Middendorp’s trips to Pretoria pay off

Ernst Middendorp’s two trips to Pretoria to watch Mamelodi Sundowns over the past week were not in vain.

Instead, the analysis by the Kaizer Chiefs mentor paid dividends at Loftus Stadium, where Chiefs beat Downs 2-0 over the weekend in their Absa Premiership clash.

Middendorp was at Lucas Moripe where Downs beat AmaZulu 5-0 in the Telkom Knockout

Middendorp witnessed Sundowns beat AmaZulu 5-0 in the Telkom Knockout at Lucas Moripe Stadium in Atteridgeville and followed it up with another trip to the same venue, where Downs needed a last minute winner from Mauricio Affonso to overcome Highlands Park 1-0 in midweek.

From the stands at Loftus, it was clear that Middendorp had done his homework and the man was pleased with the outcome.

“We are very happy knowing definitely that that’s just only a little increment step – it’s nothing big, but just three points, which keeps us on top of the league at the moment. Good, we know that a lot of work has to be done,” Middendorp said after the match against Sundowns.

“For us, it’s three points and it has nothing about (a sweet victory), and happiness is the biggest enemy of your development, of your progress,” he insisted.

“If you start to be happy and running around with sweetness in your eyes, sorry then you are done.” 

Samir Nurkovic’s brace secured maximum points against Downs.

Middendorp added that it was critical that he studied Sundowns well, considering that the Brazilians are guided by the 2016 CAF Coach of the Year, Pitso Mosimane.

“It’s not a secret that we were playing against a very qualified team… we have the most decorated coach in Africa with Pitso Mosimane sitting here at Sundowns’ side,” Middendorp said.

“I think we should not forget this and we have to be very, very clear in terms of direction and certain ideas. Yes, you have to be well prepared (against Sundowns) for the rest of the game,” he added.

Chiefs will now begin with preparations for their Telkom Knockout quarterfinal clash against archrivals Orlando Pirates at Moses Mabhida Stadium on Saturday.

By Tiyani wa ka Mabasa

‘Chiefs benefitted again from the referees’

In typical Pitso Mosimane fashion of shooting from the hip, the Mamelodi Sundowns coach has insisted that Kaizer Chiefs have benefitted again from the referees.

Mosimane was speaking to the media after Downs were defeated 2-0 by Chiefs at Loftus Stadium on Sunday afternoon.

The former Bafana Bafana coach said Samir Nurkovic’s first goal for Chiefs in the early stages of the first half was offside.

Mosimane has been vocal of late in stating that Chiefs are benefitting from the referees.

Nurkovic’s first goal came after a cross by Reeve Frosler.

Nurkovic was onside when Frosler played through the ball, but the debate has centered around whether Leonardo Castro touched the ball on its way to Nurkovic.

TV replays aren’t conclusive, but if Castro touched the ball at all, Nurkovic could have been adjudged to have been offside.

If Castro didn’t touch the ball, then Nurkovic was onside, because he was not offside when Frosler played the initial pass.

Mosimane, however, admitted that Nurkovic’s second goal was legitimate.

Meanwhile, Chiefs coach Ernst Middendorp also had his say…

By Tiyani wa ka Mabasa

Amakhosi triumph in Pretoria

Kaizer Chiefs have taken a five-point lead at the top of the Absa Premiership standings following their 2-0 victory over Mamelodi Sundowns at Loftus Stadium.

Serbian striker Samir Nurkovic, who was tipped by FARPost‘s Amahle Siphungu to shine in her match preview, bagged a brace.

Nurkovic, who was named Man of the Match, put the visitors in front after just six minutes on the clock.

But there has been a big debate about the goal – was it offside or not?

Nurkovic was initially onside when the ball was played in by Reeve Frosler. However, if Leonardo Castro got a touch on its way, then Nurkovic should have been judged offside.

But there were certainly no question marks over Nurkovic’s second goal in the 78th minute, which ended the match as a contest.

Nurkovic got his sec0nd after some brilliant play from substitute Dumsani Zuma, who replaced Leonardo Castro in the second stanza.

For the home side, it was simply not their day.

Downs midfielder Andile Jali blazed over his shot from close range on the stroke of halftime.

It all but summed up the day for Pitso Mosimane, who would be the first to give credit to Chiefs for their good play.

Nurkovic celebrating his second goal. He was also named Man of the Match.

With the victory, Chiefs would be delighted to open a five-point gap.

It’s still early days, however, but Ernst Middendorp’s charges would be encouraged after defeating the reigning Absa Premiership champions.

By Tiyani wa ka Mabasa

at Loftus Stadium

Downs v Amakhosi starting XI

The stage is set and Mamelodi Sundowns and Kaizer Chiefs are ready for battle at Loftus Stadium.

Kick off for the sold out match is at 15:30.

Both sets of fans are waiting in anticipation for the top of the table clash.

Downs are missing a couple of players including goalkeeper Denis Onyango, whose father has passed on and Themba Zwane, who failed a late fitness test.

Downs XI: Mweene, Ngcongca, Langerman, Madisha, Lebusa, Jali, Kekana, Meza, Sirino, Vilakazi, Morena.

SUBS: Pieterse, Mabunda, Coetzee, Lakay, Maboe, Mahlambi, Affonso.

Chiefs XI: Akpeyi, Frosler, Sasman, Cardoso, Mathoho, Blom, Katsande, Manyama, Nurkovic, Billiat, Castro.

SUBS: Bvuma, Maluleka, Kambole, Zulu, Zuma, Ngezana, Mashiane.

By Tiyani wa ka Mabasa

at Loftus Stadium

Downs v Chiefs players to watch

A lot would be expected from Mamelodi Sundowns and Kaizer Chiefs when the two sides meet at Loftus Stadium this afternoon (3pm).

It’s after all a top of the table clash and the tickets are sold out at the approximately 50 000-seater venue in Pretoria.

FARPost‘s Amahle Siphungu picks out some players who could have an influence in the encounter.

FOR THE HOME SIDE, SUNDOWNS…

Gaston Sirino

Chiefs will have to keep a close eye on the Uruguayan.

The Uruguayan winger is one of the most consistent players in the Sundowns XI and we all know why; he is one player who always exploits the space with no hesitation. Sirino currently boasts 5 goals and 1 assist across all competitions.

Mauricio Affonso

The ‘super sub’ has shown that he certainly could be a game changer. The striker has scored 3 goals in 3 games whilst making his way from the bench. He might not get a start but should he steps in at some stage of the match, he’d fancy a goal.

Kennedy Mweene

Stepping in for Denis Onyango, who has returned to Uganda to bury his father, Mweene is expected to stop familiar duo, Leonardo Castro and Khama Billiat. His presence at the back would be crucial and perhaps the good thing for Sundowns is that the Zambian appears to be ready. “I’m ready (to step up). It’s about the work we put here in training because most of what we do here is not what we always get in a game – maybe you dive two or three times, but we’re always preparing (for more) here,” said Mweene during the week.

FOR THE AWAY SIDE, CHIEFS…

Khama Billiat

Playing against his former team, Billiat needs no motivation. Billiat’s former coach Pitso Mosimane said it himself said it himself that in Billiat, they created a monster for Chiefs. This is one man who would be key for Amakhosi. His ability to run at defenders and still sneak in a shot is just one of his many talents. Billiat currently has a goal and two assists in 7 matches.

Samir Nurkovic

Since joining Amakhosi in the June transfer window the Serbian has hit the ground running contributing to plenty of what the Glamour Boys do going forward. He’s jumped straight into the line-up making 7 matches in all competitions, bagging two goals and an assist.

Daniel Akpeyi

Daniel Akpeyi will have to stay alert facing up to Downs’ fearsome attack.

Akpeyi has now become instrumental in Amakhosi’s victories, managing to pull some showstopper saves in recent matches. With a pacey Mamelodi Sundowns attack the man in between the sticks need to be sharp at all times. The Nigerian national team player has 3 clean sheets in 7 matches so far. He’s improved steadily and Sundowns then becomes a real test for him.

Amahle Siphungu

Downs ready for Billiat & Castro

Mamelodi Sundowns versatile player Thapelo Morena insists they have it figured out on how to deal with former teammates Khama Billiat and Leonardo Castro.

The pair mesmerised the Downs defence during the Shell Helix Ultra Cup a fortnight ago with Billiat scoring and assisting in all three Castro’s goals as Chiefs won 4-2.

The two teams will meet again in a sold-out Absa Premiership clash at the Loftus Versfeld Stadium on Sunday at 3pm.

 

Morena while chatting to FARPost.co.za.

“Firstly, our defence is going to win us the game, it’s something that we know Khama (Billiat) likes to play on defenders’ shoulders and he is quick and good on the ball,” said Morena.

“Those are some of the things we are going to have to look at. Castro is one of the good finishers in the box and we know we can’t leave him free,” Morena continued.

“For us I think we just haver to go on the field of play and do what we always do in the training pitch, apply our game plan the way we want.

“Like I said knowing the weakness and the strong points that’s what we going to work on them.”

By Ofhani Munyai

Downs v Amakhosi tickets sold out!!!

Tickets for this weekend’s much anticipated clash between Mamelodi Sundowns and Kaizer Chiefs are sold out!

Second-placed Sundowns will host the log leaders Chiefs at Loftus Stadium on Sunday at 3.30pm.

It is expected to be a tense affair both on and off the field given the hype around the match during the week.

FARpost.co.za made an enquiry to TicketPro who confirmed that indeed all tickets have been sold out.

Loftus takes in approximately 51 000 people.

By Ofhani Munyai

Mabunda: Let’s pray for Percy Tau

Tiyani Mabunda of Mamelodi Sundowns would like for South Africans to keep Bafana Bafana star Percy Tau in their prayers.

No, there is absolutely nothing wrong with Tau, who currently plays for Club Brugge in Belgium.

But Mabunda, like all South Africans, is delighted to see Tau featuring on the big stage, the UEFA Champions League, and would like for his former Downs teammate to continue flying the SA flag high in Europe.

“We really need to support him as a nation. It doesn’t really matter if you are for which team, but he’s no longer playing for Mamelodi Sundowns,” Mabunda told the media earlier today at Chloorkop, which is Sundowns’ base in Midrand, Johannesburg.

Percy Tau has been doing a great job for Club Brugge.

“My call is for all South Africans to keep him (Percy Tau) in your prayers for protection from injuries so that he can continue to do us proud, and to make sure that every South African can have a smile whenever you see him on the field of play.”

Tau has progressed over the last few years from SA’s National First Division (now called GladAfrica Championship) to Europe’s premium club competition.

He’s now on loan at Club Brugge from English Premiership club Brighton and Mabunda is impressed with Tau’s progress.

“It doesn’t matter what the stage is – it’s about portraying the lion in him,” continued Mabunda, who shares a close relationship with Tau.

“It shows that he’s the Tau that we know and he’s showing it at the highest stage.

“He’s done it here at Mamelodi Sundowns and I can see he’s doing the same for Club Brugge.

Mabunda has appealed to the nation to keep Tau in their prayers.

“It’s unfortunate that during the week Club Brugge lost by a large amount (of goals), but you could see that he’s fearless,” said Mabunda, referring to Brugge’s 5-0 defeat to Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) on Tuesday.

“He doesn’t really care who’s playing against him. All he knows and wants to do is to make sure that they know that there’s a Percy Tau that has arrived on the scene.

“I’m looking forward to see him competing against the best in the world and to be able to get honours all over the world, like he’s done already winning the Footballer of the Year (award) in Belgium (last year when he was at Saint Gilloise).

Tau was named the Proximus League Player of the Year in Belgium’s second tier last season.

“It shows a lot about our league that you can be Footballer of the Season and go abroad and do the same that side.

“It shows that we are capable of competing against the best,” added Mabunda, who’s a staunch supporter of Prophet Shepherd Bushiri’s church Enlightened Christian Gathering.

Club Brugge’s next UEFA Champions League match is away to PSG on Wednesday, November 6.

By Tiyani wa ka Mabasa

TKO tickets on sale tomorrow

Tickets for the Telkom Knockout quarterfinal fixtures will go on sale tomorrow at 12h00.
Tickets will be sold at TicketPro outlets, Spar and selected Sasol garages countrywide (see
Tickets will be R40 for the three fixtures and R80 for the Kaizer Chiefs vs Orlando Pirates
fixtures. They will be sold on first come first served basis.
The PSL has capped ticket purchase to a maximum four (4) tickets per person to avoid
illegal ticket resale.
The League has also warned against the buying of fake tickets – as there will be scanners
at stadiums.

Cele aims for Primeira Liga

FARPost.co.za caught up with Cova Di Piedade midfielder Thabo Cele who spoke to us about his journey in Portugal.
In 2016 Cele moved from the KwaZulu Natal academy to Portuguese club Real SC who were playing in the Portuguese third tier.
There, he played a big role in helping the club gain promotion to the second division for the 2017/18 season.
The midfielder then joined Portuguese Primeira Liga club Benfica for the next campaign where he featured for their B team before returning to Real SC on loan.
Driven by the desire to play first team football Cele joined Portuguese second tier club Cova Di Piedade at the beginning of the 2018/19 season and had a good first season with the club scoring two goals and playing regularly.
Many do not know the club and when asked about it the midfielder replied, “Cova is a small good club with a lot of potential to grow,” he said.
The club is based in Lisbon Almada. My main objective this season is to just have a good season with the team and take it one game at a time you know, but I also just want take a step up to the Primeira Liga.”
Asked about the chances of the club gaining promotion this season he replied, “The team has a lot of quality and I believe we are capable of achieving great things this season including gaining promotion to the Premeira Liga for the upcoming season.”
By Prince Sobayeni