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Local News - Issue 308

Ajax Sign Victor Ali Abondo

Ajax Cape Town have confirmed the signing of Kenyan midfielder Victor Ali Abondo from Gor Mahia. The 26-year-old has penned a two-year deal at Ikamva following a successful trial earlier in the year. Abondo becomes the fifth addition to Ajax’s squad for the new Absa Premiership season, after Erick Chipeta put pen to paper a fortnight ago, while the club has also promoted three teenagers Masilake Phohlongo, Darren Johnson and Sirgio Kammies from their academy. “It’s a good feeling to finally sign for Ajax Cape Town. This is what I’ve always dreamt of,” Abondo said. “I consider Ajax as one of the best clubs in the PSL. Even in Kenya, people know Ajax Cape Town and rate the club highly. “I will work hard to make my stay here successful. I’ve worked hard on my capabilities, so it’s time for me to take the next step in my career. For me, this is a big challenge and I will give it my all.” 

Slippery forward Ryan Chapman is training alone until the end of the season but will be heading back to parent club Bidvest Wits following the premature end of his loan at Golden Arrows. Chapman was released by Arrows early this month after scoring twice in five starts (plus nine substitute appearances). Mike Makaab, of ProSport International, explains: “Ryan is still a Wits player and he has a year remaining on his contract with them so what will happen is that he will go back there in the new season. For now he is training alone.” Chapman’s goals for Arrows came against Mamelodi Sundowns in September last year and against amateur club Milford United in the Nedbank Cup last month. His last appearance also came last month against Maritzburg United when he came on as a late substitute. The 29 year-old also spent the past season on loan at SuperSport United from Wits – who he initially joined from Santos in 2010.

Royal Eagles say it is too early to talk about a contract extension for Katlego Mphela as they continue the push for the promotion play-offs. The former Bafana Bafana striker, who was written off by many, has put NFD defenders on red alert with his predatory instincts and is scoring goals for the ambitious Durban side after another strike last Sunday against Santos. Mphela, whose contract is up at the end of this season, was responsible for the sacking of AmaZulu coach Steve Barker by firing Eagles to last week's 1-0 victory after the club appointed interim coaches Bheka Phakathi, Abram Nteo and John Tlali. The former Kaizer Chiefs and Mamelodi Sundowns striker’s goal in Sunday's 4-0 victory over Santos took his season tally to nine in 19 matches. Eagles are now third on the log table, and Makhoba feels Mphela is happy and settled at the club after an early lack of match sharpness. As Eagles’ play-off ambitions are in fine balance, they will have the biggest task on their hands next weekend when they welcome cup giant killers and NFD log leaders Baroka FC to Harry Gwala Stadium. As Eagles’ play-off ambitions are in fine balance, they will have the biggest task on their hands next weekend when they welcome cup giant killers and NFD log leaders Baroka FC to Harry Gwala Stadium.

Mpumalanga Black Aces wingback Bryce Moon says he will definitely be an AmaZayoni player next season. The former Bafana Bafana star linked up with Aces in January after terminating his contract with Mamelodi Sundowns. Moon has since made 13 appearances in the league for Muhsin Ertugral's side. "Yeah most definitely, most definitely... I'm enjoying myself why would I want to leave," says Moon.  "I'm also loving it here at Black Aces and I'm just working to get something out the season and we are pushing." Moon, who previously worked with Ertugral at Ajax Cape Town, has also played in Greece, as well as for SuperSport United, Golden Arrows and Platinum Stars. 

Orlando Pirates will face Free State Stars in the Nedbank Cup semi-final, while Baroka FC face SuperSport United. The semi-final draw was made straight after Baroka's 2-0 win against Polokwane City at Old Peter Mokaba Stadium. Pirates, who beat Mamelodi Sundowns 2-0 after extra-time last Saturday evening, will travel to the Free State, while Matsatsantsa host the First Division leaders.

Kaizer Chiefs have reportedly shown an interest in highly-rated Zimbabwean defender Costa Nhamoinesu as he nears the end of his contract with Czech Republic club AC Sparta Prague. Nhamoinesu’s current deal with Sparta Prague expires at the end of June. AmaKhosi are set to make several changes to their squad during the winter break after a disappointing campaign, and if they succeed in their bid to capture Nhamoinesu they could bring the stability that they have lacked at the back this season. Zimbabwean newspaper The Herald spoke to his agent Jakob Slowik – who confirmed Chiefs’ interest though noting that the dreadlocked defender has plenty other options in Europe. The 30-year-old can possibly continue with his stay at the Czech club but has an option of heading out to Turkish club Besiktas. “He (Costa) is a quality player and we need to find the right club that will appreciate him and his character. Turkish clubs are in the race. Besiktas, Kasimpas and Konyaspor are very interested. There are also German clubs interested but I cannot name them yet,” Slowik is quoted as saying before revealing the Chiefs interest. “Is it interesting for you to hear that Kaizer Chiefs are (also) interested in signing Costa? We are negotiating with them. He (Costa) is open to do that (coming to join Chiefs) if the package is right,” says Slowik. Nhamoinesu has already played in the UEFA Champions League, while his team reached the Europa League quarter-finals this year. He has previously played in Poland and has been in Europe for the past nine years. 

Aristide Bance wants to leave Chippa United at the end of the season. The 31-year-old Burkina Faso striker has spent only one season with the Chilli Boys, netting three goals in 14 starts.  But he apparently has issues with club management and has written a letter stating his intentions. “Bance is no longer happy at Chippa United. He is seeking a move. We have already notified management about his intention to leave at the end of the season,” says the player’s agent, Jean-Marc Eyango.  

Former Bafana Bafana winger Delron Buckley believes he is ready for the challenge of his first head coaching role. Buckley will oversee Usuthu's final five games of the season following the sacking of Steve Barker last week Monday. The 38-year-old was initially hired as Barker's assistant in February. “I have been thrown into deep water. I have football knowledge and I have played overseas, so I am ready for the challenge," Buckley told the mid-table club's website. “I have learnt a lot from my time working with Steve Barker so I am confident. Let’s see how it goes over the next few games. “I want our players to go out on the pitch knowing that there is nothing to lose. I can assure you that this weekend the players will be free to go out there and play,” he added of his first test against African Warriors on Sunday in which his team played to a goalless draw.  Buckley, who was released by Maritzburg United in May 2014, spent most of his playing career at German teams VFL Bochum, Arminia Bielefeld and Borussia Dortmund, while he earned 73 international caps.

Mamelodi Sundowns have been paired against Medeama SC in the play-off round of the CAF Confederation Cup following their CAF Champions League elimination. The Brazilians will face the Ghanaian club in a two-legged tie on the matchdays of 6-8 May and 17-18 May. As a losing team from the Champions League, Sundowns will play the first leg at home. The eight winners of this round will go into the group stage of the CAF Confederatrion Cup proper.

Full CAF Confederation Cup play-off draw:

Stade Malien vs FUS Rabat
Al Ahli Tripoli vs Misr Makkassa
Mamelodi Sundowns vs Medeama SC
Al Merreikh vs Kawkab Marrakesh
Young Africans vs GD Esperanca
TP Mazembe vs Stade Gabesien 
Etoile du Sahel vs CF Mounana
MO Bejaia vs Esperance Tunis

SuperSport United teenager Jake Aresti has returned to Dutch club PEC Zwolle for a two-month trial. The 15-year-old, who played for Ricardo Katza's U-17 team at United this season, left for Holland last week Monday. Aresti also trained with the Eredivise side late last year. SuperSport academy graduate and Bafana Bafana midfielder Kamohelo Mokotjo spent a year at Zwolle before joining FC Twente in August 2014.

Ajax Cape Town goalkeeper Anssi Jaakkola has confirmed that he will be leaving the Urban Warriors at the end of the season. The 29-year-old has shone for the club in his three years at Ikamva, twice being nominated for the PSL Goalkeeper of the Season award. And while the Finn is unsure of his next destination, he feels it is time to move on from the MTN8 champions. "It’s something I am considering [leaving Ajax] because I have two kids now and I’ve got to think about their future, their education and also my career needs another challenge," Jaakkola says. "Finland wouldn’t be the best for me because I need to go to a step ahead of Ajax. So we are still considering a number of options. Johannesburg? Never say never because in football things happen, but we are looking everywhere. "The last five games, sadly, will be my last for Ajax and I am truly grateful for everything they’ve done for me. I will miss everybody and a lot of things about the club. "They’ve taught me a lot of things and one thing I will always honour is how they’ve taught me religion. I wasn’t raised in a religious background, the same way that the clubs I’ve played for in Finland and Scotland, religion wasn’t a part of day to day life and that is something this club has brought me so close to. "The people at the club, the backroom staff, the guys I work with, everybody, thank you so much for the fond memories."

Bidvest Wits have decided to extend full-back Sifiso Hlanti’s stay at the club for another season. The left-back joined Wits on loan from AmaZulu and following impressive performances that saw him earn a call-up to Bafana Bafana, Wits have decided to tie him down. This was confirmed by coach Gavin Hunt during the Kia Champ into Arena amateur football tournament launch in Johannesburg. “There are no problems there, we’ve got an option and we signed him,” Hunt said. “We took this player, he was sitting in the stands at AmaZulu, he was not even playing. Now he is all over the show I understand. “The boy has done very well, may it long continue but yeah he will be with us for next season. “I can confirm that he has signed with us, I'm not sure the duration period, but I know it’s done for next year.”

Cape Town All Stars have terminated the contract of South Africa Under-23 goalkeeper Kyle Peters due to disciplinary issues. The 23-year-old has been Stars’ number one for the past two seasons since joining from Vasco da Gama, and had been rewarded for his excellent performances with several call-ups to the national Under-23 team. Unfortunately, disciplinary issues have crept in, which led to the goalkeeper being suspended. At a subsequent disciplinary hearing, both parties agreed that it would be best to part ways, All Stars believing it to be in the best interests of the team. Peters’ contract with the club was due to end in two months’ time. The club would like to thank Kyle for his services and we wish him all the best for his future.

Method Mwanjali has been remanded in custody to May 4 following the dismissal of his appeal to be released on bail following attempted murder charges. Mwanjali appeared at the Harare Magistrates Court today to face the charges having already made an application challenging his placement on remand yesterday, which was immediately thrown out. The former Mamelodi Sundowns and Mpumalanga Black Aces defender can however still apply for bail at the High Court. The 33-year-old allegedly stabbed another man – Tonderai Nhunzvi – using a knife, following an alteration in a parking lot of a night spot in Harare.  Nhunzvi was allegedly stabbed twice and remains admitted at a Harare hospital. Mwanjali has been remanded in custody due to the nature of the charges he is facing. Archford Gutu – once on the books of Ajax Cape Town – was granted US$100 bail and will appear in court on the same day – May 4. Gutu is facing malicious damage to property charges after he smashed the rear windscreen of Nhunzvi’s car using an unknown object on the night of the incident. The two (Mwanjali and Gutu) are teammates at Zimbabwean club CAPS United where Mwanjali is the captain having re-joined the club last year after being frozen out at Sundowns for the last season (2014/15) on his contract. Mwanjali started 58 games and scored twice at Sundowns then made a further 21 appearances at Aces – captaining both clubs along the way.

Polokwane City have already started preparing for the 2016/17 season with three new signings and their chairman explains why they cannot announce player bonuses for Nedbank Cup success. According to club chairman Johnny Mokgaladi, the Limpopo side has acquired the services of three very good players from local clubs and are negotiating with two more, who are expected to sign by this week. Mokgaladi was not prepared to give away the full details of those pending deals. 

South African players abroad

Goalkeeper Steve Cann completed his season for Welsh Premier League side Port Talbot Town with a 2-0 victory over Haverfordwest County, but faces an uncertain future with the team. Port Talbot have not been granted a license to compete in the Premier League next season after not meeting the minimum financial and infrastructure criteria, and must compete in a division below.

Daylon Claasen played for 1860 Munich as they gained a vital 1-0 home win over Eintracht Braunschweig to move out of the automatic relegation positions in the German Bundesliga II.

Kagisho Dikgacoi did not make it off the bench for English Championship side Cardiff City as they kept their slim hopes of reaching the promotion playoffs alive with a come-from-behind victory over Bolton Wanderers. Cardiff are four points off seventh-placed Sheffield Wednesday with two games remaining, and meet The Owls on Saturday.

There was no Kermit Erasmus for Rennes as they drew 1-1 with Monaco to put a dent in their hopes of qualifying for European club competition next season.

Andile Jali started for KV Oostende as they finally got a win in the Belgian league championship play-offs with a 4-2 home success over title-chasing Anderlecht.

Darren Keet again had to settle for a place on the bench as his Kortrijk side won 5-0 at home to Waasland-Beveren to stay top of the other pool and on course for a possible meeting with Lokeren in the next round.

Dino Ndlovu netted a late penalty for his 18th goal of the season as Anorthosis Famagusta lost 3-2 at AEK Larnaca. The Bafana Bafana forward had come off the bench. Ndlovu will play his final game of the season, and possibly for the club, on Wednesday having been linked with a move away from Anorthosis after his fine scoring campaign.

Former Bafana left-back Ricardo Nunes played for Polish side Pogoń Szczecin as they stayed on course for a place in the Europa League next season with a 1-0 home win over Lech Poznań.

Ayanda Patosi scored his seventh goal of the season to help Belgian side Lokeren to a 2-2 draw against May Mahlangu’s Sint Truiden in their bid to qualify for the UEFA Europa League next season. Patosi gave his side the lead with a fine strike from the edge of the box, but his team were then forced to come from behind and claim a point. Mahlangu returned from injury for Sint Truiden for his first game in three weeks.

Thibang Phete started for Vitoria Guimaraes as they were held to a 1-1 draw by Estoril in the Portuguese top-flight.

Lebogang Phiri was on the bench as Brondby won 2-1 at home to AGF to stay in touch with qualification for the UEFA Europa League next season.

Bradley Ralani started for Danish second-tier side Lyngby as they played to a 0-0 draw with promotion rivals Horsens. The result keeps Lygnby three points clear at the top of the table.

Granwald Scott came on at halftime for Slovakian side Slovan Bratislava as they won 2-0 over Skalica to stay six points behind Trencin at the top of the table. There are four league games left in the season.

Luther Singh played for Swedish second-tier side GAIS as they lost 2-0 at division leaders Halmstad.