Local News - Issue 310




Sundowns Crowned 2015/16 PSL Champions

Pitso Mosimane and his Mamelodi Sundowns charges have been crowned the kings of South African football once again, winning their second title in three seasons. This is a record seventh championship victory for Sundowns since the start of the Premier Soccer League (PSL) in 1996 and it has come with two matches still to play this season. The ‘Brazilians’ beat the University of Pretoria 3-0 at the Tuks Stadium last week Wednesday to seal league glory with all three goals coming from Liberian marksman Anthony Laffor.

Santos coach Zeca Marques has said that he will not stay on as head coach of the NFD club for next season. Marques confirmed the news after his side beat his former club Moroka Swallows 1-0 at Athlone Stadium last Sunday to ease their relegation concerns.  "I can say that I won't be back next season," said Marques, who was extremely animated on the touchline after People's Team skipper Tyren Arendse scored the winner from the penalty spot late in the game. "It's a difficult decision but I thought long and hard about it and it's a move I have to make. I won't be coaching any team soon but yes, I'm leaving the club at the end of the season." Marques added: "It was an interesting season for me here in Cape Town and have learnt a lot you know.  "The diversity of Cape Town, the players and culture is something you have to keep in mind at all times. Of course things didn't go the way I anticipated but it was still a very good experience and learning curve. "Santos is a passionate club with a strong family bond. It was a good experience for me as a coach."

Bafana Bafana midfielder Andile Jali is going back to his roots in Matatiele during the off-season to give back to the community by staging a soccer tournament. Jali, who now plays in Belgium, is excited about the prospect of giving back to his community and is forking out money from his own pocket to run the tournament, which is set to kick off on June 14 with the finals set to be played on Youth Day. The former Orlando Pirates midfielder says he is currently running the tournament from his own pocket but still looking for sponsors. The Andile Jali Annual Soccer Tournament chief organiser Lwazi Nogenga says they are lined up for a music concert during the closing ceremony.

Africa’s two women representatives at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, Banyana Banyana and Zimbabwe, face off in an international friendly on Sunday at Makhulong Stadium in Tembisa. The match kicks off at 15h00. “This is a fantastic opportunity for both us and Zimbabwe, Africa’s representatives in the women's tournament at the Olympics, to showcase what we can potentially unleash at the Olympics. “The two teams will use the occasion to launch final preparations towards Rio. We are grateful to them (Zimbabwe) agreeing to come here at such a short notice. I hope the fans will come in numbers to watch this encounter as this is something that might not happen more often,” said Banyana Banyana head coach Vera Pauw. “The last time we played against Zimbabwe, it ended in a goalless draw so this will be good for our preparations. After a few weeks not being in camp, we are happy that we can resume with our training camps. The team must be together and train together, so this match comes at a very important time and that is why we are so happy. We are able to get back into the full swing of things for the last push towards Rio.” The Rio 2016 Olympic Games run from 3 – 20 August. The South Africans are in Group E alongside Brazil, Sweden and China, while Zimbabwe is in Group F against Canada, Australia and Germany. Banyana Banyana open their account with a clash against Sweden at the Olympic Stadium in Rio de Janeiro on Wednesday, 3 August. Next on the cards for the Sasol-sponsored women’s national team will be China at the same venue on Saturday, 6 August. The third and last group stages match for Banyana Banyana is a date with the hosts on Tuesday, 9 August at the Amazon Arena in Manaus.  

The 2015/16 Promotion-Relegation Playoffs will start on May 25. The date was confirmed following the official Playoffs draw in Johannesburg on Monday. The Playoffs are contested by three clubs: the club that finishes 15th on the Absa Premiership log and the two clubs that finish second and third in the National First Division. Maritzburg United are currently propping up the topflight table, with University of Pretoria and Jomo Cosmos just above them with two matches left. Baroka FC are setting the pace in the NFD, followed closely by Highlands Park and Mbombela United.

Mame Niang will meet with Mamelodi Sundowns' management to discuss his future at the club amid interest in his services from the Middle East. The Senegalese striker is currently on loan at AmaZulu, having joined the NFD side in January on a six-month deal following a short stint at AEL Limassol in Cyprus. "I still have a contract with Sundowns," says Niang. "My agent is set to meet with the club soon to discuss about my future."There has been offers from the Middle East but as I said I still have a contract with Sundowns and I am still to hear from them what they are saying about my future in the club."  Niang joined the Brazilians on a three-year contract from Tshwane rivals SuperSport United in July 2014.

Mamelodi Sundowns midfielder Khama Billiat says that he is very happy to have won the Absa Premiership Player of the Month award for March/April. “It’s a great feeling and this is the first time I’m here (PSL offices) as a Player of the Month… so this is a great feeling,” said Billiat. The attacking midfielder has been sensational for Sundowns this season, particularly during their march to the title. Billiat netted goals against SuperSport United (1) and Jomo Cosmos (1) as Downs beat both sides 2-0 in the league.  The Zimbabwean also played an important role in feeding his teammates with scoring chances; providing assists in 3-1 wins over Polokwane City (2) and Kaizer Chiefs (2) in April. Billiat is hopeful more accolades are on the way. “If you want to be somewhere you have to start somewhere. I think this is the beginning… I hope I’ll be here again,” added the 25-year-old, who has attracted foreign interest in his services.

AmaZulu are set to sign former Bafana Bafana and Mamelodi Sundowns goalkeeper Mark Anderson's son Marki after he spent one week trial with the team last week. The 15-year-old, also a keeper, trained with the senior team on Wednesday alogn with Energy Murambandoro and Sage Stephens.  He produced some brilliant saves at training from Siyabonga Nomvethe and towering header from Mame Niang.  Anderson Snr, who also played for Umtata Bush Bucks, went onto social media to express his gratitude for his son's first step towards a professional career. The 53-year-old Anderson was in goal when Bafana Bafana played their first international against Cameroon in July 1992. He won seven caps in all.

Mamelodi Sundowns have set their sights on bringing SuperSport United striker Jeremy Brockie to Chloorkop next season. Sundowns coach Pitso Mosimane is an admirer of Brockie, and word coming from Chloorkop is that the Matsatsantsa hitman tops the list of players he wants to sign for the league champions. SuperSport are reportedly trying to lure Bidvest Wits striker James Keene, and should they succeed Brockie could be allowed to cross the floor to the Brazilians. The New Zealander has scored 17 goals in all competitions this season, while he struck 10 times last term despite only arriving in South Africa midway through the campaign.

Polokwane City midfielder Jabulani Maluleke says he will still be playing next season, though he can’t say for sure where that will be. The 34-year-old is in the form of his life this season, having netted five goals and assisted four this season. His contract with Rise & Shine expires at the end of the season, but Maluleke says whether he will stay at the club remains to be seen. “I cannot go into details right now about what could happen next season,” says Maluleke. “It is normal that I have to think about my future when my contract is at a stage where it is. What I can assure you is that I still want to be playing football next season.”

Orlando Pirates have secured the services of FC Cape Town midfielder Nyasha ‘Marshall’ Munetsi in a multi-million rand, five-year deal deal. The 19-year-old Zimbabwean arrived in South Africa from the Friendly Academy in Harare, which was only started in 2012, and recently had a trial spell with Pirates. Needless to say, FC Cape Town have received a handsome and quick return on their investment they acquired about a year ago, whom they once described as being 'in the mould of Yaya Toure'.  Errol Dicks, owner of the African Beasts, confirms the news of his departure and says no price can be put on the change it will bring about to another individual’s life. Dicks remained mum on which club Munetsi is joining due to the confidentiality contract he signed, but this website has gathered that Munetsi will be a Buccaneer next season. The player was on a gentle stroll in the leafy suburb of Plattekloof in the northern suburbs of Cape Town when he was tracked down for comment.

AmaZulu have hired Chicken Inn coach Joey Antipas as Steve Barker's replacement for next season. Delron Buckley will remain caretaker coach of Usuthu until the end of the current campaign, but Antipas will touch base with the ex-Bafana Bafana winger before starting his duties on July 1. “We have concluded the paperwork with Mr Joey Antipas and we’re very pleased for the appointment,” said club general manager Lunga Sokhela. “He’s someone that will definitely bring the wit and experience that we need to rise above this season’s underachievement, and also ensure we are a strong force in challenging for promotion next season. Antipas has won two championships with Motor Action (2010) and Chicken Inn last season. He holds a CAF B Coaching License and has spent time at European clubs, Borussia Dortmund (German) and Brondby (Denmark) as part of his studies in 2012 and 2013. AmaZulu sacked Barker last month in light of the National First Division side's failure to challenge for promotion.

Chippa United midfielder Sandile Zuke could be on his way out of the club at the end of the season. Two clubs – one in the Free State and one of his former teams – have already started making enquiries about Zuke after getting wind that he is going to be available as a free agent in June. The 28-year-old has been putting in commanding shifts whenever called upon for duty at Chippa. “There have been enquiries from two clubs and right now we have left those options open for Zuke,” says a source. Zuke joined Aces on a one-year deal at the beginning of the season after spending the previous season on loan at Bidvest Wits. 

South African Players Abroad 

Kagisho Dikgacoi was left out of Cardiff City’s final English Championship game at home to Birmingham City that ended in a 1-1 draw.

Kermit Erasmus made a rare appearance on the bench for French Ligue 1 side Stade Rennes but did not get any game-time as they lost 2-0 at Montpellier.

Andile Jali played the entire game for Belgian side KV Oostende as they could not hold onto a lead in a 2-1 loss at Anderlecht.

Darren Keet was again on the bench for Kortrijk as they won 3-2 at Mouscron-Péruwelz having already advanced to the next stage of UEFA Europa League qualifying. They now face Sporting Charleroi in a two-legged play-off starting on Friday.

May Mahlangu could have played his last game for Sint-Truiden with his contract set to expire next month. He could follow assistant coach Benni McCarthy and his boss, South African-raised head coach Chris O’Loughlin, out of the club following a 3-0 loss to Sporting Charleroi.

Mandla Masango played for Danish side Randers as they cruised to a 2-0 victory over bottom side Hobro.

Kamohelo Mokotjo completed his troubled season with Dutch side FC Twente with a 2-2 home draw against Vitesse.

Dino Ndlovu came off the bench at halftime for Cypriot side Anorthosis Famagusta as they were held to a 1-1 draw by Nea Salamis.

Ricardo Nunes scored his first goal in Poland but it was not enough for his side to avoid a 3-1 defeat at home to Zaglebie Lubin.

Ayanda Patosi’s season in Belgium is over after his Lokeren side failed to reach the next stage of qualifying for the UEFA Europa league despite a thumping 5-1 victory over Mechelen. Patosi set up the first goal for his side.

Thibang Phete started for Portuguese side Vitoria Guimaraes as they thumped Moreirense 4-1. He is getting a good run of games at the back-end of the season.

Bradley Ralani was able to celebrate promotion to the Danish top-flight after his Lyngby side beat Helsingør 1-0. The midfielder played the final 16 minutes off the bench.

It has been a rough couple of weeks for Granwald Scott, who lost the Slovak Cup final with Slovan Bratislava to Trencin. The same side them thumped Slovan 4-0 in the league on Sunday to secure the domestic championship. Scott was substituted at halftime.

It was a disastrous weekend for Thulani Serero, who played for Ajax Amsterdam in their 1-1 draw with second-bottom De Graafschap that handed the Dutch title to PSV Eindhoven. Ajax had beaten De Graafschap in their last 13 meetings, but could not do so when it mattered most.

Luther Singh played for Swedish second-tier side GAIS in their 2-2 draw at Dalkurd.

Lars Veldwijk played for Dutch side PEC Zwolle in their 3-1 loss to PSV Eindhoven. They now advance to the Europa League playoffs.