SA U23 coach David Notoane admits it has been a difficult week for them having to prepare for the Africa Cup of Nations with only 15 players.
The team open their AFCON Group B match campaign tonight against Zambia at the Al Salaam Stadium, Egypt (20:00).
Notoane was given a boost on Thursday when captain Tercious Malepe, goalkeeper Mondli Mpoto and forward Keletso Makgalwa joined the squad from their respective teams.
“Of course it’s been a big challenge because naturally we try to speak with the local clubs the tournament being outside of the FIFA week, we speak to the European clubs to make sure we have the best available talent for the tournament and unfortunately it was a give and take,” said Notoane.
“Some clubs were willing to give their players and others were not willing to give their players so at the moment we have 15 players with us, and the rest will join the tournament during the FIFA break and that’s what it is.”
The Greater Giyani Local Municipality remains positive that an agreement will soon be finalised between them and Jomo Cosmos for the club to continue playing their games at the Giyani Stadium.
Cosmos took their last three GladAfrica Championship fixtures (against Moroka Swallows, Cape Umoya United and Richards Bay) to the 20 000-seater Stadium in the Mopani District.
But there have been talks that Ezenkosi have made a U-turn on the agreement after the Municipality failed to guarantee the team with accommodation and transport.
The Municipality spokesperson Steve Mabunda refutes the claims saying they expect Cosmos to sign a new agreement soon.
“As far as we are concerned, we are in good terms with Cosmos and we are expecting them to sign an agreement sometime next week. It has been great hosting Cosmos here and there are plans in the pipeline to build an academy that will help young kids around this town,” said Mabunda.
Cosmos were supposed to take their match against Mbombela United on Saturday to the Giyani Stadium, but have now opted to take that match to Olen Park Stadium in Potchefstroom.
JDR Stars coach and owner Nnditsheni Nemasisi says the 3-1 defeat by Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivhandila on Saturday afternoon was necessary for them to reflect on themselves.
The Gauteng-based side suffered their first defeat of the season after 8 games in their debut GladAfrica Championship season.
The defeat did not change much for JDR as they remain second on the log, 3 points behind leaders Uthongathi.
“I guess we had to lose at some stage so that we can be normal. We had a lot of missed chances in the first half before they scored their goal, we could have been up by two goals but when it’s not your day it’s not your day.
“No, I am not worried at all there is no way you can play 30 games and not lose one. We knew that this would come the fact that we are still in the top 4 that’s what motivates us and we will continue to collect points. We are not worried about the number one position at the moment, we will be worried about that in the second round,” he added.
JDR will host Free State Stars in their next League match on Saturday.
Jomo Cosmos and Moroka Swallows played to a 0-0 draw in the only match of the GladAfrica Championship on Sunday afternoon.
The result moved Ezenkosi from bottom of the table to number 13, while the Dube Birds remain at position 12 with 9 points.
Cosmos coach Jomo Sono felt that his players still lack confidence in front of goals.
“The whole thing stems from confidence. They don’t have confidence, but we played very well. We knew that they get tired in the second half so we wanted to put pressure in the first half and in the second half we started attacking,” said Sono.
Swallows coach Brandon Truter had a different perspective of how the two teams played.
“I think there was only one team in the first half. Decision making in the final third, being creative in the final third we could have done better,” he told FARPost.co.za.
“For me it’s two points dropped instead of one point gained. In the second half they started throwing long balls I think they created one or two chances, but so did we,” said Truter.
The GladAfrica Championship log remains unchanged at the top with Uthongathi still leading with 19 points, followed by JDR Stars with 16 tied with Ajax Cape Town.
After being given a lifeline by GladAfrica Championship side TS Sporting, well-travelled defender Sibusiso Khumalo has expressed his excitement of being back on the field.
Khumalo was signed by the Mpumalanga-based side after spending last season at Ajax Cape Town. The defender also trained with Bidvest Wits, but nothing materialised.
The 31-year-old says continuous injuries have hindered his career progress.
“Yah the injuries really contributed a lot because I was always injured but I don’t regret anything. I don’t know why I am here but if God wants me here then so be it. We can win the league and go to the Absa Premiership; in football you never know. But I still have ambitions”
Khumalo also reflected on his time at Kaizer Chiefs where his contract was terminated after two seasons at the club.
“It was okay for me I mean I got a chance to play. I think played 20 games there so like I said the injuries really affected me so that was the real issue.
“The only thing I want to focus on now is to play football, ever since I was young that’s the only thing I want to do.
“It doesn’t matter where I am all I want is to play football.”
Khumalo made his professional debut at Moroka Swallows in 2009 and went on to play for teams such as Mamelodi Sundowns, SuperSport united and Ajax.
TS Sporting head coach McDonald Makhubedu says he is aware of the expectations from the team’s management even though he doesn’t have a clear mandate.
Makhubedu was appointed as head coach following the team’s decision to part ways with coach Sly Mosala and his assistant, Solly Luvhengo, after a poor start to the GladAfrica Championship season.
Makhubedu has been officially been in charge of three matches winning one and drawing two.
“It has been good for me here at Sporting – the reception was good,” Makhubedu told FARPost.co.za during our visit to the club at Alkmaar, Mbombela, this week.
“Luckily, I knew some of the players, 80% of the them and knowing the environment also it helped me a lot in settling here.
“I think we have a good squad and the technical team we have is helping a lot.
“The management has also been supportive so I can’t complain. I am very happy to be here. The way the management do things here it’s very challenging and it makes one to go all out,” said the former Acornbush United mentor.
“I can’t say they want promotion now but the way they do things you can see yourself that they want something out if this team.
“TS Sporting is a growing brand and it’s growing fast, so it’s very challenging as a coach to be at this team,” added Makhubedu.
The Mpumalanga-based side will face Ajax Cape Town at home in their next League match on Saturday, October 26.