Cup semi-final on Wednesday. The former Orlando Pirates coach was mandated to win the Moroccan Cup but has been relieved of his duties after only four months in charge. The club cited “poor selection, results and decisions, and strained relationship with the players” as reasons for his dismissal. Krol is most fondly remembered in the PSL for guiding the Buccaneers to a treble in the 2010/11 season.

The US Federal Bureau of Investigation’s case regarding the widespread Fifa corruption scandal has now hit our shores, as authorities look to clamp down on any past irregularities. According to reports, Justice Minister Mike Masutha has revealed that his department has received contact from the legal department of the FBI regarding the Fifa investigation. “The purpose of the letter was to bring the contents of the indictment under the attention of the department,” Masutha is quoted as saying. The letter reportedly also said the FBI was “looking forward to the continued partnership” between itself, the American Department of Justice and the SA Department of Justice and Constitutional Development, yet Masutha claims a formal request of assistance had not yet been made by the American investigation authority. “I noted the contents of the memorandum, including the indictment, and forwarded copies of the indictment to the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Corruption, the Minister of Sport and Recreation, the Department of International Relations and Cooperation and the Chairperson of the Anti-Corruption Task Team,” said Masutha. Under possible investigation would be a $10 million payment made by South Africa to the Football Association for North America, Central America and the Caribbean (Concacaf), as commissioned by Safa president Danny Jordaan and former Safa boss Molefi Oliphant. Government insists the payment was merely a donation to the African Diaspora Legacy Fund, and not a bribe. The FBI’s investigation comes after the German FA’s offices were raided by police earlier this week in their on-going investigation regarding the possible fraudulent awarding of the 2006 Fifa World Cup.

The PSL has charged Moroka Swallows after they failed to provide adequate security for their abandoned fixture against Santos on October 28. A PSL statement reads: ‘The Premier Soccer League has charged NFD club, Moroka Swallows FC with contravening Rule 53 of the NSL after they failed, as the home club, to provide adequate security ahead of their fixture against Santos on 28 October 2015. This resulted in the fixture being abandoned. 

AmaZulu have parted ways with Darren Smith while they have welcomed back fellow striker Lucky Nguzana for a trial. Smith was signed by former Usuthu coach Craig Rosslee last term from Ajax Cape Town. The 19-year-old was later loaned to Vasco da Gama before returning to the Durban outfit at the start of the season. However, the player's contract has been terminated at his request. "He was frustrated at not having game-time," explains AmaZulu coach Steve Barker. "We had to respect that and we wish him all the best in what he does in future endeavours. It was a question of him not playing much and I thought his career would come off but unfortunately it didn't." Meanwhile, Barker confirmed he is assessing Nguzana. "Yes, we are assessing him and we have not made a decision about him. But since we lost Smith and Linda Bhengu [through injury] we will make decision soon, but it looks positive that we will sign him." Nguzana initially left AmaZulu in 2013/14 in questionable fashion after seemingly committing his services to the club. He then penned a two-year contract with Platinum Stars in July last year but left Dikwena due to a lack of game-time. 

National First Division strugglers Mthatha Bucks have confirmed the resignation of head coach Julius Dube. Assistant coach Sibusiso Mapompo and McDonald Mukasi will act as caretaker coaches for the club's game against Royal Eagles at home on Saturday. The newly promoted outfit is propping up the standings with four points from 10 games. Bucks released a statement, which said: “Mthatha Bucks FC would like to confirm that the club has accepted the resignation of the head coach Mr Julius 'JD' Dube with immediate effect. “In his letter 'JD' as his known in football circles felt that the club might be in need of new ideas going forward. “The club would also like to take this opportunity to thank him for his immense contribution by leading the club from ABC Motsepe League to National First Division. We wish him well in his future endeavours. “Former club captain and current assistant coach Sibusiso Mapompo and McDonald Mukasi will be the caretaker coaches for the upcoming game against Royal Eagles at home on Saturday. The search for a new coach begins now.” Dube led the side out of the ABC Motsepe League last season only to be replaced by former Lesotho coach Leslie Notsi. 'JD' then returned to the team in September when the latter was axed.

South African youngster Thibang Phete has been making steady progress at Portuguese top-flight side Vitoria Guimaraes this season. The 21-year-old has featured in the club’s second team, who play in the second tier of that country’s football. The central midfielder has been one of the regulars for the side this season, making his eighth appearance at the weekend as the club lies in mid-table. He has been roundly praised for his performances and could be edging closer to an appearance for the first team. He sees the move as a stepping to bigger things, having begun his senior career with National First Division side Milano United in the 2013/14 season. Phete is another product of Farouk Khan’s Stars of Africa Academy, along with the likes of May Mahlangu, Tokelo Rantie and Sibusiso Khumalo. Phete signed for Vitória from third-tier Tourizense at the start of this season having been one of five South Africans playing at the club in the last campaign. Pule Maraisane has since moved on to the Swedish second-tier with GAIS, but others who were there are defender Thamsanqa Ngobeza, and midfielders Tshepo Matsemela and Tlotlo Leepile.

South African players abroad round-up. 

Tokelo Rantie made his first Premier League appearance, Mandla Masango scored, Ayanda Patosi registered an eighth assist, while Darren Keet kept another clean sheet in Europe on the weekend.

Daylon Claasen came off after 77 minutes for 1860 Munich as they gained a point with a 0-0 draw at Eintracht Braunschweig in the German Bundesliga II.

Kagisho Dikgacoi returned from a hamstring injury but did not get off the bench in Cardiff City’s 2-0 home win over Reading.

Andile Jali’s Oostende completed a comprehensive 3-0 home win over OH Leuven in Belgium to move back to the top of the table.

Darren Keet kept another clean sheet as his Kortrijk side won 1-0 at home to Mechelen in Belgium. It was his seventh in 15 league games this campaign.

Mandla Masango was on target for Danish top-flight side Randers as they coasted to a 4-1 victory over Aarhus. Masango netted his third goal for the club since joining in August.

Kamohelo Mokotjo was on the end of a 4-1 defeat as FC Twente continue to struggle in the Dutch League.

Dino Ndlovu played for Anorthosis Famagusta as they were held to a 1-1 draw by AEK Larnaca in Cyprus.

Anele Ngcongca’s disappointing season in France’s Ligue 1 continued as his Troyes side lost 4-1 away at Lorient, with the Bafana defender playing the full game.

Ayanda Patosi continued his remarkable run of assists as Lokeren were held 1-1 by Sint Truiden. He has now had a hand in eight of his team’s 15 goals this season.

Lebogang Phiri came off after 70 minutes of Brondby’s goalless draw with FC Copenhagen.
Ntuthuko Radebe made his first start of the season for second-tier Belgian side Eupen as they won 4-1 away at Excelsior Virton.

Tokelo Rantie finally made his first appearance in the English Premier League at the weekend, but it proved an unhappy occasion as his Bournemouth side lost 1-0 at home to Newcastle United. Rantie came off the bench in the 80th minute.

Thulani Serero came off the bench for the final 11 minutes as Ajax Amsterdam drew 0-0 away at fellow title challengers Feyenoord.