Local News - Issue 301

The Sale Of Bloemfontein Celtic Has Been Cancelled 

Bloemfontein Celtic is off the market as the sale of the club has been cancelled. This comes a week after the club’s chairman, Max Tshabalala, announced that he will be putting the club on the market and that he wants out. He further confirmed his intentions of selling Celtic on Monday morning at Siwelele Park in Bloemfontein during a press conference. Last Friday morning, it transpired that there was an alleged leaked staff letter revealing that the club was not for sale. According to the alleged letter it said that the club was not for sale and will no longer be sold “under any circumstances”. However, the club’s spokesman, Sello Nduna, has confirmed that Celtic is no longer for sale. On Sunday the club held a meeting at the Pax Nova Hall in Botshabelo, where they engaged with their supporters and members of the community to discuss the events of the past week. The club’s founding father, Dr Petrus Molemela, was in attendance at the supporters’ general meeting and even addressed the packed hall. One of the key issues Celtic conceded is that there is a clear communication gap between the management of the team and the side’s faithful supporters, something that they feel needs to be remedied. The team's lawyer Cobus Bredenkamp also produced documentation verifying the purchase of the team and ownership to the Tshabalala family. The management of Phunya Sele Sele also revealed that they had met with Tshabalala and that they had asked him to reconsider the sale of the club, because it was an emotional decision. As it stands at this point in time, Celtic will remain under the ownership of the Tshabalala family. 

Black Leopards striker Roggert Nyundu was hours away from joining a Gauteng club in the January transfer window, according to his agent Lizwe Mthethwa. Nyundu said last week he is desperate to play in the Absa Premiership as he is getting on in years. Mthethwa says the 28-year-old nearly achieved his goal at the beginning of the year amid interest from Bidvest Wits, Mamelodi Sundowns and Chippa United. And while Mthethwa feels Nyundu - who netted 19 goals for Leopards last term - has not been at his best this season, he is adamant his client belongs in the topflight. Mthethwa hopes a move can be arranged at the end of the campaign. Nyundu, who signed a three-year deal with the club before the season started, has scored six times in 18 matches for Lidoda Duvha in all competitions in 2015/16.

The South Africa Under-17 women’s national team, Bantwana, are back in camp to prepare for the crucial third round, first leg FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup Jordan 2016 qualifier against Nigeria. The match will take place on Saturday, 12 March at the Abuja National Stadium in Nigeria. Kick-off is at 16h00 local time in Abuja (17h00 in South Africa). Bantwana will be looking to qualify for their first ever FIFA Women’s World Cup after bowing out to Zambia in the final round of the previous qualifiers in 2013. The squad travelled to Abuja on Tuesday, 8 March 2016 where they continue with their preparations ahead of the clash on Saturday. South Africa automatically qualified for the third round of qualifiers after Zambia pulled out of the competition ahead of their matches against Bantwana in January this year. The FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup will be held in Jordan from 30 September to 21 October later this year.

Platinum Stars coach Cavin Johnson reveals that the club has in principle agreed a new deal with Robert Ng’ambi. The Malawian midfielder’s future has been a hot topic of debate, with him heavily linked with a move to Kaizer Chiefs and Mamelodi Sundowns some time ago. That didn’t materialise, and Dikwena have now moved to tie the former Black Leopards captain down for a few more years. “We know he’s going to sign a new contract and we have agreed on that. And if things changes in football you guys [the media] will be the first to know. “Maybe for at least two seasons now someone wanted to buy him and someone doesn’t want to buy him, someone selling him and someone not selling him. “There has been a lot of talk around him and in respect to Robert, we’ve got a good relationship as a coach and the player. He has the same relationship with the management of the team.”Ng'ambi has won the MTN8 and Telkom Knockout Cup with the club in 2013/14. 

The draw for the last-16 of the Nedbank Cup will start at 12h30 on Thursday at the Carlton Centre in Johannesburg. Fourteen clubs have advanced in the competition. They are: defending champions Mamelodi Sundowns, Polokwane City, Mpumalanga Black Aces, Baroka FC, Mbombela United, Golden Arrows, University of Pretoria, Free State Stars, Orlando Pirates, Bidvest Wits, Platinum Stars, Santos, Maritzburg United and Magesi FC. 

Mamelodi Sundowns have reportedly signed a 13-year-old gem from Limpopo named Thereso Chuene, who has been nicknamed ‘Messi’ because of his prodigious talent. Chuene hails from Lebowakgomo and has signed a development contract with Sundowns after the club’s chief scout Trott Moloto travelled to Limpopo to meet the youngster's grandparents. The grade six learner has been described as one of the brightest prospects in the region and is tipped to take the local football scene by storm. ‘Messi’ was recommended by the club’s provincial scout Ike Pula and is expected to relocate to Gauteng in June to join the rest of his teammates in Sundowns’ development academy. “The boy is magic. He is not being called Messi for nothing,” reveals a source close the club. “He has signed a development contract after Trott Moloto travelled to Limpopo to meet his grandparents.” Chuene’s parents passed away when he was a child and he is now under the care of his grandmother, according to the Bosveld Review. “The academy is keen to take the player to Pretoria before June this year. They are still busy trying to get him space at one of the primary schools in Pretoria so that he can start training with the team,” says Pula.“The boy is very talented and I am certain that he will do well in the soccer fraternity and make it big,” Sundowns’ Limpopo scout added.

Veteran Orlando Pirates defender Siyabonga Sangweni is set to retire at the end of the season as he continues to battle a knee injury. The 34-year-old will spend the remainder of the season on the sidelines after hurting his knee in the CAF Confederation Cup second leg Final against Etoile du Sahel and, according to a source, it is unlikely he will lace up his boots again.“Sangweni is set to retire at the end of the season and the doctors told him that the knee injury will not heal anytime soon,” a source revealed. “As of now, Sangweni is currently at home in Empangeni and will not play again this season.” The former Golden Arrows captain, who won the MTN8 with Abafana Bes’thende in 2009, sees his contract expiring at the end of the season and he has only played seven times for Pirates in 2015/16. Sangweni joined Pirates in 2011 and won the treble, and also added a Nedbank Cup medal to his collection in 2014. 

AmaZulu have reversed their decision to terminate the contract of on-loan midfielder Avela Cezu following the player’s appeal. “There were certain mitigating factors that were taken into consideration and we’ve recalled him into the squad,” says AmaZulu general manager Lunga Sokhela. Cezu had his contract cancelled at a disciplinary hearing following failure to adhere to club rules last month. Head coach Steve Barker says the player will have to grab the opportunity given to him by management on the field of play. 

The 2016 African Futsal Cup of Nations will be staged in Johannesburg for the first time next month under the guidance of newly-appointed coach Joao Freitas Pinto, a renowned Futsal coach from Portugal.  The last time South Africa took part in the Futsal competition was in 2000 when they finished a credible fourth. Pinto was present during the ninth SAFA Interprovincial Tournament, won by Gauteng two weeks ago. Coach Pinto – popularly known as ‘JP’ – along with a few selectors chose 48 players from the last two national futsal tournaments, to build the national team that would compete at the CAF tournament. The 48 players will go into a selection camp from 4-6 March 2016 where the squad will be trimmed down at the end of the weekend as they continue to prepare for the CAF Futsal Cup of Nations. “I am excited to be working in South Africa. This is an important challenge for me and South Africa as a whole. The fact that this country is placed seventh in African Futsal rankings is a good beginning. I am sure that we will be ready to compete in the Afcon come next month,” said coach JP.  Eight nations will feature in the 2016 Futsal Africa Cup of Nations in South Africa, with the top three representing the continent at the 2016 FIFA Futsal World Cup in Colombia from 10 September to 1 October alongside 21 other countries to make the total number 24 at the World Cup. The eight that will be playing in the African qualifiers are hosts South Africa, Angola, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, Mozambique, Tunisia and Zambia who will be making their debut.

South Africa U-23 star Siphelele Ntshangase is set to make his return next month from a lengthy ankle injury. The Black Leopards man sustained the knock in a goalless draw with Mbombela United at the end of January, prompting fears he could miss out on participating at this year's Olympics. However, Leopards coach Kosta Papic has revealed the offensive midfielder is making good progress with his rehabilitation. "He had a successful operation. He is set to remove the plaster cast in the last week of March and is expected to be back in action next month," says Papic. "We miss him. He is a key player. When he is around the field, it's a different story." The Rio Olympics will take place from August 5 to 21.

Ex-Orlando Pirates and Mamelodi Sundowns midfielder Benson Mhlongo says is not yet ready to retire from football. The 35-year-old has been without a club since leaving Polokwane City in June last year. And while Mhlongo recently participated in a coaching course organised by the South African Players Union, he still has the desire to continue playing football. "I am still training on my own. I am still waiting for offers," says Mhlongo. "I am not ready to retire at  the moment. Yes, I did the coaching course but I have not decided yet if I will consider coaching because I still want to play football," adds the former Bafana Bafana star.

South African players abroad

Kagisho Dikgacoi was a late substitute for English Championship side Cardiff City as they won 2-0 at Bristol City to stay out of the top six only on goal-difference. The promotion playoffs look a big possibility for them.

Kermit Erasmus was named in the travelling squad for Rennes' game at Nantes but did not make the final squad for the game.

Andile Jali was back in the Oostende starting line-up and played the full game as his side defeated Sporting Charleroi 2-1 in Belgium.

Darren Keet’s Kortrijk still have slim hopes of reaching the championship playoffs after a 1-0 home win over Zulte-Waregem. They must beat Anderlecht in their final regular season game and hope other results go their way.

Things are starting to look very bleak for May Mahlangu at Sint Truiden, with the club needing to beat Patosi’s Lokeren to ensure they stave off relegation on the final day of the Belgian league regular season on Sunday. Truiden lost again at the weekend with a 3-0 defeat at Club Brugge.

Luther Singh came on at halftime and PuleMarasaine midway through the second period as GAIS were hammered 5-1 by BK Forward in the Swedish Cup.

Mandla Masango was a second half substitute as his Danish side lost 1-0 at Esbjerg.

Tefu Mashamaite played for Hacken as they booked their place in the next stage of the Swedish Cup with a 4-0 victory over Gefle.

Mihlali Mayambela made his debut for Swedish side Djurgardens as a second half substitute in their 3-1 Swedish Cup loss to Hammarby that sees them exit the competition this season.
Kamohelo Mokotjo laid on an assist but his FC Twente side lost 2-1 at ADO Den Haag to end a five-match winning streak.

Dino Ndlovu failed to find the back of the net as his Anorthosis Famagusta side made a poor start to the championship playoffs in Cyprus with a 3-0 loss to Omonia.

Anele Ngcongca played for Troyes as they lost 2-1 at Nice in the French Ligue 1. Relegation is now a near certainty.

Ayanda Patosi made a successful return to the Lokeren starting line-up in Belgium with two assists in a 2-1 victory for his side over Westerlo that ends their relegation fears.

Lebogang Phiri came off the bench in the second half as his Brondby side slipped to a 3-1 loss at SønderjyskE.

Granwald Scott did not make it off the bench for Slovakian title hopefuls Slovan Bratislava in their 1-0 win at Podbrezova.

Thulani Serero was left on the bench as Ajax Amsterdam thumped Willem II 4-0 on Sunday.