Mvala replaces Zungu in Bafana squad

Mothobi Mvala of Highlands Park has been called up to take the place of the injured Bafana Bafana midfielder Bongani Zungu.

The Amiens FC star is the third player to be withdrawn from the squad due to injury after both goalkeeper Brandon Petersen and defender Thamsanqa Mkhize were replaced by Ricardo Goss of Bidvest Wits and Tshepo Rikhotso of Bloemfontein Celtic.

All the 23 players have reported for national team duty including Belgium-based Percy Tau and Kamohelo Mokotjo who plays his club football in England.

Mvala has already joined his compatriots in camp in Port Elizabeth as he arrived on Tuesday night.

The midfield workhorse will be part of the training squad this afternoon where Bafana Bafana will have a session open to the public – taking place at the Wolfson Stadium in KwaZakhele at 15h00.

Bafana Bafana take on Mali in the 2019 Nelson Mandela Challenge scheduled for Sunday.

The clash will take place at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth. Kickoff is at 15h00.

Bafana’s updated squad…

Goalkeepers: Darren Keet (OH-Leuven, Belgium), Ronwen Williams (SuperSport United), Richard Goss (Bidvest Wits).

Defenders: Erick Mathoho (Kaizer Chiefs), Thulani Hlatshwayo, Buhle Mkhwanazi (both Wits), Thapelo Morena, Mosa Lebusa (both Mamelodi Sundowns), Innocent Maela (Orlando Pirates), Tshepo Rikhotso (Bloemfontein Celtic).

Midfielders: Kamo Mokotjo (Brentford, England), Lebohang Phiri (Guingamp, France), Mothobi Mvala (Highlands Park), Dean Furman (SuperSport), Keagan Dolly (Montpellier, France), Thulani Serero (Al Jazira, UAE), Thato Mokeke (CT City)., Themba Zwane (Sundowns), Thembinkosi Lorch (Pirates)

Forwards: Percy Tau (Club Brugge, Belgium), Lebo Mothiba (Strasbourg, France), Bradley Grobler (SuperSport), Kermit Erasmus (CT City).

Who’s the MTN8 best player?

Now that Supersport United have been crowned the MTN8 Champions, the next task at hand is finding the Player of the Tournament or otherwise called the Last Man Standing.

There were quite a number of standout performances and FARPost‘s Amahle Siphungu has selected a few possible contenders.

Thamsanqa Gabuza (Supersport United)

The striker is the top goal scorer in the tournament with three goals and added two assists, he certainly has settled in well at the Pretoria-based side following his move from Orlando Pirates and he’s got the goals to back up a nomination for this accolade.

Bradley Grobler (SuperSport United)

A man that no defender wants to leave unmarked. His winning goal crowned his club the champions and he’s had an outstanding run in the tournament.

Peter Shalulile (Highlands Park)

One player who’s work rate doesn’t reflect his numbers in this competition, although has been undeniably outstanding assisting one goal and constantly ensuring that Highlands Park looKed deadly on the attack. The Namibian is one player who gave the opponents sleepless nights.

Dean Furman (SuperSport United)

The captain that led his team to victory has to commended for his consistency and ability to solidify the middle of the park. He has mastered the art of playing that holding position and in this competition, we saw how crucial he was in the build up to the goals netted.

Thela Ngobeni (Highlands Park)

The man in-between the sticks has showed up when needed to in this tournament, keeping clean sheets against the likes of Orlando Pirates and pulling out some superb saves to deny the likes of Justin Shonga and Jabu Maluleke of Pirates and Polokwane City respectively. He certainly has a bright future ahead of him now that he’s back playing regular football after a disappointing stay at Mamelodi Sundowns.

Yeye’s role at Highlands Park

New Highlands Park midfielder Reneilwe Letsholonyane has a bigger role to play for the Lions of the North.

This is the view of coach Owen Da Gama, who has explained how the former Kaizer Chiefs and SuperSport United would fit in the team.

“With Yeye… I think there are bigger things to come. I think Yeye in a more advanced position – behind the strikers, he’s going to unleash a lot of good passes for the Mbathas, the Shaluliles and Mogailas, and all these other players upfront,” said Da Gama.

Letsholonyane, 37, would be relieved to know that Da Gama would not expect him to defend, but rather focus on his main duty, which is that of a playmaker.

“We will play him in an advanced position and he’s very creative. We don’t want Yeye chasing and defending,” Da Gama stated.

By Tiyani wa ka Mabasa

Pitso heaps praise on Kaitano

Mamelodi Sundowns coach Pitso Mosimane has applauded opposition coach Kaitano Tembo following the latter’s MTN8 triumph with SuperSport United.

Matsatsantsa took the trophy – their second MTN8 title in three seasons, after beating Highlands Park 1-0 at Orlando Stadium on Saturday.

“I would like to congratulate Coach Kaitano Tembo and Supersport United on the MTN8 victory. They deserve the trophy after their victories over Bidvest Wits and Mamelodi Sundowns,” Mosimane tweeted.

SuperSport beat Wits 3-0 in the quarterfinals, before drawing 1-1 and winning 2-0 in the two-legged semi-finals when they met Sundowns.

By Tiyani wa ka Mabasa

Da Gama: We take it on the jaw

Highlands Park coach Owen Da Gama has explained why he didn’t want his players rushing off to the dressing room after losing the MTN8 final to SuperSport United at Orlando Stadium on Saturday.

The Lions of the North suffered a 1-0 defeat to Matsatsantsa, courtesy of a Bradley Grobler goal and after getting their losers’ medals, Da Gama encouraged them to stay on and see the opposition, SuperSport, celebrate their trophy win.

“It was a great opportunity for the boys to play the final and they can go back and learn and grow,” Da Gama reflected at the post-match press conference.

“I didn’t want them to come in after we received our medals.

“I wanted them to stand there and witness what it feels to be a champion,” he reasoned.

“And I wanted them to applaud SuperSport, because at the end of the guys it’s a learning curve and we are all sportsmen – we got to take it on the jaw,” Da Gama stated.

By Tiyani wa ka Mabasa

MTN8 RECAP: Best performing players

Following the conclusion of the MTN8 with SuperSport United taking the trophy home, FARPost provides you with the list of all the players that won Man of the Match awards from the quarterfinals to the final.
Mohamed Anas (CT v Plk)
Peter Shalulile (Bucs v Highlands)
Themba Zwane (Downs v Celtic)
Sipho Mbule (Wits v SSU)
Thela Ngobeni (Plk v Highlands)
Dean Furman (Downs v SSU)
George Chigova (Highlands v Plk)
Bongani Khumalo (SSU v Downs)
Thamsanqa Gabuza (SSU v Highlands)

Tembo reveals Gabuza’s selflessness

The coach of newly crowned MTN8 champions SuperSport United, Kaitano Tembo, has revealed how striker Thamsanqa Gabuza put the team first despite a personal tragedy.

Gabuza was named Man of the Match in Matsatsantsa’s 1-0 win over Highlands Park in the MTN8 decider played at Orlando Stadium on Saturday evening.

Bradley Grobler scored the all-important goal, but Tembo was singing Gabuza’s praises instead.

“I dedicate this win to Gabuza. Today we won and we (were) supposed to be happy but I’m hurt. The guy (Gabuza) lost his son last week, but he didn’t tell anyone because he didn’t want that to affect the spirit in the camp,” Tembo revealed.

“I’m touched by that selflessness. What a guy,” Tembo added.

Gabuza’s son was laid to rest on Thursday.

By Tiyani wa ka Mabasa

Five players to light up MTN8 final

FARPost Writer Amahle Siphungu picks the players who are likely to shine in the MTN8 final at Orlando Stadium tomorrow (18:00).

Peter Shalulile (Highlands Park)

The Namibian striker is undoubtedly one of the in-form players in the League at the moment with six goals from six starts in the Absa Premiership, which makes him the top scorer. He will be looking to trouble the Matsatsantsa defence to get his first goal in the MTN8 competition.

Bradley Grobler (SuperSport United)

The striker follows  after Peter Shalulile on the top goal scorer table with an impressive five goals in six matches. The August Absa Premiership Player of the Month certainly knows how to find himself in the right positions in the final third and take a striking shot at goal.

Sipho Mbule (SuperSport United)

The way the midfielder plays gets the crowd going and certainly has an eye for a good pass and has the ability to find his way in the middle of the park. He currently has one goal and one assist in all competitions, but it’s his general play that has caught the eye.

Mokete Mogaila (Highlands Park)

The Limpopo-born player is one of the fastest players in the PSL and even though he has not been favoured to start most games, but it’s his pace, if given a chance in the final, that could prove vital for the Lions of the North. 

Ronwen Williams(SuperSport United)

The Bafana Bafana shotstopper is definitely what you need in a cup final game, especially if it goes the distance and into a penalty shootout.


Why Pitso is backing Kaitano…

Mamelodi Sundowns coach Pitso Mosimane is backing his former player and head coach of SuperSport United Kaitano Tembo to win Saturday’s MTN8 final.

Matsatsantsa who qualified for their third consecutive MTN8 final will take on Highlands Park at Orlando Stadium (18:00).

Tembo (49) played under Mosimane at SuperSport United between 2001 and 2006. The two were part of the United team that won the SAA Super 8 competition in 2004.

“I am conflicted… I tell you why because Owen Da Gama took this team from the First Division, after taking it from First Division straight to the MTN 8 the next season when everybody is saying the team that gets promoted is contesting for relegation. They are a very hard team, German machine that team you know,”Mosimane stated.

“But I also want Kaitano – because he is my former player, to also win his first trophy. Because I don’t like this thing of coaches being sacked all the time. We don’t want him to lose his job because our South African coaches are being sacked and they are losing jobs from outside coaches.

“I am not saying we must not have coaches from outside, but I am being too patriotic, I look after my people because I was born and bred here, and I was raised in the township.”

The PSL together with MTN have also put a R25 000 reward for each goal scored at the Final on Saturday.

This means that a player will get R25 000 for each goal he scores during the match, but it excludes penalties and own goals.

By Ofhani Munyai

Tembo fine with doubters

Being underestimated in the football circles is something Kaitano Tembo, the SuperSport United coach, is accustomed to.

On Saturday evening at Orlando Stadium, Tembo – only on his second full season in charge at SuperSport United, will coach the club in their second successive final in the MTN8.

Last season’s MTN8 final – his first final as a coach – he lost oh-so-close to Benni McCarthy’s Cape Town City on penalties. Lessons have been learnt since then and the loss at Moses Mabhida is now water under the bridge.

SuperSport United will play Highlands Park in the MTN8 final at 18h00 at Orlando Stadium in Soweto. Tickets are available at TicketPro outlets including Spar and Sasol garages at only R40.

Saturday’s Cup final is yet another opportunity for Tembo to silence some of his doubters. But the former SuperSport United defender knows all about being second-guessed.

He, however, is comforted by the fact that after more than a decade at SuperSport United, few can claim to know the walls inside the club’s offices more than him.

“It doesn’t bother me,” he says when referring to criticism and scepticism.

“I have paid my school fees. I started at this club as a player, I became a captain. I then coached the junior teams and the MDC (MultiChoice Diski Challenge) team. I was an assistant coach for many years and I worked under different coaches. I have been a caretaker coach in this club before and now I’m the coach. So, I know this club. I know what it is about,” Tembo said.

His CV – both playing and managerial path – is impressive. It talks about a person who has been groomed for a role he is now occupying. That he has graduated from all these stages is testament of his staying power.

On paper, his SuperSport United team will be favourites against Highlands Park on Saturday evening. SuperSport United have strong and successful Cup history as the wind behind their back against a Highlands Park team that has not played in any Cup final in over three decades.

Why then is it that their coach, Tembo, is underappreciated for the work he has put not only in saving the club from possible relegation to season’s ago but taking them to two back to back finals?

He offers a possible answer: “I wouldn’t know why people are sometimes doubting. Maybe I don’t speak a fancy language and maybe I’m too simple.”

His secret to staying power might be on that last statement – simplicity.

By Official PSL website