Local News - Issue 290

Middendorp Resigns From Free State Stars

Ernst Middendorp has left his job as Free State Stars head coach. The German joined the club in September when Ea Lla Koto were still battling relegation, but managed to turn things around and he now leaves them in 10th position. Stars general manager Rantsi Mokoena couldn’t be reached for comment, but a source close to the club confirms that Middendorp is gone. “Yes, he resigned. I hear the reason is that he wants to join Maritzburg United,” he says. In eight League games, Stars won four, drew three and lost just once with Middendorp at the helm. Free State Stars have expressed shock at Ernst Middendorp's resignation, saying the coach cited a lack of experience in the squad as his reason for leaving. Stars have since released a statement, which read: 'It is with great shock to announce the sudden resignation of head coach Ernst Middendorp from the club with immediate effect. 'In his resignation, Mr. Middendorp sent the general manager, Rantsi Mokoena an email stating his immediate resignation citing the reason as the severe limitation of PSL qualified players in the team. 'We wish Mr. Middendorp well in his future endeavours. The club will make announcement for his replacement in due course.'We wish our supports a merry Christmas and happy new year.' 

South Africa’s Fifa presidential candidate Tokyo Sexwale has appeared before a grand jury in the United States amid on-going investigations of bribery. Sexwale was questioned before a jury in New York in relation to the $10 million payment made by South Africa to former Fifa vice president Jack Warner. An American criminal indictment claims the payment was made using a Fifa account disguised as money to be used for development, yet may have been used to secure votes for the 2010 World Cup to be held in the country. Sexwale, who was a member of South Africa’s bidding committee for the 2010 spectacle, was brought in for questioning last week, appearing before a grand jury in the USA who are empowered by law to investigate potential criminal activities and thus determine whether charges can be laid. A spokesman for Sexwale confirmed he did appear before the jury as a witness last week Thursday."He did appear before a grand jury,” said the spokesperson. “The FBI said he needed to appear and he went as a potential witness." Sexwale is one of five candidates running for the position of new Fifa president, with voting set to take place in February next year. 

Chippa United chairman Chippa Mpengesi has remained tight-lipped over the position of Dan Malesela at the club. Malesela was brought in as assistant coach earlier this month, before taking over the role of suspended head coach Roger Sikhakhane, who faces disciplinary hearings for ‘smelling of alcohol’ at the recent Nelson Mandela Commemoration match played during the PSL break. In his first game in charge, Malesela guided the Chilli Boys to a 2-1 victory over Bloemfontein Celtic on Friday, much to the delight of the chairman. However, Mpengesi refused to be clear on what the future holds for both Malesela and Sikhakhane.

Mpumalanga Black Aces are set to bid farewell to Dennis Masina and Esau Mtsweni after their match against Ajax Cape Town on Saturday night. Masina and Mtsweni are set to officially retire from playing football, with tonight's Absa Premiership clash at the Mbombela Stadium set to be their last in AmaZayoni colours. Both players are set to take new career in coaching with the former already set to take charge of Aces' MultiChoice Diski Challenge team from January next year. The former Swaziland international midfielder has thanked coach Muhsin Ertugral for being a huge influence as he reveals his intention of completing his coaching badges. "It has been an amazing journey. It's a great feeling to retire from football on a high note," says Masina. "I had my best time in football, including playing overseas. It's time now to give youngsters a chance."I am grateful that Aces have given me the opportunity to begin my career in coaching. "Coach Muhsin Ertugral has been a great influence and an inspiration, and I am ready to grab this opportunity with both hands."I am currently busy with classes with SAFA, and I hope to complete my first coaching certificate this week," he concluded. The 33-year-old began his career back in 1998 with Manzini Wanderers in Swaziland before moving to South Africa to join Bush Bucks in 2000, and thereafter also enjoyed spells at SuperSport United, Eendracht Aals, MK Mechelen (both Belgium) and Orlando Pirates.

Golden Arrows are set to sign utility player Giulio Giuricich, according to the club's coach Clinton Larsen. The former Moroka Swallows defender has been on trial at the PSL returnees, having failed an assessment with Mamelodi Sundowns earlier in the season.  Giuricich made five League starts for the Dube Birds last term. Giuricich was in the stands when Arrows beat Polokwane City 1-0 at Chatsworth Stadium last Saturday in Larsen's first game in charge of the Durban-based outfit following his recent exit from Bloemfontein Celtic. Abafana Bes'thende, who end 2015 in sixth place on the League table, will return to training on December 27 ahead of their next clash with Free State Stars at Goble Park on January 9. 

Ajax Cape Town have been buoyed by the imminent return of long-term absentees Brandon Peterson and Tashreeq Morris, with coach Roger De Sa not tempted to spend this January. Goalkeeper Peterson, missing from action since breaking his leg against Mamelodi Sundowns last year, recently featured in his first match since the injury, playing 45 minutes in a friendly against Santos, while Morris – Ajax’s top-scorer last season – has been out of action since suffering a knee injury in the Nedbank Cup Final in May.  Both are on the mend and expected to be available for first team duty next month, much to the delight of their coach. Ajax have already secured the services of Ghanaian defender Lawrence Lartey, who is still awaiting his work permit, yet with Peterson and Morris on the verge of their respective returns, De Sa doesn’t not feel the need to dip to deep in the transfer kitty next month. “The market will be heating up now, and a lot of clubs will be looking to loan out some players, so there’ll be some players available, so we’ll keep our ears open,” he said. “But as far as we concerned, we are very happy with the return of Brandon and Tassie, and with Lartey as well, they make it like three new signings. They’ve been missing for a minimum of six months, so it’s like having three more players. “So we are happy with that inclusion, but if there’s anything else that’s available to us, we’ll probably take it. But there’s no-one right now that we are specifically targeting.” 

Kaizer Chiefs are looking at playing some of their matches in Cape Town for three more seasons after this campaign. This season Chiefs are using Cape Town as an alternative 'home' venue for three games against Bidvest Wits, Platinum Stars and SuperSport United. According to the club's marketing director Jessica Motaung, the Mother City holds a special place in the hearts of Amakhosi. “Cape Town is abuzz and we are excited about the game this weekend and we want our supporters to come through in numbers,” Motaung said in a press conference. “We want to embrace our home Cape Town because it holds a special place in our hearts and our supporters have responded positively. We are also leveraging the festive season. If you look at what we did in Polokwane, we were there for four seasons. Obviously this is a start and we are looking at a further three seasons. For us it’s about taking games to our supporters. We’ve always had supporters from Cape Town who travelled to our matches in Gauteng.” 

Denis Onyango saved two penalties as Mamelodi Sundowns beat Kaizer Chiefs 3-1 in the Telkom Knockout Final at Moses Mabhida Stadium on Wednesday. The Brazilians scored through Leonardo Castro, Thabo Nthethe and Hlompho Kekana to record their first victory over Chiefs in a cup final at the ninth attempt. Ugandan goalkeeper Onyango stole the show by denying Siphiwe Tshabalala and Camaldine Abraw from the spot in Durban, with Abraw later reducing the deficit with a goal in stoppage time. Sundowns earned themselves a cool R4.25-million for their 3-1 Telkom Knockout Final victory against Kaizer Chiefs last night. Amakhosi get R1.75-million as runners-up. The two losing semi-finalists, SuperSport United and Orlando Pirates, walk away with R1-million each, while the losing quarter-finalists – Free State Stars, Golden Arrows, Mpumalanga Black Aces and Maritzburg United – get R650 000. University of Pretoria, Platinum Stars, Bloemfontein Celtic, Chippa United, Ajax Cape Town, Bidvest Wits, Jomo Cosmos and Polokwane City get R450 000 after their Last 16 defeat.

Orlando Pirates goalkeeper Brighton Mhlongo escaped with no injuries after being involved in a car crash in Johannesburg last week Thursday. Mhlongo was on his way to Randburg to attend a sports show with SuperSport at the time of the accident. The 24-year-old avoided harm despite wrecking his car, according to Bucs administrative official Floyd Mbele. "He is fine. He is okay," says Mbele. "The car is a write-off."