Local News - Issue 289

Pirates Duo Erasmus And Ovono Miss Out On CAF Awards

Kermit Erasmus and Felipe Ovono have missed out on the final cut for the CAF awards. The Orlando Pirates duo were among a shortlist of 10 for the CAF Player of the Year - Based in Africa award, after helping the Buccaneers to the Confederation Cup Final. One of the players that beat them in the decider, Baghdad Boundjah of Etoile du Sahel, did make the list, along with TP Mazembe pair Mbwana Aly Samata and Robert Kidiaba. In the CAF Player of the Year award, defending champion Yaya Toure again makes the final three along with Andre Ayew (Ghana/Swansea City) and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Gabon/Borussia Dortmund). The winners of the awards will be decided by votes from coaches or technical directors of the associations affiliated to CAF, and ‎will be announced at the Glo-CAF Awards Gala on 7 January. However, there are still two awards up for grabs for South Africans – Banyana Banyana are nominated for Women’s Team of the Year, while Pirates will fight it out with USM Algers, TP Mazembe and Etoile Sportive du Sahel for Club of the Year.

A team of under-13 boys from Johannesburg have just won the opportunity to go to Paris and play in a global football tournament by winning the South African Volkswagen Junior Masters 2015. Sixteen teams from around South Africa battled it out at Wits University this weekend for the chance to represent South Africa globally and, after a penalty shootout, Hatfield VW came out tops. Following a fun but competitive two days of showing their skill and true talent, Hatfield VW will now prepare for the global tournament in Paris, France to compete against a number of other teams from around the world. The close final between Hatfield VW and Lindsay Saker Fourways resulted in a penalty shootout which saw Hatfield VW walking away champions with a score of 4-2. The Hatfield Group’s longstanding relationship with the Highlands Park Football Club naturally meant that the two would collaborate for this year’s Volkswagen Junior Masters tournament. ‘The Lions of the North’ are mostly made up of boys from the Alexandra Township, which are renowned as ‘hotbeds’ for South African football. In the two month run-up to the event, training three days a week, the hard work has paid off. In its fifth year locally, the tournament is one of the few that offers South African youth an opportunity to compete on an international level, identifying and supporting local football talent at an early age. Reveling in their win, the boys will start training for the world stage in the New Year.

The South Africa U-23 team qualified for the Olympic Games after edging Senegal 3-1 on penalties in the CAF U-23 Africa Cup of Nations third place playoff in Dakar on Saturday. Jody February was the hero for Amaglug-glug as he saved a penalty in regulation time, as well as three spot-kicks in the shootout which culminated with  Phakamani Mahlambi's winning kick at Stade Leopold Senghor. Owen da Gama's side will represent the continent at Rio 2016, along with U-23 AFCON finalists Nigeria and Algeria. The national women's team, Banyana Banyana, will also compete at the global sporting showpiece in Brazil. 

An exhilarating day of football enthralled the community of Sasolburg as the grand finale of the Sasol League National Championships on 13 December saw Mamelodi Sundowns walk away with the prized trophy. Gauteng’s Masandawana beat Cape Town Roses of Western Cape 5-0 in a one-sided final played under hot weather conditions. SAFA President Dr Danny Jordaan, FIFA Presidential Candidate Tokyo Sexwale and Executive Mayor Metsimaholo, Local Municipality Councillor, Brutus Mahlaku were some of the dignitaries who came to support the week-long event. In the third and fourth place play-offs, Limpopo’s Kantatla Ladies FC beat Durban Ladies 4-1 on penalties after the match had ended 1-1.

Mpumalanga Black Aces have handed a trial to Latvian centre-back Renars Rode. The 26-year-old started training with Aces this week, with coach Muhsin Ertugral looking to bolster his defensive options further after recently signing fullback Bryce Moon from Mamelodi Sundowns. "The players I have signed from that region [Latvia] are always doing well," says Ertugral. "We got him here just to see if he could adjust."  Rode, who boasts international football on his CV, previously played for FK Ventspils in his homeland and Czech outfit FK Teplice among other teams.

Santos coach Zeca Marques says he is surprised to be linked with the vacant Maritzburg United job. United have reportedly identified Marques as a possible successor to sacked mentor Clive Barker, along with Shaun Bartlett and Chippa United's suspended trainer Roger Sikhakhane. Marques, however, insists he has not been approached by the Team of Choice, nor does he harbour any desire to leave his NFD employers before his contract expires at the end of the season. "Honestly speaking I have had no contact with them [Maritzburg]," Marques is quoted as saying by Santos. "This is news to me and I have to say I was rather surprised." The former Moroka Swallows and Black Leopards mentor added: "We are so close to achieving something special at the club. "Needless to say that I word with a fantastic chairman in Goolam Allie and I have his full support. "Cape Town is a great city and have no thoughts on leaving the club." The People's Team are ninth on the second-tier table with 17 points from 12 games - 10 points adrift of leaders Baroka FC.

Polokwane City striker Esau Kanyenda plans to play for one more season before hanging up his boots. The 33-year-old’s contract expires at the end of the season, and he says that if he doesn’t clinch another deal with Rise & Shine or another club in South Africa, then he is heading back home to join Big Bullets.  Kanyenda has already retired from international football, having last featured for The Flames last year in a 2015 AFCON qualifier against Ethiopia. He remains one of the best foreign strikers to play in the PSL, having scored 43 goals in 92 starts in two spells in the domestic league which sandwiched his time in Russia.

AmaZulu left-back S'fiso Hlanti could leave the club in January as three Gauteng clubs are reportedly interested in his services. Usuthu recently released a statement confirming that the player has refused to extend his contract, which expires at the end of season. They were hoping that Hlanti would follow the examples of Energy Murambandoro and Goodman Dlamini, who recently extended their contracts, but his head has been turned and there have also been questions about his attitude at training. Lizwe Mthethwa of AFTERSEC Sport Group confirmed interest from Gauteng clubs, believed to be Bidvest Wits, SuperSport United and Kaizer Chiefs.  Wits are in desperate need of competition for Onismor Bhasera considering that the Clever Boys will play in the CAF Confederation Cup next year, while Matsatsantsa are worried about the long-term fitness of number one left-back Sbusiso Khumalo. Chiefs also need a long-term successor to the injury-prone Tsepo Masilela.

Mbuyiselo Sambu has been named as Chippa United caretaker coach Dan Malesela’s assistant. The Chilli Boys had originally named Floyd Mogale as the assistant, but he has confirmed that he had resigned and that his lawyers were dealing with the issue. Sambu, now 32, played as a defender for the likes of Platinum Stars, Free State Stars, Bloemfontein Celtic and Chippa United.“We believe that he will add value to the technical team,” club chairman Siviwe ‘Chippa’ Mpengesi says. “He is a local lad with strong ties to the province and as a former player, has already established relationships with the players and the supporters. “We are delighted to give Sambu this opportunity. He brings with him a wealth of experience and already holds a leadership position in the dressing-room. He is a role-model to many youngsters in the province and his humility will hold him in good stead.”

South African junior international Morne Nel is still in Portugal on an extended trial with Vitoria Guimaraes as he seeks to make the next step in his fledgling career. The SuperSport United midfielder has been in Europe for over two weeks and club communications manager David Skosana confirmed to Times Media that he is not yet back with the Tshwane side. It bodes well for his potential move, where he would join compatriot Thibang Phete, who has just been elevated to the first team and appeared in the club’s last two Super Liga matches. There has also been media speculation that Bafana Bafana midfielder Bongani Zungu will sign at Vitoria either in January or at the end of the current season. Nel burst onto the scene as a 17-year-old when he made his debut for SuperSport in a League clash with Lamontville Golden Arrows in November 2013. Months earlier he had been signed from the Old Mutual Academy in Cape Town. A man-of-the-mtch performance against touring Manchester City before the start of last season drew further plaudits, but he made just 10 starts in the season as United battled for form. He has not played at all this campaign with the club setting a priority of a move abroad.   

Moroka Swallows’ players are back at training after going on strike over unpaid salaries. It was reported on the 3rd of December that the players refused to take part in training following irregular payments which saw some get paid in September, some in October, and none in December. The Birds are battling in the NFD in 14th place with just 10 points from 11 games.  

Kaizer Chiefs goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune has started jogging and says he is grateful for the support during his time on the sidelines. The 28-year-old underwent surgery last month for a torn meniscus. He had been called up for Bafana Bafana's World Cup qualifier with Angola but suffered a recurrence of a knee injury in training. “I'm thankful for all the messages of support that's been pouring in. I'm back on the field jogging again and I can proudly say I'm on the road to recovering,” Khune wrote on his Instagram post. However, it is not clear at this stage when he will resume full training.

Orlando Pirates will not gain entry into the CAF Confederation Cup next season. Pirates coach Eric Tinkler revealed last week the club were waiting for clarification from the Confederation of African Football (CAF) on whether they would take the place of winners Etoile du Sahel, who will be competing in the Champions League. The competition winner is allowed to defend their title even if they do not qualify through the conventional League placing or cup success. But a CAF official has confirmed that even though Etoile will be playing in the elite competition this year, there will be no back-door entry for Pirates in their place. “Only the title holder is allowed to defend his title. He cannot be replaced by the runner-up or any other team,” says CAF media director Junior Binyam.  It means that only Bidvest Wits and Ajax Cape Town will represent South Africa in the Confederation Cup, with Kaizer Chiefs and Mamelodi Sundowns to compete in the Champions League. The draw for both competitions is scheduled to take place in Cairo on Friday. Pirates lost this year's Confederation Cup Final to Etoile 2-1 on aggregate, having reached their second continental final in three years. They also lost the 2013 Champions League decider to Egyptian side Al-Ahly.

Serbian coach Vladislav Heric will join Ajax Cape Town as the club’s assistant coach following his departure from First Division club Royal Eagles three weeks ago. Heric will also double up as the coach of the club’s MultiChoice Diski Challenge. It has been reported Heric has already agreed on the terms and conditions of his deal that will run until the end of the season, and is taking over first team duties that were vacated by Ian Taylor, who is now at Cape Town All Stars. Heric has also already started working at the club’s base at Ikamva with, club head coach Roger de Sa having already introduced him to his squad. Heric and De Sa have a long standing relationship stretching back to over a decade ago, with the former having been introduced by retired Serbian basketball players who are friends with De Sa. RDS played basketball in his younger years. Heric has vast experience in the First Division where he has coached Black Leopards, Bay United, FC Cape Town and Chippa United amongst others. 

University of Pretoria assistant coach Selaotse ‘Sly’ Mosala is due to attend another disciplinary hearing this week as he remains frozen out of first team matters at the club. Mosala has chosen not to comment on why he is no longer involved with the first team, but it was confirmed that he is due to sit in another hearing this week having already made a previous appearance. Though he was assistant to head coach Sammy Troughton for this season having been joint-head coach last season after the departure of Steve Barker – Mosala was conspicuously absent from the bench in the last two games that the club played minus Troughton who was serving suspension. The club’s varsity team and MultiChoice Diski Challenge coach Evangelos Vellios was put in charge for those games when Troughton wasn’t allowed to sit on the bench. TUKS are expected to make technical team announcements later this week with indications suggesting that Mosala could be as good as gone, with new faces now likely to assist Troughton in the first team.

The South African Football Players’ Union has written to the PSL requesting that Elias Ngwepe be paid his dues from Polokwane City’s monthly grant after winning his contractual dispute against the club. Polokwane were meant to have paid the veteran defender as of 27 November, but after draging their feet the Players’ Union has now taken the option of writing to the League asking them to deduct the payment from the club’s monthly grant. “The case was settled at the PSL DRC and Polokwane were meant to have paid Ngwepe on 27 November, but with nothing going into his account from the club we have since written to the League requesting that they deduct the money from the grant. “There is a clause which gives the PSL the powers to deduct payment due to a player from a case that has been settled at their DRC,” says the general secretary at the Players’ Union Thulaganyo Gaoshubelwe.  Ngwepe took up his row with Polokwane – the club he was attached to last season – to SAFPU following his release in March after having played four games. The 37-year-old still had a running contract with the club when he was pushed out, forcing him to then file a case of breach of contract via the Players’ Union.

South African players abroad round-up:

Kagisho Dikgacoi’s injury niggles got the better of him as he missed Cardiff City’s 2-2 draw with Sheffield Wednesday in the English Championship.

Andile Jali came on for the final 18 minutes to help Belgian side Oostende to a 1-1 draw at Anderlecht. A good result in the end but one neither wanted in their push for the title this year.

Darren Keet conceded three goals for the second game running as Belgian side Kortrijk were beaten 3-1 at home by struggling Mouscron-Péruwelz.

May Mahlangu started for Sint-Truiden as they were brushed aside 2-0 by defending Belgian champions Gent. He came off after 75 minutes.

Kamohelo Mokotjo played the full game as his struggling Dutch club FC Twente claimed a vital 2-1 victory over bottom side De Graafschap, despite playing for an hour with 10 men.

Dino Ndlovu played for 75 minutes as Cypriot title hopefuls Anorthosis Famagusta won 1-0 at AEL.

Anele Ngcongca played the full game for French Ligue 1 battlers Troyes as they gained another point with a 1-1 home draw against Bastia. Two draws in their last two games means they have at least halted the horror run of losses that sees them rooted to the foot of the table.

Ayanda Patosi played for Belgian league side Lokeren as they were held to a disappointing 1-1 draw at Mechelen.

Thibang Phete was an unused substitute as Vitória Guimarães lost 4-3 at home to Maritimo in the Portuguese league.

Tokelo Rantie again got a taste of a famous victory for English Premiership new-boys Bournemouth, but only as an unused substitute on the bench as they beat Manchester United 2-1 at home.

Thulani Serero got a rare league start this season, coming off with seven minutes to go, after which Utrecht grabbed a winner to beat Ajax Amsterdam 1-0.