Middendorp’s plan during FIFA break

Ernst Middendorp will have to dig deep to find solutions for his Kaizer Chiefs team during the FIFA international break that runs from November 12 – 19.

Amakhosi, who are flying at the moment, meet Maritzburg United in the semi-finals of the Telkom Knockout on Sunday, November 24, at Mbombela Stadium.

With Chiefs having won their last 8 matches across all competitions including some on penalties, a lot would be expected from them when they host the Team of Choice.

Maritzburg, however, will be no pushovers having gone seven matches without a defeat (5 wins including two on penalties, as well as two draws).

The first issue on hand for Middendorp is working on who’s going to come in for Eric Mathoho, Willard Katsande and Daniel Akpeyi, who are all suspended for the next match.

Mathoho, far left, is not available for Chiefs’ next match.

Mathoho picked up a red card in their 3-2 Absa Premiership win over Orlando Pirates, while Katsande and Akpeyi picked up their fourth yellow cards this season, meaning they have to serve a one-match suspension.

“We must prepare ourselves to be successful in this game,” noted Middendorp.

The second matter to deal with is, with their international stars away, ensuring that other players who are returning from injury like Kearyn Baccus are in tip-top condition when Chiefs face Maritzburg.

“It’s related to this next game, simple and easy, looking into bringing some players back like Kearyn Baccus,” Middendorp stated.

He’s also looking at players who haven’t been getting game time like Ramahlwe Mphahlele.

Middendorp says the technical team will pay individual attention to players like Ramahlwe Mphahlele during the FIFA international break.

“Rama is so far at the moment in terms of preparedness… it’s our duty to pay attention individually to players like Rama, Baccus and other players to bring them to the same level (as the regulars),” he added.

The Chiefs players away on national duty include Lazarous Kambole (Zambia), Akpeyi (Nigeria), Khama Billiat (Zimbabwe), Lebogang Manyama and Mathoho (both SA).

By Tiyani wa ka Mabasa

Sekgobela wishes to meet Meyiwa

Former Polokwane City player Kopano Sekgobela says he wishes to meet Wiseman Meyiwa so that he can encourage him to keep his head up.

Just like Meyiwa, who was a Kaizer Chiefs midfielder, Sekgobela’s career was cut short by a car accident in the same month (November).

The 29-year-old was left paralysed 7 years ago – on November 11, 2012 when a Polokwane team bus collided with another vehicle while they were on their way from a league fixture at the University of Limpopo.

Meyiwa was involved in a horrific accident on the N3 highway near Villiers in the Free State, on November 3, 2018. He was on his way to Pietermaritzburg to visit his family and at the time he was just 18. Meyiwa was also left paraplegic due to a spinal injury

The Kaizer Chiefs family had a farewell for Meyiwa in January this year.

“It is painful for me that I have never met him, but I wish one day I will meet him and talk to him so that I can encourage him because it’s not easy coming from being a professional to come sit in a wheelchair,” Sekgobela told FARPost.co.za during our visit to his home at Ga-Phasha village, Limpopo.

“There are a lot of things that are not well, but I just wish him well and he must just stay strong and take one day at a time,” said Sekgobela.

“He must also be careful about the cash and the way he is going to use that money. He must also know that at home it is going to be painful for his family and he must understand that with time a lot of people who are close to him will go back slowly so he must just be careful about that one and I know that there are a lot of things that don’t go well when you get injured on the spine and it’s very painful.

“But there is nothing you can do and you just have to be strong, accept and go to church if you go to church.”

Meyiwa joined the Kaizer Chiefs youth academy in 2014, aged 14.

He was promoted to the senior team in 2017 and played 21 games before being forced to retire due to the accident.

By Ofhani Munyai

POLOKWANE 4: Seven years on…

Today marks exactly 7 years since four Polokwane City players were killed in a road accident while travelling from a League match at the University of Limpopo.

Khomotso Mpakatesane, Moeketsi Nthete, Mojalefa Mphuthi and Koketso Takalo were all travelling on a bus that was hit by an allegedly drunk driver in Nobody, Mankweng.

The bus in which they were travelling in had 22 passengers consisting of 19 players and 3 coaching staff members.

One of the players, Kopano Sekgobela, who was left paralysed due to the accident says he has accepted and made peace with the fact that his career was cut short, but hopes he can walk again.

Kopano Sekgobela is owner and coach of Dinoko FC, an amateur club.

“After what happened now it’s 7 years later and I am recovering well my brother,” Sekgobela told FARPost.co.za on Monday.

“It was a little bit difficult because of a lot of things at the beginning but I am recovering well that’s why I am not stressed about anything because I have accepted that I am injured and God will help me to one day walk again and I believe that I will walk again so I really don’t have a problem.”

Sekgobela says although he was hurt and bitter at the club in the beginning, he has now healed and wish them well.

“To be honest I like the team, I like the players and I don’t have a problem with anyone at Polokwane City, we can’t change what happened. It was painful in the beginning even now I can tell you that there has never been any contact from the club, but life goes on,” he added.

The 29-year-old is now owner and coach of Dinoko FC who play in the Burgersfort Local Football Association (LFA) League.

Sekgobela during happier times at Polokwane City.

By Ofhani Munyai

Zakri enjoying football in Iraq

Former Maritzburg United striker Yannik Zakri is now with Iraq side Naft Al-Wasat SC where he seems to be enjoying his football.

The forward has started 2 games and has 1 goal and an assist so far in the Iraq Premier League.

“Here, i’ts more speed. I like the league and they have good players,” Zakri told FARPost.co.za.

Zarki, 28, opened up about his time at Maritzburg for whom he scored 3 goals in 24 appearances last season, before being deemed surplus to requirements.

“At Maritzburg, it was a good time, with the players and coaches. Soccer sometimes you have your bad moments and I think at Maritzburg was a bad time for me about my football.”

Zakri currently plays for Naft Al-Wasat SC.

Zakri said things were better at Ajax Cape Town where he played regularly after being sent on loan by Mamelodi Sundowns in the 2017/18 Absa Premiership campaign.

“My time at Ajax was very good. I enjoyed every moment there and my football was good even the coach (Mushin Etrugral), president and the fans were happy. I was really happy,” reminisced the Ivorian.

He mentioned that he’s probably not going to play in SA again.

“About coming back to SA, I’m not sure if it’s gonna be a good idea. I am fine and happy here so I don’t think leaving this place is good,” said Zakri.

“The most important thing in football is to be happy and enjoy your football and here, it’s exactly what I wanted, but Sundowns is home,” he added.

By Amahle Siphungu

Molekwa always ready to step in

Polokwane City caretaker coach Bernard Molekwa insists he is always willing and available to take the hot seat as and when the team needs him.

Molekwa has taken over at Rise and Shine until the end of the season following the departure of Serbian mentor, Zlatko Krmpotic.

Krmpotic was fired last week after a 5-game winless streak conceding 12 goals which includes an embarrassing 5-3 defeat by Cape Town City.

Molekwa who has been with the team since their promotion to the Absa Premiership in 2013 says he is always keen on serving on whatever capacity the team ask him to serve.

Polokwane City’s Bernard Molekwa.

“At the moment the club asked me to be in charge of the first team until further notice. I do not have a problem with that as long as the club asked me to perfume a certain job then I am available to do that,” said the man nicknamed Taxi.

Molekwa has also played down the sudden slump which saw them drop from 1st position in their first 6 games to 10th after 11 games.

“It is a concern to us especially the 5 goals that we conceded against City because it was the first time conceding such a number of goals and that made a big difference.

“But we will work hard in terms of improving as a team defensively and attacking wise. It means since we are not winning then we are not scoring more goals than the opponents, so we need to improve both defensively and attacking,” said Molekwa.

Rise and Shine face a tough battle next as they take on Orlando Pirates after the FIFA break.

City have collected 13 points from their 11 matches compared to the 18 points they collected after the same number of games last season.

By Ofhani Munyai

Mokwena explains Bucs’ struggles

Orlando Pirates have to really step up their game to challenge for League honours this season and coach Rulani Mokwena believes they would turn the corner.

Bucs are now a whopping 15 points behind the log leaders Kaizer Chiefs after 11 matches.

Mokwena’s charges went down 3-2 to Chiefs at FNB Stadium at the weekend and afterwards, he offered an explanation on why Pirates have won just three of their 11 Absa Premiership this season.

“We’ve worked very hard on trying to build our style of play – our game model and it started, like you’ve rightly mentioned, with the previous head coach (Micho Sredojevic),” alluded Mokwena.

Bucs players will have to pick each other up to perform well once again.

“The difficulty has just been about introducing the new players and trying to adapt to the style of play, the environment and to rebuild in a way – it’s a new team.

“So, we understand the process and we understand what happened with our team. We know why we are where we are and we know the transition that took place,” Mokwena argued.

“You know when you unfortunately have to let go of 15 players and you bring in 10 players, of course there’s an adaptation (process) that needs to take place,” he said.

“Of course big clubs are judged by results and we know that. We are not going to step down from that, because the moment we step down from that, we lose our status as a big club,” stated Mokwena.

Mokwena reckons that the club’s supporters understand the team’s situation.

The ex Mamelodi Sundowns assistant coach reckons that the technical team has the backing of the club’s management.

“But we are realistic and fortunately, our management understands football, and understands where we are and understands why we are where we are.

“And our supporters are football understanding people.

“But be that as it may, we’ve got to start turning these good performances into results,” Mokwena continued.

He’s buoyed by his belief that the Pirates players are doing everything they can to protect the integrity of the club.

“There’s a certain way that Orlando Pirates must lose football matches, but not by lying down and allowing opponents to bully them, and all of that.

“We don’t want to beat ourselves and when we lose, we lose to a better opponent… we don’t accept to be bullied over,” he said.

By Tiyani wa ka Mabasa

Manyama receives late Bafana call up

FARPost.co.za can reveal that Kaizer Chiefs star Lebogang Manyama has been included in the Bafana Bafana squad to play Ghana and Sudan this month.

Manyama has been one of Amakhosi’s standout performers this campaign and has rediscovered the form that saw him named the 2016/17 PSL Footballer of the Season, during his time with Cape Town City.

Manyama is enjoying his football again.

The 29-year-old has three goals and two assists from 12 appearances this season. He has three Man of the Match awards across all competitions, with two in the League and one in the Telkom Knockout.

Manyama is not new to the national team setup, with 15 caps to his name.

Bafana take on the Black Stars away on Thursday in their first match of the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers.

Molefi Ntseki’s boys will then host Sudan three days later, on November 17.

Bafana will leave for Ghana on Monday evening.

By Tiyani wa ka Mabasa

Leopards maul the Citizens

A first half goal by Robert Ng’ambi and a late strike by Lesedi Kapinga gave Black Leopards a much needed 2-1 victory against Cape Town City at Thohoyandou Stadium on Sunday afternoon.

‘Lidoda Duvha’ came into the match lying second from bottom on the Absa Premiership with just 2 wins. But the win takes them to 12 points from 10 matches.

Lidoda Duvha fans came out in their numbers, as always.

The Citizens on the other hand drop to 13th position with 11 points.

City scored their goal through Bradley Ralani in the 50th minute.

In the other Absa Premiership encounter this afternoon Golden Arrows beat defending champions Mamelodi Sundowns by 3-2.

By Ofhani Munyai

Kegan delighted with U23 debut

SA U23 debutant Kegan Johannes says he feels honoured to have been entrusted with the responsibility representing his nation in a major tournament such as the 2019 U-23 AFCON tournament currently ongoing in Cairo, Egypt.

The Cape Town-born right back, 18, played his first 90 minutes for SA in their opening U23 AFCON Group B match against Zambia, where they played to a 0-0 draw at Al Salam Stadium on Saturday.

Johannes, who was exceptional in his role playing alongside the highly experienced and fellow Ajax Cape Town teammate Thendo Mukumela, captain and Olympian Tercious Malepe and former Under-17 and Under-20 international Katlego Mohamme, said this was one experience he would not trade anything for in this world.

The player also applauded his teammates for working together in a match he believes they deserved to win, adding that SA was just unlucky not to have walked away with a maximum points in that tie.

“Firstly, I would like to thank Ajax Cape Town for releasing to come and honour my national call-up and also to coach David Notoane and his technical staff for believing and giving me the chance to serve my nation at this level,” Johannes said. “I must be honest in stating that this has not sunk in as yet. I just cannot believe that I played my first match representing my nation at this level.

“We came into this tie looking for a win and it is quite unfortunate that things did not go our way despite of the numerous chance we created pressing forward,” Johannes added. “We will continue working really and prepare accordingly for our next tie.”

In their next match, SA will take on Ivory Coast on 12 November at the Al Salam Stadium.

That match will kick-off at 17h00.

Safa.net

Downs missing 9 players

Mamelodi Sundowns will be missing at least nine players when they take on Golden Arrows this afternoon.

Abafana Bes’thende are hosting the Brazilians at Sugar Ray Xulu Stadium (15:30).

Downs have confirmed that Emiliano Tade, Anthony Laffor and Lucky Mohomi (all knee rehabilitation), Themba Zwane (hamstring), Gaston Sirino (quadriceps strain), Tokelo Rantie (flu) and Phakamani Mahlambi (ankle rehabilitation) are sidelined through injuries.

Oupa Manyisa will be out until sometime next year an achilles tendon recently.

By Tiyani wa ka Mabasa