Local News - Issue 303

Malesela Signs New Three-Year Deal 

Chippa United have announced that head coach Dan Malesela has signed a three-year contract with the club. Malesela joined the Chilli boys in December 2015 as assistant coach to then-coach Roger Sikhakhane and took over when the latter was suspended before vacating the post. Chippa United chairman Siviwe ‘Chippa’ Mpengesi is happy to reward the coach for his efforts since taking the reins. “He is a man of principle, who lives and breathes the game. He exceeded out expectations and fulfilled his mandate to keep the team in the Premier Soccer League,” Mpengesi says. “The team is playing an exciting brand of football and the new contract is a reward for his passion and hard work he has put into the team in the past couple of months.” Malesela adds: “The team is making progress but we cannot rest on our laurels. I am pleased with the support I am getting from everyone at the club. I am humbled and grateful of the support I have received from fans in and around the Eastern Cape and during our away matches.”

Platinum Stars striker Ndumiso Mabena has been called up to replace the injured Dino Ndlovu in the Bafana Bafana squad to take on Cameroon in the 2017 Gabon Orange Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers. The Cyprus-based Ndlovu reported for national team duty and was withdrawn after being assessed by the medical team, as he is carrying a knee injury. Ndumiso has already joined his compatriots in camp but he missed the first training session at the UJ Stadium, Soweto Campus held on Monday afternoon. The Dikwena frontman has been in good form this season, netting seven League goals to help his side to their current third spot in the Absa Premiership standings. Meanwhile defender Anele Ngcongca sat out the same training session due to an abdominal muscle strain. Andile Jali trained on his own as he is nursing a dislocated shoulder, while Thabo Matlaba could not finish the session because of a painful toe. The trio is still under medical observation but are expected to be ready for the clash against Cameroon on Saturday, 26 March 2016 at Stade Omnisport de Limbe in Limbe, Cameroon. Kick-off is at 15h30 local time (16h30 South African time). 

Bloemfontein Celtic coach Serame Letsoaka has admitted that the club’s off-problems have had an adverse effect on the team’s performance this season. Celtic management led by Max Tshabalala have been under fire from the club’s supporters about the performance of the team and are demanding that Tshabalala step down as chairman. Tshabalala put the club up for sale after witnessing scenes of violence during the League match against Orlando Pirates at Orlando Stadium a few weeks ago before making a U-turn to retain ownership of the club. Celtic recorded their first victory in 2016 after beating Mamelodi Sundowns 3-1 in Tshwane recently, and Letsoaka is confident his side will put all the troubles behind and start winning their games. "We have had too many challenges at Bloemfontein Celtic on and off the field. I must say the club has been doing everything it can to try and solve the problems off the field,” says Letsoaka. “I think somehow they were definitely reflecting badly on the players and the confidence of the players. You remember the game before Pirates, there were stones thrown at players and they had to go through police cars [out of the stadium]. “It was a traumatic moment for the players and they really needed something for the supporters [with the win against Sundowns],” he adds.

National First Division side Black Leopards have roped in Sello Chokoe as their new head coach, replacing the departed Kosta Papic. Papic last week resigned from his post in charge of the NFD club, who have now revealed their new man in charge. "We've finally found a coach who will take over from where our previous coach left,” said club spokesperson Berry Ramunenyiwa. “That coach is none other than former Baroka fc coach Sello Chokoe. “He will take over the team until the end of the season, it will all depend on how he performs." Chokoe's first assignment with  Lidoda Duvha, who sit ninth in the NFD standings, will be against African Warriors at Thohoyandou Stadium on 9 April. 

Mamelodi Sundowns will face AS Vita Club of DR Congo in the second and final qualification round of the CAF Champions League. Sundowns progressed past AC Leopards of Congo Brazzaville with a 3-1 aggregate victory and are now one round away from the reaching the group stage. Their next test is AS Vita, who knocked Kaizer Chiefs out of the tournament in 2014 when DR Congo international striker Ndombe Mubele scored an infamous hat-trick. Vita beat Mozambique champions Ferroviario Maputo 2-1 on aggregate to reach the second round. Meanwhile, Chiefs’ conquerors ASEC Mimosas will play Al Ahly Tripoli of Libya in the next round after beating Amakhosi 1-0 on aggregate. The first leg of the CAF Champions League second round will be on the weekend of April 8-10 and the second leg on April 19-20. Sundowns are away in the first leg.

Bidvest Wits hope to have a clearer picture of Papy Faty's health by the end of the month as the midfielder continues to rest on the sidelines. Faty collapsed during a friendly practice match against SuperSport United on December 8 last year, and was rushed to the nearby Milpark Hospital where he spent two days before being discharged. Now, just over three months later, Wits CEO Jose Ferreira says that the 25-year-old is still taking it easy, as per doctor's orders. “Right now he (Faty) is still resting as per the advice from the doctors. He does do a bit of exercise but nothing that involves having to push himself. We are hoping that over the next two weeks we will get finality on this matter which is something that we believe is important,” says Ferreira. Faty has been impressive as a central midfielder since arriving at Wits at the beginning of the 2012-13 season. The Burundian had been playing regularly this season prior to his health scare. 

Bloemfontein Celtic coach Serame Letsoaka has cleared the air surrounding the appointment of Lehlohonolo Seema as his assistant. Seema was recalled to the first team set-up on the eve of Celtic's sensational 3-1 win at log leaders Mamelodi Sundowns in midweek. Seema's return to the fold raised eyebrows as Letsoaka's future has come under scrutiny following the club's struggles this year. However, Letsoaka has revealed he requested the assistance of Seema, who will continue to head the club's development structures. "It was definitely my recommendation. I needed to pick up one more brain and two more eyes," says Letsoaka."Seema was one of the people in a course that I trained to be the coach. He has been working with the development and I felt it is important to bring somebody who is working as head of development to be part of the team so that they can transfer what we are doing to the juniors."He is the second assistant coach but still the head of the development."

FIFA have issued a statement clarifying the restitution claim to the US district relating to allegations that South Africa bought the 2010 World Cup hosting rights. "FIFA’s Request for Restitution is based on the allegations contained in the two indictments issued by the U.S. Department of Justice against 41 defendants," reads the press release."In its submission, FIFA is restating these allegations as the principal basis for its restitution request. "Eleven defendants have pleaded guilty to the charged offenses and admitted their crimes. FIFA intends to seek restitution from these defendants for their misconduct, as well as any other defendants who are convicted. "The US indictments do not allege that South Africa "bought" the World Cup with bribes. Nor does FIFA. The US indictments, which FIFA is relying upon in its restitution request, merely accuses certain individuals of criminal behaviour." 

Mamelodi Sundowns appear to be losing their grip on Argentine midfielder Alexis Sebastian Cabrera Coronas, who is tipped to replace the outgoing Bongani Zungu. Zungu has already signed with Portuguese club Vitoria de Guimares, whom he will join from next season, which leaves coach Pitso Mosimane with a tough task of finding a suitable replacement. 'Carbrera' was head hunted by The Brazilians as the one to fill the shoes of their departing Bafana Bafana star. However, the 28-year-old has since received an offer from Argentine Primera Division club Club Atletico Velez Sarsfield, which is believed to be equivalent to what Downs have offered to bring him to Chloorkop. The Tshwane-based side will now have to decide whether they would be willing to enter into a tug-of-war with Velez Sarfield for the services of the current Sportivo Rivadavia midfileder. “It is normal that Alexis would prefer to stay on in Argentina if Sundowns are not interested in improving the offer that they have tabled for him," says a source. "I mean, why should he leave home for an offer that is not better than what he can get in Argentina?"All that Sundowns need to do is just improve their offer then Alexis will be doing the same job that was being done by Zungu come next season. "So at this stage the only stumbling block is the offer on the table, otherwise everything else is on point." Carbrera is said to have the same physical presence as Zungu, and has picked up some experience having previously played in Argentina, Chile and Ecuador. 

The South African Breweries, in close partnership with SAFA, successfully hosted the inaugural edition of the SAB League Skills Camp this past weekend at the Durban University of Technology in Pietermaritzburg. This groundbreaking grassroots football development initiative by SAB saw 80 players, 20 coaches, 20 officials and 20 club administrators from the SAB League being taken through valuable skills and capacity building training to further develop them in their respective areas. The SAB League Skills Camp has been developed by SAB to bridge the vast gap between education and professional football, which has over the years resulted in loss of talent both on and off the field. A total of 140 participants were involved in the one-day workshop conducted by highly-qualified SAFA instructors such as Steve Coetzee. This was then followed by a practical session on the field in the form of exhibition matches involving all players, coaches and match officials where they were tasked to put to practice what was learnt during the workshops. Speaking at the event, SAB’s Socio-Economic Specialist Ntombi Kholwa congratulated all the participants who attended the workshop, saying that it is a step in the right direction for development within their journey to professional football. ”As proud sponsors of the SAB League, we are always looking at finding innovative but most importantly, effective methods of improving our offering to the development of football. We believe that through these SAB League Skills Camps, SAB can play its part in contributing to an even better society through football,” said Kholwa. SAFA’s Director of Competitions, Balebetse Monnakgotla, further added to Kholwa’s sentiments. ”Modern sport has proven that talent alone is never sufficient if not supported by education. Today marks an incredible milestone for South African football where we are embarking on a new and more relevant approach to football development. We salute the efforts of SAB and thank them for their continuous commitment to football development. All 140 participants received a certificate of recognition for their attendance at the SAB League Skills Camp. The Skills Camps will continue across the country with the next camp scheduled to take place in the Northern Cape in April. 

National First Division side Mthatha Bucks have announced the signing of former Kaizer Chiefs striker David Radebe on a four-month deal. Club chairman Simthembile Ntlantsana says the inclusion of Radebe will be a big boost for the Eastern Cape side. “We have been playing well but the problem is that we have been unable to convert draws into three points. We need to be consistent in collecting points and the next few games are crucial in our survival. We are not panicking,” Ntlantsana says. Mthatha Bucks chief operations officer Lunga Tukute adds: “We are pleased to welcome David Radebe to our squad. We believe his experience will be valuable to us as we try to move away from the relegation zone. “We would like to welcome and wish him well into the Amathol'amnyama family and hope he enjoys his time with us.”

The PSL has confirmed that eight individuals have been charged on match-fixing allegations, but will not reveal their names. ‘As part of the ongoing investigation into allegations of match-fixing, the Premier Soccer League has filed charges against eight football officials and football players relating to contravention of the NSL Rule 53.1, 53.2 and 53.2.10. ‘The eight officials and players will appear before the PSL Disciplinary Committee on 30 March 2016 at 18h00. ‘Due to the sensitive nature of the allegations and investigation, the PSL is withholding the names of the individuals concerned to ensure that the process runs without prejudice to the rights of the respondents. ‘The PSL will, however, give detailed information after the PSL Disciplinary Committee has released its findings. ‘The PSL will make no further comment on this matter.’

The Premier Soccer League has confirmed the Nedbank Cup last-16 dates, venues and kick-off times. The matches will kick off on Friday, 1 April when ABC Motsepe side Magesi FC host 2010 champions Bidvest Wits at the Old Peter Mokaba Stadium. Kick-off is at 20h00. Saturday afternoon will see two Premier Division clubs clashing when 2008 finalists Mpumalanga Black Aces welcome Maritzburg United to the Kanyamazane Stadium, while Platinum Stars and Polokwane City will play at the Royal Bafokeng Stadium. Both matches will start at 15h00. Later on Saturday evening, Free State Stars will make a second successive trip to Athlone Stadium in the competition, this time to face Santos at 20h15. Also kicking off at 20h15 will be a match between defending champions Mamelodi Sundowns and National First Division club Mbombela United at the Lucas Masterpieces Moripe Stadium. On Sunday, Jomo Cosmos and Orlando Pirates will square off at Olen Park Stadium in Potchefstroom, while Lamontville Golden Arrows will be at home to NFD leaders Baroka FC at Chatsworth Stadium. Both matches will kick off at 15h00 The final last-16 tie will be on Tuesday, 5 April when 2012 champions SuperSport United take on University of Pretoria in a derby at the Lucas Moripe Stadium. Kick-off is at 19h30.

Premier Soccer League acting chief executive Mato Madlala has congratulated Mamelodi Sundowns on claiming back-to-back Q-Innovation prizes. Sundowns were the run-away winners of Q2 in January 2016. Following yet another impressive spate of results in Q3, the ‘Brazilians’ have collected another R1.5 million in prize money for their efforts. The Brazilians only lost one match in eight fixtures, finishing top of the Q3 log with 19 points. Orlando Pirates and Bidvest Wits finished second and third respectively with 16 points from the same number of games. Madlala said: “Mamelodi Sundowns have been very impressive this season and it comes as no surprise that they have won two Quarters in a row. We would like to congratulate the club and supporters for this achievement. “With only one Quarter still up for grabs (Q4) and with the Absa Premiership championship race nearing climax, we are expecting a thrilling finale to the season as clubs compete for the big prize.” 

South African players abroad

Kagisho Dikgacoi did not make it off the bench for English Championship side Cardiff City as they were held to a 1-1 draw by Reading.

Kermit Erasmus was not in the match-day squad for Rennes as they won 5-2 at Olympique Marseille.

Mandla Masango netted his fourth goal of the season for Danish side Randers but ended up on the losing side as they went down 3-1 to Viborg.

Tefu Mashamaite limped off in the 41st minute for Swedish side Hacken but his day ended well as the club booked a place in the country’s FA Cup final with a 3-2 victory over Hammarby.

Kamohelo Mokotjo was still on leave back in South Africa this past weekend and did not feature in the match-day squad for FC Twente.

Dino Ndlovu’s recent slump continued as he was substituted at half-time in Anorthosis Famagusta’s 4-1 loss to Apollon in Cyprus.

Anele Ngcongca was dropped by French Ligue 1 side Troyes after his part in the 9-0 loss for his side to PSG last weekend.

Lebogang Phiri played for Danish side Brondby as they were held to a 0-0 draw by Esbjerg.

Having started in the midweek Slovakian Cup win over Senica, Granwald Scott kept his place for the 1-0 home loss to Spartak Myjava on Sunday but was taken off just before the hour-mark.

Thulani Serero did not get off the bench as Ajax Amsterdam claimed a crucial 2-0 win at title rivals PSV Eindhoven to move to the top of the Championship table in the Netherlands.

The PEC Zwolle forward scored his 13th goal of the season as his side crushed Willem II 4-1 in the Netherlands. Lars Veldwijk, whose father was born in South Africa, has expressed a desire to play for Bafana Bafana.