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Mokoena’s stunning free-kick takes SA U-23 to the top
13 November 2019, 3:26 PM

The South African national U-23 team registered its first win at the African Cup of Nations (AFCON) tournament currently underway in Cairo, Egypt, when they beat Ivory Coast 1-0 in their second Group B game.

Playing at Al Salam stadium, the venue where their senior team lost to the Ivorians 1-0 at the AFCON in June, a stunning free-kick by Teboho Mokoena, one of the late arrivals in camp ensured this win.

SA is now on four points and a point clear at the top with a game against Nigeria still to come. Head coach David Notoane welcomed the win.

Nigeria also registered their first win in the second game in Group B, beating Zambia 3-1. The top three teams in this tournament qualify to the Olympics in Tokyo, Japan next year.

Notoane made four changes to the team that was held to a goalless draw by Zambia last weekend. Mokoena and his SuperSport United teammate Sipho Mbule and the two overseas based players, Luther Singh and Lyle Foster, started on the day. He says they were under pressure coming to this game to register a win.

SA plays Nigeria at the same venue on Friday night (20:00).

The scars are still visible on the Egyptians after Bafana knocked them out of the AFCON tournament on home soil in June.

The young Pharaohs have already qualified for the semi-final after winning their first two games in Group A and Notoane was asked if he would like to avoid meeting them.

SA could’ve easily won the game by three goals or four, Foster missed three sitters including hitting the crossbar.

Kobamelo Kodisang was also denied a clear penalty by the match officials.  – Report by Velile Mnyandu

Sundowns running own race and not one with Chiefs: Mosimane
12 November 2019, 8:45 PM

Mamelodi Sundowns coach Pitso Mosimane insists they are not interested in what their neighbours or anyone else in the Absa Premiership is doing. Instead, the Mamelodi Sundowns coach says they are fully focused on their own programme this season.

The Brazilians are currently going through a rough patch after managing to pick up just one point out of nine available in their last three matches.

That has seen them slip-up in the defence of their league title, with the champions now trailing log leaders Kaizer Chiefs by 10 points following a weekend defeat to Lamontville Golden Arrows.

Sundowns lost to Chiefs just over two weeks ago when they fell to a 2-0 loss at home, before going on to draw with Baroka FC in their next game.

This past weekend they were stunned 3-2 by Abafana Bes’thende in wet and windy conditions in Durban.

24 hours earlier, Chiefs won the Soweto derby against Orlando Pirates by the same margin.

Mosimane praised Chiefs for getting results this season, but he also warned that Amakhosi were not their only rivals in the Premier Soccer League (PSL).

Mosimane also highlighted how Sundowns had established their own template of success at Chloorkop since he took charge of the club in 2012.

They have dominated South African football in that period and also made inroads in Africa where they won the Caf Champions League in 2016.

The former Bafana Bafana coach says he does not want to dwell on things that are out of his control, but instead continue looking forward at the bigger picture for his club.

Report by Thahir Asmal

With a good mentality, we can beat top teams, including Ghana: Furman
12 November 2019, 8:11 PM

Bafana Bafana have arrived safely in Cape Coast in Ghana, where they play their opening 2021 African Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifier against the Black Stars on Thursday evening.

A group of locally-based players flew to Accra on Monday night and linked up with the overseas-based contingent and they took a two-hour bus drive to their destination.

Tuesday night’s training session is most likely going to be the only full session Bafana is going to have for this game and midfield general Dean Furman says they have to make use of it.

A good start against the West African giants will set the tone for the qualifiers where Molefi Ntseki’s team is also pitted against Libya and Sao Tome e Principe.

According to Furman, they are also encouraged by their good start in the previous Afcon 2019 qualifying campaign where they beat another West African giant Nigeria 2-0.

Meanwhile, Furman’s teammate at SuperSport United and Bafana’s No.: 1 goalkeeper Ronwen Williams says they’ve faced big teams on the continent and this game against the Black Stars doesn’t scare them.

The road to the Afcon tournament in Egypt also saw an improved and impressive Bafana record on the road as they registered wins against Nigeria and Libya but dropped two valuable points against Seychelles.

Bafana play Ghana at 19:00 (21:00 SA Time) and fly back on Friday morning ahead of their second qualifier this week against Sudan at Orlando Stadium on Sunday.

Williams also knows clean sheets in these two games will go a long way to work in their favour.Report by Velile Mnyandu

Ghana’s Ofori relishes Bafana clash
12 November 2019, 6:41 PM

Ghana Goalkeeper Richard Ofori has reserved his judgement on whether new Bafana Bafana coach Molefi Ntseki can make a difference and inspire South Africa to greater heights.

The two countries are preparing to meet in the opening match of the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers in the Cape Coast on Thursday.

It is a tough start to the campaign for the visitors against one of the continent’s traditional powerhouses. The match will also mark Ntseki’s competitive debut after he guided Bafana to a friendly win over Mali in October.

Ofori is waiting to see what difference he can make for a side that did not show too much of progress during Stuart Baxter’s tenure.

South Africa are currently ranked 13th in Africa and Ntseki, who was appointed back in August, will be hoping to improve that position, which also places them 72nd on the global table.

The Black Stars, meanwhile, are 21 places better off in 51st and seventh on the continent. Despite their position and the recent decline by Bafana, Ofori admits they can never be discounted.

South Africa’s biggest weapon in recent matches has been Club Brugges striker, Percy Tau. The former Mamelodi Sundowns striker has been in good form for both club and country in 2019.

He also recently raised eyebrows for his performances in the European Champions League, where he provided an assist during a shock 2-2 draw away at Spanish giants Real Madrid.

Ofori admits that Tau will have to be guarded, but the giant Maritzburg United goalkeeper felt Ghana had the players to cope with him.

Report by Thahir Asmal

Inside the tense and explosive Soweto derby post match presser
11 November 2019, 8:36 PM

This past weekend’s Soweto derby had everything that you would associate with the country’s biggest game: the sold out crowd at the 90 000 capacity seater (FNB stadium), five goals and special goals.

Exciting football, the fights off the ball between the players, but it’s the drama after the game, especially in the post-match presser by Orlando Pirates head coach Rhulani Mokwena that remains the serious talking point till today.

The 10-man Chiefs won the match 3-2 to go 10 points clear at the top, Mokwena ignored the result and focused on the thuggish behavior which he alleged Chiefs coach Ernst Middendorp was encouraging.

Chiefs defender Eric Mathoho was sent off after an altercation with Abel Mabaso on the stroke of full-time.

This was a second loss for Pirates to their arch-rivals in a space of seven days. They are now 15 points behind Chiefs on the log after suffering their fourth loss of the season in the league to drop down to ninth spot on the log with 13 points from 11 matches. For the second time in one week, Mokwena acknowledged that they need to start producing the desired results.

One of the areas where Middendorp out-thought Mokwena was on the effective use of the aerial strength with Samir Nurkovic and Leonardo Castro bossing the duels in the final third in the first half.

Mokwena admitted that the German coach had planned better there.

At some stage, the post-match presser became just another football match as the two coaches were taking on each other without fielding questions from the journalists.

It’s Chiefs’ tradition not to separate coaches for post-match press conferences and this past weekend, hopefully they learnt their lesson that there’s a good reason to follow the global trends of separating the coaches.

Middendorp, known for his aggression and and forthright approach at times, was calm on the night, but the moment he was asked to respond to the allegations by Mokwena, he didn’t hold back.

At some stage, it came across as though the German-born was advising his younger counterpart not to blame the opposition for mistakes made by his players or some tactical and technical naivety.

It was an exciting game and Chiefs continued with their rich vein of form, 10 points clear at the top and have now collected 28 points from a possible 33. This ranks as one the best starts in the history of the PSL.

Bucs were equally exciting to come back from 2-0 down to 2-2 before man of the match Daniel Cardoso converted the penalty.

But again, the post-match comments even with the last question on the day about the teams’ plans for the international break was off the mark.

Middendorp stood up and left as he couldn’t take Mokwena’s comments anymore.

– Report by Velile Mnyandu

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