Local News - Issue 300

Celtic Up For Sale 

Bloemfontein Celtic chairman Max Tshabalala says he wants to sell the club after supporters “told me they hate me”. Celtic’s website this morning carries and anguished message from Tshabalala in the wake of clashes between rival fans at the end of yesterday’s match at Orlando Stadium, where Celtic lost 1-0 to Orlando Pirates. “I want offers urgently and will be open and honest enough to show whoever that is interested to acquire the team what we have spent and the required amount to purchase the team,” Tshabalala announced in the message. “I was pained to see innocent soccer loving fans being beaten some to a pulp and that led me to the decision to sell the team.” There has been growing unhappiness among Celtic fans around Tshabalala’s ownership and his perceived links to Free State premier, Ace Magashula. Fans have alleged that African National Congress T-shirts are handed out before matches. According to Tshabalala: “Our supporters are deliberately bringing the League into disrepute just to hurt me as an individual. This is not about the performance of the team but [Max Tshabalala]. I had a chat with some of the fans who boldly told me they hate me and want me out of the team with immediate effect hence I am calling on businessman in and around Mangaung to come up with offers to buy the team and take Celtic forward. “I love Celtic and if I’m the one standing in the way of its successes then the best thing is to sell it to those who will be able to satisfy the supporters.” Tshabalala also apologised to “the football loving fans that were injured”. “I must concede my heart is painful at how some supporters behaved last night. Vandalizing the stadium, fighting and hurting Pirates supporters in the process and clearly the situation has gone out of hand. It was also hurt seeing a National Heritage Site (which is part of the 2010 World Cup Legacy) being ripped apart because of frustrations against one man [Max Tshabalala], we need to respect and maintain our infrastructure.” Tshabalala, the owner of lower division side Roses FC, purchased Celtic from Jimmy Augosti in July 2014. The Celtic message concludes: A Press Conference will be held tomorrow (Monday 29th February) at Siwelele Park where the Chairman is expected to address members of the media. The press conference is scheduled for 11h00.

Thabang Monare says he’s happy to be back at Jomo Cosmos after resolving his issues with club boss Jomo Sono. Monare was frozen out of the first team following disciplinary issues involving an alleged bust-up with a teammate, yet the former AmaTuks midfielder has since returned to Ezenkosi after a fruitful meeting with Sono. “I am happy to be back and do what I like most - playing football,” says Monare. “I want to thank ‘Bra J’ for giving me another opportunity. "Everything is now the past and I am fully focused on helping the club survive relegation,” he added. Cosmos, who suffered a 4-2 defeat to SuperSport United, last Saturday, lie 14th in the PSL standings, five points ahead of bottom-placed Maritzburg United who have a game in hand. 

There will be two exciting new entrants into the 2016 Future Champions Gauteng International Tournament with the addition of Spanish giants Atletico Madrid and top Belgian side Club Brugge. Both will not only be making their bow at the prestigious Under-17 competition, but will also be the first ever entrants from their respective countries. It is perhaps fitting that the Madrid side should be in the 2016 field with the Spanish La Liga having come on board as a ‘supporter’ of the competition this year. Atletico has a vibrant youth system that has produced a number of global stars in the past such as current striker Fernando Torres, Manchester United goalkeeper David de Gea and retired Spanish football striker Raul. The club is the third most successful in Spain behind Real Madrid and Barcelona, with a rich 112-year history behind them. They won the La Liga title as recently as the 2013/14 season, one of 10 national titles, and also appeared in the final of the UEFA Champions League where they lost to city rivals Real Madrid.  They remain in contention for both the La Liga and Champions League titles this season. Atletico was once the home of former Bafana Bafana international Quinton Fortune, who made his name there before later moving to Manchester United. Club Brugge are also one of the most decorated sides in their local league having won 13 Belgian league titles, second only to rivals Anderlecht. They won the Belgian Cup last season for the 11th time and in the 1970s and 80s were regular visitors to the latter stages of European club competition. The side is currently coached by former Belgian international goalkeeper Michel Preud'homme, who has a burgeoning reputation on the European coaching scene. Club Brugge currently sit on top of the Belgian league standings for the 2015/16 season with the potential for more silverware in their cabinet. They have a long history of helping to develop African talent, including ex-South Africa international Elrio van Heerden.  The other four international teams confirmed for the Future Champions Gauteng are all previous winners – Brazilian side Clube Atletico Mineiro, defending champions Torino from Italy, Shandong Luneng from China and Club Tijuana of Mexico. Atletico Madrid and Club Brugge will be joined by two more international entrants to be announced at a later stage, as well as four South African qualifiers from the Gauteng Cup that will be played later this month. 

The Premier Soccer League (PSL) acting Chief Executive Mato Madlala has extended her hearty congratulations to the 2015/16 MultiChoice Diski Challenge winners Lamontville Golden Arrows. Golden Arrows claimed their first MultiChoice Diski Challenge trophy on Saturday afternoon in Soweto following a thrilling final festival. Their triumph was thanks to a second half come-back from the Durban-based outfit who fought-back from a goal down to upset Free State Stars. “On behalf of the PSL, we would like to congratulate Golden Arrows management, coaching staff, the players and the club supporters for this achievement,” Madlala said. “We would like also thank the rest of the clubs who put a spirited fight during this MultiChoice Diski Challenge.” Madlala also thanked sponsors, MultiChoice for their role in making the 2015/16 MDC Challenge a success. “The MultiChoice Diski Challenges continues to grow and we have seen a lot of improvements this season," Madlala said. "We would like to thank MultiChoice for their support during this season. "We would like to also thank the football supporters who came in numbers to support the festivals and the fixtures.”

The South Africa Under-23 team will get an early feel of the 2016 Rio Olympic Games host country when they face Brazil Under-23s in a high-profile friendly on Sunday, 27 March. The match kicks off 18h30 (Monday, 00h30 SA time) at Rei Pele Stadium in Maceio in the state of Alagoas. Under-23 head coach Owen da Gama said he was excited about the upcoming friendly, adding that it is such type of games that will harden his boys ahead of the Olympic Games in August. SAFA president Danny Jordaan thanked the Brazilian FA for the invitation saying the meeting between the two countries would afford both countries an ideal opportunity to fine-tune their squads ahead of the Olympic Games. The SA U23s will assemble on Sunday, 20 March and leave two days later (Tuesday, 22 March) for Brazil. They will arrive in Maceio the following day (Wednesday, 23 March). Maceio is the capital of the Alagoas State, one of the smallest states in the eastern part of Brazil and is famous for its expansive sugarcane and coconut plantations as well as cattle-raising. Meanwhile, the draw for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games will be conducted on Thursday, 14 April 2016. It will be held at the Maracana Stadium, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil starting at 10h30 local time in Brazil (15h30 South African time). The tournament runs from 3-20 August.

South Africa coach Ephraim 'Shakes' Mashaba will name his squad next week to face Cameroon in a crucial Africa Cup of Nations qualifier. Mashaba will make the announcement at SAFA House on March 10, with the press conference scheduled to start at 10h00. The countries will ignite hostilities at the new Stade Omnisport de Limbe on March 26, and will meet again three days later at Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban for the reverse fixture. Bafana Bafana trail Cameroon by five points in Group M of the 2017 Nations Cup qualifiers and must get an away win to keep their hopes of reaching Gabon next year alive.

Kaizer Chiefs have confirmed ticket refunds will be issued after Volcan de Moroni failed to honour their CAF Champions League match in Durban last weekend. The teams were originally scheduled to meet at Moses Mabhida Stadium last Saturday night but the visitors did not pitch up. Chiefs were awarded a 3-0 walkover (7-0 aggregate win) and will next face Ivorian giants Asec Mimosas in the continental competition. Amakhosi released a statement on their website, which said: “Tickets bought for the CAF match between Kaizer Chiefs and Volcan Club de Moroni will be refunded. “Patrons with bought tickets who didn't attend the match and tickets stubs for those who went through the turnstiles at the Moses Mabhida Stadium for the above match will get a full refund at any Computicket and Shoprite/Checkers.”

Bidvest Wits are set to offer defender Sfiso Hlanti a permanent contract after his impressive display in the team’s colours this year. Hlanti, who is currently on loan from National First Division side AmaZulu, has been in fine form for the Students since arriving in Johannesburg in January this year. The KwaZulu-Natal born defender has started of Wits’ last four League matches, even scoring the winner in a 1-0 win over Arrows, with his performances seemingly earning him a possible permanent move to Gauteng. Hlanti initially signed a six-month loan agreement with the Clever Boys, with an option to extend.

Swiss junior international Marvin Graf, who has a South African mother, has begun an 18-month loan spell at second tier side Wohlen, where he banged in a brace of goals on debut. Graf has come through the development ranks of top Swiss side FC Zurich and is a seasoned junior international for the country. He is yet to make his senior team debut though and so remains eligible for South Africa. The 20-year-old had spent the first half of the season with the Zurich reserve side, where he was a regular. He recently signed a new contract with the club up until June 2020, but will spend the next 18 months at Wohlen to aid in his development. He came off the bench to score twice in the 3-1 win over Winterthur earlier this month. Wohlen are currently sixth in the Swiss second-tier, but out of the running for a place in the top-flight next season.

South African players abroad 

Kagisho Dikgacoi came off the bench to help English Championship side Cardiff City to a 2-1 victory over Preston North End.

There was still no Kermit Erasmus for Rennes in their 2-1 victory over Toulouse.

Andile Jali missed KV Oostende’s surprise 4-1 loss at OH Leuven in the Belgian topflight with injury.

Goalkeeper Darren Keet kept a clean sheet as his KV Kortrijk side won 2-0 at Mechelen in Belgium.

The slide of May Mahlangu’s side Sint Truiden continues as they lost 2-1 at home to Zulte-Waregem and are now just two points above the relegation zone with two matches remaining in the regular season.

Mandla Masango returned to action after the winter break in Denmark as he came off the bench in a 1-1 draw with SønderjyskE.

Pule Maraisane started for GAIS in their 3-1 loss to Orebro, but winger Luther Singh was missing with injury.

Tefu Mashamaite played for Hacken in their 6-2 Swedish Cup victory over Trollhättan to move to the top of their mini-group.

Kamohelo Mokotjo grabbed an assist as he helped FC Twente to a 2-0 victory over Groningen, their fifth win in a row.

Dino Ndlovu could not get on the scoresheet as Cypriot side Anothosis Famagusta were held to a 0-0 draw at Aris.

Anele Ngcongca played for French Ligue 1 side Troyes as they lost 1-0 at home to Lorient.

Ayanda Patosi was an unused substitute for Lokeren in their 3-1 Belgian league loss to Gent.

Lebogang Phiri was an unused substitute for Brondby in their 1-0 victory over Hobro on Sunday.

Granwald Scott made his debut off the bench for new Slovakian side Slovan Bratislava to help the title contenders to a 2-0 victory over league leaders AS Trencin following the end of the winter break in the country. Slovan now trail the pacesetters by four points.

Thulani Serero came off the bench to help Ajax Amsterdam to a 4-1 home win over AZ Alkmaar that leaves them a point behind leaders PSV Eindhoven.