LINE-UPS: Maritzburg v Pirates

Maritzburg United and Orlando Pirates have announced their starting teams for the DStv Premiership clash that will take place at Harry Gwala Stadium this evening.

The match will kick-off at 17:30 and it will be live on SS2.

Maritzburg XI

Engelhardt, Ismail, Rae, Ndengane, Allie (c), L. Hlongwane, Theron, Kewuti, Graham, B. Hlongwane, Soukouna.

SUBS: Peterson, Human, Zumah, Claasen, Ritchie, Bhengu, Skelem, Dlamuka, Bennett.

Pirates XI 

Mpontshane, Jele (c), Sam, Ndah, Mako, Monare, Makaringe, Mntambo, Shandu, Dzvukamanja, Mabasa.

SUBS: Sandilands, Peprah, Mabaso, Bophelo, Mngonyama, Dlamini, Hlatshwayo, Makgaka, Hotto.

By Wonga Sirayi

FARPost’s KZN Reporter

Sundowns edge Arrows

Mamelodi Sundowns strengthened their hold of top spot in the DStv Premiership with a 1-0 win over Golden Arrows at Sugar Ray Xulu Stadium in Clermont on Wednesday afternoon.

An entertaining, end-to-end match that could have produced numerous goals was decided by a neat finish on the edge of the box by Gastón Sirino in the 58th minute of the game.

Well, Michael Gumede had a golden opportunity to become a super-sub from the penalty spot but failed to hit the target.

The result sees the reigning champions move five points clear of second-placed SuperSport United after eight matches on 20 points with six wins and two draws.

By FARPost Reporter 

LINE-UPS: Arrows v Sundowns

Golden Arrows and Mamelodi Sundowns have announced their starting line-ups for today’s DStv Premiership clash at Sugar Ray Xulu Stadium.

The game is scheduled to start at 15:30.

Arrows XI

Mbaeva, Zuke, Sibisi, Dlamini, Mutizwa, M.Dube, Cele, Mbhele, Mmodi, Ndwandwe, Magubane.

SUBS: Gumede, Mantshiyane, Sibiya, Ndlovu, L.Dube, Magawana, Khumalo, M.Gumede, Fikizolo.

Sundowns XI

D. Onyango, Mudau, B. Onyango, Lebusa, Modiba, Jali, Sirino, Domingo, Kutumela, Vilakazi, Shalulile.

SUBS: Goss, Safranko, Lakay, Nascimento, Mkhulise, Maluleka, Maema, Kapinga, Morena.

By FARPost Reporter 

Banyana gear up for Mozambique

Banyana Banyana coach Desiree Ellis has shifted her focus from the disappointment of failing to defend the Cosafa Cup and now she wants her team to qualify for AWCON.

Ellis and her squad arrived in Mozambique yesterday ahead of their first leg encounter against the hosts.

“Our light training went well, everybody is upbeat looking forward to the match (today),” she said.

“We have to make sure that we get off to a good start, first leg is always very vital. Having played them in the Cosafa Cup, that game is behind us,” Ellis alluded.

By Wonga Sirayi

Micho cries ‘character assassination’ in defence

Following his conviction on two counts of sexual assault in the Gqeberha regional court on Tuesday, Uganda coach Milutin “Micho” Sredojević has complained that he is the victim of character assassination.

This comes after he was sentenced to a three-year jail term – suspended for five years as a woman who was working in the VIP area at the Wolfson Stadium during a Cosafa tournament on December 7 last year, accused the ex-Orlando Pirates of touching her buttocks and making inappropriate sexual remarks towards her.

Sredojević has hit back stating that spiteful and faceless people are doing their best to see him on the ground.

“Let it be known factually that upon my appearance in court for a case that was brought by means of character assassination to my name, I subjected myself to the SA justice system solely because I am a law-abiding person who fully cooperated with the authorities from the very beginning even while I knew I was simply being the target,” said Micho.

“I knew then that I was innocent of the allegations whose intentions were to cast judgment on my character and I reiterate my innocence even today.

“My belief in the justice system in SA has not been tainted nor has it been shaken. I have lived in Africa and have respected, upheld and mostly embraced it as part of me, and SA is part of the Africa that warmly lives in me as I regard myself as a citizen of this beautiful continent.”

Sredojevic said he intends to appeal the court’s decision and denied the allegations in the process.

“Even as the court issued a suspended sentence on the charges that were put on me, for me it was fitting to put an application for leave to appeal the judgment which I believe was erroneously arrived at.

“I have no doubt in my mind that the application being granted will restore and reawaken my strong view that the criminal justice system of SA is objective and sober.

“My decision to take the matter on appeal is in total agreement with the magistrate as she said ‘another court may arrive at a different conclusion’, which is why my pursuit of justice cannot let the perpetuation of injustice against me go unchallenged.

“There are criminals who daily commit heinous and gruesome crimes to whom state resources ought to be meaningfully used to bring them to book and not make a mockery of it by aiming at innocent people.”

RELATED STORYMicho found guilty of sexual assault

By FARPost Reporter 

Wenger to meet with national coaches over World Cup plan

FIFA has invited the coaches of all 211 men’s national teams to a meeting about their plans for a biennial World Cup and new international match calendar.

Video conferences for the coaches will be held on Tuesday and Thursday and will be led by former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger, FIFA’s head of Global Football Development.

UEFA have vowed to oppose FIFA’s plans and sources told Reuters on Friday that European bodies will refuse to participate in any new tournament and calendar if the plans are pushed through at a planned vote in December.

“As a coach of the men’s national teams, their input is essential,” Wenger, who has been central to the development of FIFA’s plans, said in a statement.

“Opportunities for us to come together are few and far between, but we must embrace these occasions as such dialogue helps us all to protect the unique place that football has in the world and to make it truly global.”

FIFA has argued that a biennial World Cup would lead to increased chances for countries to play in the tournament and that a streamlined qualification process, with fewer international breaks, would reduce travel for players.

UEFA says that a more frequently held World Cup would dilute the competition’s prestige and that holding major tournaments every year would increase the load on players and crowd the schedule.

FIFA is holding a separate consultation about the future of women’s football, headed by former U.S. women’s national team coach Jill Ellis.

RELATED STORY: South African match officials to attend FIFA seminars

By FARPost Reporter

Seema relishes Sundowns duel

Golden Arrows will get back into DStv Premiership action this afternoon as they take on Mamelodi Sundowns at Sugar Ray Xulu Stadium (15:30).

Abafana Bes’thende have already played against Sundowns twice in the MTN8 competition, where the Tshwane side won 4-1 on aggregate.

Arrows coach Lehlohonolo Seema revealed to his club’s website that he is aware of Sundowns’ quality which could be a challenge for his side come Wednesday afternoon.

“We are expecting a tough game against a team that’s on form, can swap players and replace quality for quality making them unpredictable. They are able to field a strong team and bench,” he said.

“We have played them twice already this season in the MTN8 competition, so we know what to expect, they are not a completely closed book to us.

“Sundowns being Sundowns though, you can never be entirely sure of that they will bring on the day,” Seema said.

“We are focusing on ourselves on the day, we need to ensure we play our way and impose our game on them. It’s our home game, we are not going to wait for them to come to us.”

By Wonga Sirayi

FARPost’s KZN Reporter

BREAKING NEWS: Bruce part ways with Newcastle

Newcastle United have confirmed the departure of their head coach, Steve Bruce.

He has left his position by mutual consent.

Meanwhile, Bruce added that: “I am grateful to everyone connected with Newcastle United for the opportunity to manage this unique football club.

“I would like to thank my coaching team, the players and the support staff in particular for all their hard work. There have been highs and lows, but they have given everything even in difficult moments and should be proud of their efforts.

“This is a club with incredible support, and I hope the new owners can take it forward to where we all want it to be. I wish everyone the very best of luck for the rest of this season and beyond.”

The club has also stated that Graeme Jones will lead the team on an interim basis, starting with their Saturday’s trip to Crystal Palace, and will be assisted by Steve Agnew, Stephen Clemence, Ben Dawson and Simon Smith.

“The process of recruiting a new head coach is under way and an appointment will be announced in due course,” said Newcastle in a statement.

“The club would like to place on record its gratitude to Steve for his contribution and wishes him well for the future.”

RELATED STORYBruce vows to stay focused on his job

By FARPost Reporter

STATS: Arrows v Sundowns & other Wednesday matches

Mamelodi Sundowns started their two-week mini-series of games leading up to the MTN8 final with a 2-2 draw away to Maniema in DR Congo.

It was the third consecutive time Downs have scored 2+ goals in the Central African country, but the first time they did that and failed to win the game. Suffice to say, the two away goals will be welcome for the PSL champions, who will be hoping to progress to the next round this coming weekend. That said, the two goals conceded could be a slight cause for concern.

Golden Arrows v Sundowns

1 – Sundowns have kept just one clean sheet in Cup games this season, conceding five goals in four Cup games so far.

This is in stark contrast to their defensive form in the league, where they are on a run of nine consecutive clean sheets since last season. In fact, 14 different teams have faced Sundowns in the league since their defeat to Chiefs in April. Only one of them has managed to score against Sundowns.

Arrows will be the next team trying to break down that wall locally, and recent history (post-lockdown) suggest they may struggle to do that.

1 – Arrows have scored two goals in the five matches they have played against Sundowns since lockdown.

However, two goals have come in the two matches they have played at home in that time, the only team to have hosted Sundowns since lockdown and breached their defence on two separate occasions. There could be hope for some goals. Yet, the main issue will be on the defensive side, where Arrows have been giving away goals for fun.

0 – Arrows are the only side yet to keep a clean sheet in the league this season.

Six matches is the longest Golden Arrows have gone without a clean sheet from the start of a season since 2013/14. The coach at the time was Manqoba Mngqithi, and that sixth game turned out to be his final league game at the club.

Maritzburg United v Orlando Pirates

Pirates have won just two of their last 14 away games in all competitions, against the mighty Baroka and Chippa. The Buccaneers have drawn seven and lost the other five on the road since March this year, but it is more concerning that they have failed to score in nine of those games. They have a chance to improve on that record on Wednesday night:

1 – Maritzburg have won just one of their last 11 home games against Pirates (Drew 3 Lost 7 since December 2012).

RELATED STORYSTATS: Sundowns & AmaZulu in CAF Champions League

By Opta Jabu

Polokwane part ways with coaching duo

GladAfrica Championship side Polokwane City and their co-coaches Innocent Mayoyo and Willy Moloto have amicably agreed to go separate ways with immediate effect.

Mayoyo and Moloto were appointed as head coaches before the beginning of the season.

After eight matches, Rise and Shine are languishing at position eight with three wins.

They are four points behind log leaders University of Pretoria.

FARPost can confirm that former assistant coach Phuti Mohafe has now taken charge of the training sessions since Tuesday.

RELATED STORY: Polokwane City appoint Mayoyo, Moloto as co-coaches

By Ofhani Munyai