Ronaldo’s mother makes claims about her son’s future

Cristiano Ronaldo’s mother, Dolores Aveiro, has told Sporting CP supporters that she will try to convince her son to return to his boyhood club this summer.

While Ronaldo leads the way in the Serie A goalscoring charts this term, scoring his 100th Juventus goal in his side’s 3-1 win at Sassuolo on Wednesday, his club have endured a difficult season and could finish outside the top four which would mean they miss out on a place in the Champions League.

In contrast, the club where Ronaldo started his senior career, Sporting, clinched the Portuguese title for the first time since 2002 after beating Boavista on Tuesday, ending rivals FC Porto and Benfica’s 19-year stranglehold on the championship.

Dolores Aveiro, an avid Sporting fan, made it clear during the title celebrations that she would try to bring the Juventus forward back to the club.

“I’ll talk to him [Cristiano] to bring him back,” Aveiro said from her balcony as she spoke to Sporting fans that had taken to the streets to celebrate.

“Next year he will play in Alvalade [Sporting’s stadium].”

Ronaldo has one year remaining on his contract at Juventus, but he has been linked with a departure this summer, with Sporting, the club he left for Manchester United as a teenager, mentioned as a possible destination.

By Reuters

TTM Chairman clarifies medals issue

Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivhandila chairman Abram Sello insists there is no confusion over the allocation of Nedbank Cup medals for their players.

This comes as FARPost revealed earlier this week that the players have opted to return their Championship medals to the club in solidarity with other players that were excluded from the allocation.

The 20 players who were part of the match day squad against Chippa last Saturday have told the club that they will only take their winners medals if the team also provide for the rest of their teammates.

Speaking to the media on the sidelines of their trophy parade in Polokwane on Thursday, Sello says there was a misunderstanding of how the allocation of medals works.

“We have the medals with us, if you look at the news today, the PSL put a statement so let me not comment after my superiors,” said Sello.

“They have said it that it was a misinterpretation which has happened. I don’t want to extend what my organization has actually said. So it’s very clear the medals are with us,” he said.

The TTM players and staff were not wearing the medals during the homecoming ceremony on Thursday and Sello confirmed that the medals are in the hands of the Management.

“The medals are in the hands of the management, PSL explained in the statement clearly as to how they allocate them. That was for the presentation during the celebration. It is very clear, we have satisfied everybody and our family, that’s the TTM family,” explained Sello.

RELATED STORY: Another TTM protest, players return Nedbank cup medals

By Ofhani Munyai

Amakhosi players giving their all, says Hunt

Coach Gavin Hunt is not particularly pleased with how Kaizer Chiefs have been performing in his first season in charge at the club but says his troops have been giving him their all and he can’t fault them for the unfortunate results.

Well, it would also seem that the football gods are conspiring against Hunt’s men as they are in the midst of their worst ever season in the Premier Soccer League’s (PSL) history in 10th place with three DStv Premiership matches remaining.

‘The Glamour Boys’ have only managed to win six of their 27 league encounters this season with their most recent result being a 1-1 stalemate against Swallows in the Soweto Derby at FNB Stadium – keeping their slender Top 8 hopes alive.

“Personally, in terms of results-wise, this year has been my worst year ever in 27 years but there’s a lot of things that we need to do,” said a defeated Hunt.

“The players are giving me a lot every day, working very hard but sometimes they can only give you so much down to how good you are. So, they’re working hard and that’s all I can ask of them.”

The Soweto giants have never concluded a season lower than ninth in the final log standings. They finished ninth on three occasions: 2001/02, 2006/07 and 2018/19. In the current season, Chiefs are two points outside of the top eight and are on a four-match winless run.

“In times of adversity, we stand up and be counted. We believe in the players we have available and we’re going to have to trust them and set up a plan and have a go. That’s all we can do,” added Hunt.

The Chiefs mentor also bemoaned his side’s long injury list. “Every game this season from the start I’ve had to make a change before half-time. It’s part and parcel. But I’ve never seen anything like this. After 20 minutes we have made two changes. So, it is a problem,” he said.

‘Amakhosi’ will next be in action on Saturday for the Caf Champions League quarter-final clash against Tanzanian giants Simba SC.

RELATED STORYChiefs held by Swallows in Soweto Derby

By Tokelo Martin Mokhesi 

Champions League final moved to Estadio do Dragao Stadium

The Champions League final between Chelsea and Manchester City will take place at the Estadio do Dragao Stadium in Portugal on 29 May.

The game has been moved from Istanbul’s Ataturk Olympic Stadium in Turkey to the Portuguese city of Porto because of COVID-19 restrictions.

About 6,000 fans from both sides will be able to attend the much-awaited final.

“To deprive supporters of the chance to see the match in person was not an option and I am delighted that this compromise has been found,” said Uefa president Aleksander Ceferin.

“Fans have had to suffer more than 12 months without the ability to see their teams live and reaching a Champions League final is the pinnacle of club football,” added Ceferin.

“After the year that fans have endured, it is not right that they don’t have the chance to watch their teams in the biggest game of the season.”

Portugal is on England’s green list which means players and fans can attend without having to quarantine on their return home, while Turkey is on the red list.

“The difficulties of moving the final are great and the FA and the authorities made every effort to try to stage the match in England, and I would like to thank them for their work in trying to make it happen,” he added.

“The Turkish Football Federation and the authorities have always been reliable partners of Uefa and I hope to be in Istanbul and Turkey for a Champions League final and many other events in the near future.

“I hope the final will be a symbol of hope at the re-emergence of Europe from a difficult period and that the fans who travel to the game will once again be able to lend their voices to showcase this final as the best in the club football.”

According to reports, Uefa, UK government officials and the Football Association met to talk about Wembley hosting the game but no agreement could be reached on quarantine exemptions for sponsors, VIPs and broadcasters.

RELATED STORY: Mahrez nominated for Champions League award

By FARPost Reporter

TTM wrap up trophy parade in Polokwane

The Limpopo Provincial Government together with Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivhandila have wrapped up their Nedbank Cup trophy parade in Polokwane, Limpopo on Thursday.

The Government through the Department of Sport, Arts and Culture held a ceremony in Meropa Casino to honour TTM who made history by becoming the first club from the province to win that trophy.

The event was attended by amongst others the MEC for Sport Ms Thandi Moraka, TTM Chairman Abram Sello and various stakeholders.

The club took the trophy around the Polokwane CBD area before concluding the tour at Park Inn hotel.

The relegation threatened side will now turn their focus to league action where they still need to save their Premiership status.

They face Maritzburg United at Peter Mokaba on Saturday before playing neighbours Baroka next week Tuesday.

RELATED STORY: HOMECOMING: Limpopo to honour Nedbank Champs

By Ofhani Munyai

Dludlu helped Karabo Dhlamini seal US move

Bantwana head coach Simphiwe Dludlu paved the way for Banyana Banyana star Karabo Dhlamini’s move to the United States of America (USA) back in December 2020.

Dhlamini, with an educated left foot, is currently studying and playing football at the University of Northwest Ohio, in Lima, Ohio – all thanks to Dludlu.

“Coach Simphiwe was the driving force behind my move. She told me it was her wish to travel abroad to study and play football, but it never materialised because there was no one helping her. So, she made it her mission to assist any player that was keen,” said Dhlamini.

“I was fortunate to have her on my side, so I can never thank her enough for this. She has done the “easy part” of getting me here, now I have to run the rest of race by myself by being focused and determined. These are rare opportunities, and we should not waste them.”

The 19-year-old midfielder, who moved to US from Mamelodi Sundowns Ladies went on to state that studying and playing is what she has always wanted to do.

She is studying towards a Bachelor of Business Administration degree. “Actually, I was supposed to be at the Michigan University, but they are only starting in August, so I am in Ohio for now, basically as orientation. I will be transferring to Michigan later this year,” she said.

“And I am studying Bachelor of Business Administration for now, but my intention is to study law – so I am talking to them (Michigan University) to see what my options are.

“I love football and education is very important – and to do both things is very exciting indeed. The challenge with sport, especially women’s football, is that for we don’t know what the future holds so it is crucial that when you get an opportunity to do what I am doing you grab it with both hands. You need something to fall back on when your playing days are over or an injury ends your career prematurely,” added Dhlamini.

Dhlamini is excited with her performance. She has featured in the 11 of the 12 games the team has played.

“I missed the first game due to quarantine. But I am glad I am back on the field doing what I love most.

“I am enjoying myself and have become what one would call an ‘all-rounder’ – I have been deployed in defence, in the middle, on the left side, and even upfront,” chuckled Dhlamini.

RELATED STORY: Banyana coach reacts to Awcon draw

By FARPost Reporter 

Ramadan helps Sundowns “focus” ahead Al Ahly showdown

Mamelodi Sundowns arrived in Egypt, Cairo on Wednesday morning as locals are winding up on Ramadan – a time spiritual reflection and co-coach Mokwena has described the atmosphere as “serene”.

The Tshwane giants held and wrapped up their first training session in Cairo last night ahead of their all-important Caf Champions League quarterfinal clash against defending champions Al Ahly on Saturday evening at Al Salaam Stadium.

Ramadan is a holy month of worship, study of the Quran, prayer, and fasting, and Mokwena has said that landing in Egypt on the last day of Ramzan al-Mubarak has assisted his men to remain “focused”.

“The reception has been good. The weather has been accommodating. It’s a very different climate coming into Egypt because the country is still going through Ramadaan and there is not as much traffic during the day,” said Mokwena.

“It’s serene and gives a little more energy to maintain focus and understand that we are here to do a national assignment.

“The climate is not as noisy as you would normally expect in Cairo. It’s good it allows us to find our feet, our mental stability and focus at this moment is very good.”

Mokwena added: “We went to bed to get some rest and try to have a little bit control of the travel fatigue and prepare ourselves. We have just come back from our training session where we did a bit of activation from a technical perspective incorporating a bit of injury prevention and have completed a light session.

“The team looks energised, focused and the team knows what we are here for. We want to try in every game and reflect of course the culture we have at Mamelodi Sundowns and the driving culture of that is our work ethic.”

RELATED STORY: Sundowns not getting ahead of themselves

By Tokelo Martin Mokhesi 

Warriors call up beckoning for Leicester City starlet

Little-known Leicester City starlet Tawanda Masvanhise may have just caught the attention of Zimbabwe national team coach Zdravko Logarušić without kicking a ball!

This comes after the highly-rated teenager enjoyed a ring-side seat at Old Trafford on Tuesday night as Manchester United’s unlikely push to prevent Manchester City, from winning the English Premiership title, finally came to an end.

A second string Red Devils’ side fell 1-2 to Leicester City handing their neighbours City the coveted League title with three games to spare.

With the 2022 World Cup qualifiers initially scheduled for early next month postponed, the Warriors coach has shifted focus to the Cosafa tournament which could take place in July.

Logarušić is said to be keen on giving the 18-year-old Masvanhise, who has been playing for the Foxes’ Under 18 side, a chance should the regional tournament go ahead.

Wellington Mupandare, the national teams’ general manager, confirmed the coach had been monitoring a number of players whom he wants to call up for the Cosafa tournament.

“As you are aware, the World Cup qualifiers were cancelled and the focus is now on the upcoming Cosafa tournament in July. The team that will play in the tournament is currently being assembled and it will feature some fringe Warriors players,” he said.

“The coach wants to give those players a chance to prove themselves. Those that will be called up might include the likes of Tawanda Masvanhise and Thuso Nyoni, who plays in Poland.

“The coach is monitoring several of these players including those that were called up for the last Afcon qualifiers against Botswana and Zambia. The home-based players too will be considered.”

Should the July dates stand for the regional tournament, most leagues in Europe and several other continents will be on an off-season break, which gives the coaches wider selection options.

RELATED STORY: Rodgers wants Leshabela to stay put at Leicester

Middendorp prioritises results over nice football

Maritzburg United coach Ernst Middendorp was full of praise for his players, after their 3-2 home victory against Golden Arrows, at Harry Gwala Stadium on Wednesday, in the Dstv Premiership match.

The German mentor was more interested in what the result would be, after an aggressive affair between the two KZN teams fighting for maximum points.

“In this stage it’s not probably about nice soccer, this stage is about winning the game and focus on our target and purpose of the game, our main goal and we have done it,” reflected Middendorp.

“As expected, very aggressive, more and more I think at this stage same expected because it is a local derby and these games also against AmaZulu are always special.”

“In the end we’ve taken it well, we scored three goals, we defended in the end.

“I think it was a fighting spirit we’ve seen from the team, each and everybody and there is unity,” said Middendorp.

The former Kaizer Chiefs coach brushed aside the magnitude of the match and how special the victory would be, since it’s a KZN Derby and beating a team that is in the top three of the Dstv Premiership log.

“You are not getting more points from it, let’s take it from their side, but you pull certain confidence inside KwaZulu Natal and complement to both teams.

“AmaZulu and Golden Arrows having fantastic positions, in the top eight, top three, top four. Doing a fantastic job, there is no doubt about it.”

The team of Choice climbed to 11th position on the log, with 28 points from 26 matches.

By Wonga Sirayi

FARPost’s KZN Reporter

Mqokiyana takes positives from relegation

Bizana Pondo Chiefs chairman Nkosinathi Mqokiyana has refused to be despondent after his team got relegated to the ABC Motsepe League, after just one season in the professional ranks.

The businessman told FARPost that there are a lot of positives from the season in the GladAfrica Championship and he is proud of the team and their strides through the season.

From giving young players a good platform to taste professional football, to making Bizana recognized in the whole country, the chairman seemingly has a lot to celebrate.

“It is incorrect to say our season was holistically unsuccessful because I can tell you now, the players that were registered under me are seriously in demand,” he said.

“If this club had not achieved promotion to the playoffs, how many young, black, rural boys that were never gonna have an opportunity to showcase their talent to everyone in South Africa to trust them?”

“In my context, I don’t believe it was a failure, maybe it’s a hiccup that says to us let’s go back to our drawing board, but the word failure, didn’t go well, I don’t think it applies to us.

“We are one of the few clubs, if any, to go to Cape Town and get four points. Including the guys that are fighting for promotion, they failed to get more than four points there.”

“We are the only club that is coming from the district that does not have facilities, imagine getting Ajax coming to play in Matatiela, Tabankulu or in Mtata.

“But I don’t mind who says what because football is a game of opinions and people have got their own opinions and they are entitled to them, but I think we gave it our shot and I think we’ve lived our moment,” said Mqokiyana.

But he reckons their situation was caused by lack of proper planning for the professional stage.

But he couldn’t agree with sentiments of not having experienced campaigners to keep the status.

“We never had time to properly plan and outline our strengths and weaknesses in this level, that is the biggest downfall.

“When you say experienced players, who are you referring to? (Mbongeni) Mzimela is very experienced, we signed the likes of (Mxolisi) Mayongo – very experienced, we singed (Musa) Bilankulu. So in terms of experience, no,” he continued.

He also commented on the issue of the coach Clinton Larsen, who was brought in to save the team from relegation.

“I’m not sure about the case, but even if there was a case unfortunately we have not been winning games, so it won’t apply to us.

“It won’t be easy to talk we gonna have to negotiate the logistics because the team was based in Durban and he is from Durban now the team is going back to the Eastetn Cape to play in the ABC Motsepe League so it’s a different ball game,” he added.

With a lot of players in demand according to the chairman, it is expected that they will be busy in the market exchanging players with teams in the professional leagues, though he does not want to enrich himself.

“This project was not about me, it was me giving back to my community, so I think I’ve done that successfully.

“The players that will go and remain in GladAfrica Championship, I’ll release them unless some feel fit to compensate us, I’ll gladly accept that, but I’m not about making any profit out of these boys,” concluded Mqokiyana.

By Wonga Sirayi

FARPost’s KZN Reporter