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Mosimane proud of Sundowns record on the continent
28 January 2020, 7:01 PM

Mamelodi Sundowns coach Pitso Mosimane is proud of his team’s record in the group stages of the Caf Champions League.

The Brazilians are currently leading Group C with 11 points, followed by Wydad Casablanca with nine points followed by Petro de Luanda on three points and USM Alger on two points.

Sundowns have not lost in five matches, including three away matches.

On Saturday, they drew 2-2 with Petro in Angola.

Petro gave Sundowns a run for their money almost winning the match. The Brazilians, however, equalised in injury time – courtesy of defender Motjeka Madisha.

 

The 2016 Champions had already qualified for the quarterfinals before playing against Petro. They will be joined by Wydad in the last eight.

Mosimane says they did not play hard to win.


– Report by Vincent Sitsula

Eto’o confused by Bafana Bafana’s struggles
28 January 2020, 6:00 PM

African football legend Samuel Eto’o says he cannot understand why Bafana Bafana are not doing better on the international stage.

The South African national football team continues to have more downs than ups in recent years.

Bafana Bafana have also slumped from being second on the continent and 25th internationally to their current-day position of 13th and 71st, respectively.

Their fortunes also continue to fluctuate, although hopes have been raised with a new coach Molefi Ntseki now in charge.

But Eto’o, one of Africa’s finest sons, believes they should be doing a lot better.

Bafana Bafana have not qualified for the World Cup for 17 years, although they did play in the 2010 event by virtue of being hosts.

That was only their third-ever appearance in the finals as one of the continent’s financial powerhouses continues to perennially fall short. Nonetheless, Eto’o is hopeful that will all change in the coming years.

The former Barcelona and Inter Milan striker is, however, optimistic of the game in general across the African continent. He says that all the signs point towards a more positive outlook in the future.

Eto’o is also upbeat about the future of his own national football team, the Indomitable Lions. The former striker, who played 118 times for Cameroon between 1997 and 2014 scoring a record 56 goals, helped his country become a powerhouse on the continent during his playing days.

He twice won the Africa Cup of Nations with them and also played in four World Cups. However, the west Africans have been in decline since his retirement.

But he is hopeful that the good times will return, starting with the next Afcon that Cameroon will host in 2021.

– Report by Thahir Asmal

Du Plessis praises Proteas spirit
28 January 2020, 11:50 AM

Standard Bank Proteas Test captain Faf du Plessis has praised his side’s fighting spirit despite being thumped by 191 runs in the fourth Test against England and subsequently losing the series 3-1.

Chasing 466 in the fourth innings at the Imperial Wanderers at the start of Day Four, the Proteas valiantly fought but were dismissed for 278 all out. Du Plessis commended his charges fighting spirit.

With the score at 181/2 deep into the second session fourth day, The Proteas had a good fighting chance until the inevitable happened and Ben Stokes claimed Du Plessis’(35) prize scalp.

Top-order batsman Rassie van der Dussen (98) was the top scorer for the home side after also being involved in a third-wicket partnership of 92 with his captain. Du Plessis says there are some positives to take out of the series.

With the victory at the Bullring, England completed their third victory in a row over South Africa, coming back from 1-0 down to clinch the series.

England captain Joe Root praised his entire team for their efforts during the tour. Root says he is pleased they could deliver despite missing a number of key senior players in the side.

The series victory will be much sweeter for England having been rocked by illness and injuries after the first two Tests and managing to turn things around.

Root complimented his players especially the youngsters who have had to step up and fill in for the missing senior players.Report by Thando Gqamane

 

Is Vukusic safe at bottom-placed AmaZulu?
28 January 2020, 10:23 AM

The alarm bells have started to ring for AmaZulu FC head coach Josef Vukusic with his team bottom of the log and winless in their last five matches, with four losses.

Their 1-0 loss this past weekend to the rejuvenated Orlando Pirates side at Orlando Stadium will surely leave the Usuthu management with a lot of questions than answers.

They are level on 17 points with Polokwane City and Black Leopards with 10 games to go but an inferior goal difference sees them occupying the bottom spot. Vukusic says they’ve been doing their best to turn things around.

When Vukusic joined AmaZulu in September last year, the team had not won a single match, with three losses and two draws under Cavin Johnson who has since been suspended at Leopards due to poor results.

The Slovakian has managed to win four matches during his time but lost eight matches in the process and drew only three. He says the management is aware of the situation and won’t judge him on the five matches from this year.

What Vukusic doesn’t know is that Usuthu’s management has been engaging other coaches with the possibility of taking over and former Leopards coach Luc Eymael who is now in Tanzania exposed that.

SABC Sport understands that the name of Pirates assistant coach has also been rumoured about to be linked to AmaZulu. The former Polokwane City had all sorts of excuses after the Pirates loss.

With the transfer window closing this week, Vukusic doesn’t think that they need more players as he feels that he’s got a balanced squad of youth with experience which can get them out of this hole.

AmaZulu are no strangers to fighting relegation, even for them to return to the elite league they had to buy the status of Thanda Royal Zulu (now Richards Bay FC) who had won promotion to the PSL few years ago.

The hard-to-please Usuthu fans are not happy and Vukusic is making a promise to them.

Report by Velile Mnyandu

Woolworths hit by weak Australia, December results
27 January 2020, 9:33 PM

Half-year earnings at South Africa’s Woolworths could drop by as much as 20%, the retailer warned on Monday, sending its shares down more than 4%.

The company, which sells food, clothing and homeware, said an accounting change had compounded the decline, but also pointed to another drop in sales at its struggling Australian businesses and slow trade during the critical December period.

In a trading statement, Woolworths said that while group sales were expected to have risen by 3.8% in the 26 weeks to Dec. 29, headline earnings per share – the main profit measure in South Africa – were likely to be between 15% and 20% lower.

It did not specify the exact reason for the decline. However it said the half-year forecast included new accounting rules applied by the retailer for the first time, excluding which HEPS was likely to have dropped by only between 7.5% and 12.5%.

The retailer tends to be more shielded from a tough economic environment at home than its peers because it targets higher-income customers. Its $2 billion foray into Australia led by outgoing CEO Ian Moir has been its biggest drag on performance.

Moir purchased David Jones in 2014, and since then the chain has struggled amid a tough economy, competition from online rivals and a disruptive refurbishment at its flagship store in Sydney.

In contrast with the year before, the critical trading periods of Christmas and Boxing Day – with the latter especially busy in Australia – fell in the first, rather than the second half, of Woolworth’s financial year.

When adjusted for this shift, David Jones sales fell by 0.5%. Some analysts believe Moir’s purchase of David Jones was not well executed. He is due to step down in February, and be replaced by Levi Strauss executive Roy Bagattini – a change welcomed by some investors keen for a fresh mind at the top after nine years under Moir.

Food sales held up in South Africa – expected to grow 7.8% when adjusted for the trading week changes – but Woolworths’ fashion, home and beauty division, which it has also been trying to turn around, is seen growing by just 0.9%.

The company said it had been hurt in its home market by a series of factors in December.

“The constrained economic environment, exacerbated by the disruption to trade caused by power outages and unseasonal weather in parts of the country, contributed to slower December trade,” its statement said.

Woolworths shares had recovered some ground by 0721 GMT, but were still 3.7% lower.

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