I’m out injured until mid-October – Sithole

Football is a game of uncertainties with injury a big stumbling block in the progress of many players.

South African midfielder Sphephelo Sithole has been hit with this unfortunate uncertainty after he got injured in SAD Belenenses’s last pre-season game preparing for the 2020/21 season.

‘Yaya’ was on course for a good start to the 2020/21 season with coach Emmanuel Petit having already told the midfielder he would start the opening game of the campaign and started him in the pre-season game against his former club Sporting Lisbon only for the KZN Academy graduate to get a terrible hamstring injury that has taken him out of action for a month.

“I was very disappointed to get that injury, so I was chasing the ball trying to intercept the opposition striker who was attacking then I pulled my hamstring I felt it immediately and had to be substituted from the game,” explained Sithole.

“It was sad because I was doing well in pre-season and the coach had spoken to me about starting in the upcoming league games you know, but the season is long I will definitely bounce back.”

Sithole has been working hard to rehabilitate his hamstring while keeping focussed on returning to the team as soon as possible.

“I’m out until mid-October now because I’ve gone through the first two weeks smoothly up until now so soon I will be back,” added Sithole.

“Two games have been played so far in the league we won against Guimaraes and lost against Famalicao so with the international break coming up I will probably miss the first game after the break, but should be back for the following game which is good. I will be back training with the team when the international break is over,” he concluded.

Sithole made his first-ever senior debut for SAD Belenenses towards the end of last season

He is just one of a few promising SA young players going through the ranks of clubs in Europe with striker Lyle Foster at Vitoria Guimaraes, winger Luther Singh at Pacos de Ferreira and duo Kobamelo Kodisang and Genino Palace at SC Braga.

The growing injury list of South African players has also expanded with Lebo Mothiba and Lebogang Phiri already side-lined from action until early 2021 after undergoing some serious operations to their knees in France.

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By Prince Sobayeni

PSV sign Ivorian midfielder

Dutch Eredivisie side PSV Eindhoven have signed Ivorian defensive midfielder Ibrahim Sangare from French Ligue 2 side Toulouse.

The Ivorian has signed a 5-year-deal with the Dutch giants, leaving Toulouse after making just two appearances for the club which has been relegated from Ligue 1 last season.

He might be only 22, but Sangare made 80 appearances for Toulouse in the past 4 seasons he spent at the French side since his debut in the 2016/17 campaign.

Sangare started his career with Ivorian side Tout Puissant Koumassi and AS Denguele before making a move to Toulouse in 2016 where he joined the B team before making his debut later that season going on to make 5 appearances in the first season.

He has represented Ivory Coast at U-20 and U-23 level including playing at last year’s U-23 AFCON where he made appearances against the likes of South Africa and Nigeria as Ivory Coast went on to finish second in the tournament after losing to the hosts Egypt in the final.

PSV have paid 9 million Euros for the tall midfielder who has gotten his papers in order and could make his debut in the home game against Fortuna Sittard this coming weekend.

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By Prince Sobayeni

Ajax launch application to be renamed Cape Town Spurs

Cape Town Stars (Pty) Ltd, the minority shareholder which has reached an agreement to take full control of Ajax Cape Town as of 1 October, has launched an official application with the Premier Soccer League (PSL) to rename the franchise.

The Cape Town club is set to be rebranded and renamed Cape Town Spurs once the application process is approved.

Spurs and Seven Stars merged in 1999 to form Ajax Cape Town and it is the new owners’ intent to adopt the Cape Town Spurs name which remains well known within the South African football community.

More to follow in due course…

Press Release

Former teammates pay tribute to Mojela

Former teammates of the late TS Sporting midfielder Katlego Mojela have paid tribute to the player following his passing away on Friday.

Mojela died after complaining of dizziness during the club’s training session.

He was rushed to Medi clinic in Mbombela but unfortunately could not be resuscitated.

Oscarine Masuluke and Jemondre Dickens who played with the 28-year-old have described him as a disciplined and committed player.

“Firstly I would like to say condolences to the Mojela family, they lost a role model and one for the future,” Dickens told FARPost.

“For me, he was a great player and you could count on him, be at the game or at training. But I would like to say he ran his race, sometimes death comes and goes you don’t know when it’s going to come and who it’s going to hit, but Mojela was one of the greatest players I played with,” he said.

Masuluke, who had a close relationship with Mojela says it was difficult to accept the news when he first heard them.

“The first time I heard of his passing I thought people were fooling around but I finally managed to get the truth. It was not easy to accept but as a brother, I have accepted that he has passed on,” said Masuluke.

Mojela will be laid to rest on Saturday in Burgersfort, Limpopo.

RELATED STORY: TS Sporting player passes on

By Ofhani Munyai

CT City’s Natalie Barlow makes UEFA history

Natalie Barlow, Cape Town City’s Marketing Brand Manager is a rare breed.

She is the first South African and the first woman in Africa to obtain the UEFA Certificate in Football Management.

The UEFA course stretched for over 12 months, two international visits and concluded with an eventual online graduation ceremony due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Barlow’s journey started in August 2019 with an induction into the UEFA Academy, which was soon followed by the first official seminar at the UEFA Headquarters in Switzerland.

The next seminar was conducted in England at the Wembley Stadium, which was followed by a series of lectures and seminars at the London Stadium.

“This has been a challenging journey to get to my UEFA CFM Graduation. We’ve been through some intense seminars, assignments and then Covid turned everything on its head, but we certainly adapted in order to conquer it,” said Barlow.

The CT City Marking Brand Manager says the UEFA CFM programme has provided her with the necessary skills, tools and techniques to take her “off-field skills” to the next level.

“I have to thank my family, friends, CTC FC colleagues and the UEFA CFM First Open Edition Group for all the support. The class of 2020 is a very diverse group which includes 22 different nationalities, with our positions covering a broad spectrum within the various aspects of the football industry.

“A special thanks has to go to Cape Town City FC Chairman, John Comitis, for his leadership in pushing all of us at the club to improve ourselves and do our part to uplift the CTC FC brand as well as South African football. I am looking forward to sharing my knowledge and experiences with everyone at our club and the rest of the South African football fraternity,” added Barlow.

Barlow graduated over the weekend, joining the UEFA Academy Alumni family – a platform where some of the top football minds from across the world share ideas and knowledge with the common goal of improving football as a whole.

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By Tokelo Martin Mokhesi 

Matlaba leaves Leopards

Thabo Matlaba’s journey as a Black Leopards player has come to an end after just a season into his two-year contract.

Matlaba joined Lidoda Duvha at the beginning of the 2019/20 season and was immediately made captain of the side.

The 32-year-old tells FARPost he requested to be released from his contract in order to sort out some personal issues.

“Yeah it’s true I have left but I sent my termination request on 17 June because of family problems which I needed to sort out,” said Matlaba.

“But I told the Chairman (David Thidiela) that I will stay in the meantime and help the team stay in the Premiership because it would be bad to leave while they were still fighting for survival.

“The Chairman understood my reasons so he gave me his blessing to leave. Black Leopards is a good team so I enjoyed myself, unfortunately I had to part ways but I never had any problems during my stay there,” he said.

“I am not retiring from football anytime soon, it is just that I had to leave. I am still going to look for a job but I am not retiring,” concluded Matlaba.

It has been widely speculated that Matlaba is on the verge of joining newly promoted side Swallows FC, but the player has denied the rumour.

Matlaba played 32 matches for Leopards in all competitions, scoring one goal.

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By Ofhani Munyai

Al Ahly winger gets Angolan call up

Al Ahly winger Hermenegildo da Costa Paulo Bartolomeu, also simply known as ‘Geraldo’ has been called up to a strong Angolan national team that is set to play two friendlies next month as part of Angola’s preparations for the 2022 AFCON qualifiers later this year.

Al Ahly football director Sayed Abdelhafiz confirmed that the 28-year-old is set to join the Angolan squad on the 5th of October.

The speedy winger has played for Angola 21 times scoring one goal and registering a single assist.

For the ‘Red Devils’, he has a similar record as the attack-minded player has played 36 games for the club netting four goals while providing seven assists in all competitions.

Angola will face Mozambique and Guinea-Bissau in their upcoming two friendly matches.

In the AFCON qualifiers ‘Palancas Negras’ will be playing a double-header against the Democratic Republic of Congo (DR Congo) as they look to pull away from rivals Gabon in the group.

Angola started their qualification campaign with a win at home against Gambia before losing 2-1 away at Gabon.

The Ahly man was born in Luanda and started his career in 2009 with Angolan club Norberto de Castro moving in the same year to Brazilian club Rio Claro.

His career really reached high standards when he played for Angolan club D’Agosto where within three seasons he indisputably became the club’s biggest asset finishing all three seasons and the beginning of the 2018/19 campaign with 31 goals to his name.

The winger also won three league titles and a super cup before Egyptian giants Al Ahly came knocking for his services.

After the 2018/19 season where he helped D’Agosto reach the CAF Champions League semi-final, he then moved to the Egyptian Premier League where he has not really established himself as a regular first-team member yet.

In the national team, the attacker made his debut back in 2010 against Mexico, he has also played in the Africa Cup of Nations for Angola making his first appearance in the tournament back in 2013 South Africa.

There are a few names worth noticing in the ‘Giant Sable Antelopes’ squad with a few players plying their trade in Europe and some in Africa, including veteran defender Michel Bastos of Italian Serie A side Lazio, Jonás Ramalho of Girona in Spain and Zito Luvumbo the 18-year-old Angolan sensation who just recently made a switch to Italian side Cagliari.

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By Prince Sobayeni

Zwane named Football Journalists’ Men’s Footballer of the Season

Themba Zwane has won the inaugural men’s Footballer of the Year award from the South African Journalists’ Association (SAFJA) after a stunning 2019/20 Premiership campaign.

Zwane was instrumental in Mamelodi Sundowns’ treble triumph with 14 goals and 12 assists across all competitions last season.

The 31-year-old Bafana Bafana international secured 60% of the votes from 108 members of the SA Football Journalists and held off competition from the likes of former Highlands Park striker Peter Shalulile, Kaizer Chiefs duo Lebogang Manyama, Samir Nurkovic and his captain Hlompho Kekana to the SAFJA prize.

Sundowns clinched the Premiership title, Telkom Knockout and Nedbank Cup with Zwane playing an integral role in the club’s historic domestic treble last term.

The player affectionately known as ‘Mshishi’ walks away with a trophy, a photo collage of his 2019/20 season from SAFJA and has selected his former school, Shukumani Primary based in Tembisa to receive media training from the journalists’ association.

“To be honest it was a difficult season but with the team that we have we managed to be together, motivate each other and fought for one another,” Zwane told SAFJA in a virtual press conference on Tuesday.

“We knew that we were going to play more games than the other teams but as a team, we are now used to it. We worked hard at training, obviously, we started [season] slowly but we managed to come back in time [to win the league].”

Zwane has been a consistent performer over the last six years, helping the Chloorkop side win several trophies including Premiership title, Nedbank Cup, Telkom Knockout well as the CAF Champions League and CAF Super Cup.

The Tembisa-born winger went on to say that the 2019/20 season was his best in a Sundowns shirt.

“I believe that this was my best season. I scored more goals, created more goals and was involved in most attacking play. I think that I am a better ‘Mshishi’ than I was last season.

“It feels good to see people recognise the good job that you are doing on the field of play. Thanks to everyone involved in this award, I am honoured to be named the winner of the first one,” concluded Zwane.

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By Tokelo Martin Mokhesi 

Mozambique coach wary of ‘competitive’ Angola, Guinea-Bissau

Mozambique coach Luis Goncalves has indicated that he expects a tough challenge for his troops in their upcoming international friendly matches against Angola and Guinea-Bissau.

The Mambas take on Guinea-Bissau on October 8 and Angola on October 13 in Lisbon, Portugal next month in preparation for their home and away Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers (AFCON) against Cameroon in November.

Ex-Bidvest Wits winger Elias Pelembe and Cape Town City left-back Edmilson Dove will be travelling with Mozambique on Wednesday to Lisbon.

“The opponents are competitive teams that will cause us problems and will demand our best from us. I have no doubt about that,” said Goncalves, adding that they are grateful for the opportunity to play amid the coronavirus pandemic.

“We also have to be aware that, and I usually joke, when I go to the restaurant I ask for the menu and choose what I want to eat. Sometimes it is not always possible to choose (opponents) in an ideal way.

“We have to find opponents that are available, that it is possible to play, and of course we try to get as close as possible to our future opponent, but at this stage, I am more concerned with our team, with our processes and procedures, because we are in a very special situation [with Covid-19],” concluded Goncalves.

The players, including coaches, support staff and managers were on Sunday were tested for Covid-19 in Maputo with the results to be known sometime today, on the eve of the team’s departure to Portugal.

Mozambique squad:

Goalkeepers: Guirrugo (União Desportiva de Songo), Frenque (Ferroviário de Maputo), Victor (Costa do Sol), Teixeira (Associação Black Bulls)

Defenders: Infren (União DSongo), Fidel (Associação Black Bulls), Bheu (União Desportiva de Songo), Zainadine (Marítimo), Sidique (União Desportiva de Songo), Salomão (Costa do Sol), Mexer (FC Bordeaux), Bonera (Marítimo), Jeitoso (Ferroviário de Maputo), Reinildo (Lille), Edmilson (Cape Town City), Tununo (Ferroviário de Maputo)

Midfielders: Kambala (Baroka FC), Ricardo Mondlane (AD Sanjoanense), Nene (Costa do Sol), Xirasse (Associação Black Bulls), Kamo-Kamo (Vitória FC), Telinho (União Desportiva de Songo), Elias Pelembe (Bidvest Wits), Geny (Sporting Clube de Portugal), Kito (Ferroviário de Maputo)

Strikers: Clésio (Zira FK), Luís Miquissone (Simba FC), Nilton (Costa do Sol), Reginaldo (FC Kaysar), Rafito (CFR Pforzheim), Lau King (União Desportiva de Songo), Witi (Nacional de Madeira), Amâncio (Vitória FC), Gildo (Amora).

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By FARPost Reporter