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Hazard warns Chelsea to improve squad before he decides future
16 May 2018, 3:46 PM

Eden Hazard has warned Chelsea to sign players who will turn them into title contenders if they want him to commit his future to the club.  Hazard has two years left on his present contract and is considering whether to sign a lucrative extension that would keep him at Stamford Bridge for the remaining prime years of his career.  But the Belgium playmaker is frustrated by Chelsea’s failure to qualify for next season’s Champions League and is reportedly a close-season target for Real Madrid and Paris Saint Germain.

Asked what it would take to stay with Chelsea in the long-term, Hazard said: “I’m waiting for new players next season. We will see.  “I want good players because I want to win next season the Premier League. I want to win a lot of things.”  This would be Hazard’s last big contract and the midfielder has no intention of rushing his decision, despite reports that Chelsea are willing to pay him around £300,000 ($404,000, 343,000 euros) per week.

“That’s why I’m taking my time. It’s something big. I need to think of a lot of things. One thing for sure is I’m happy here,” he said.

Chelsea finished fifth in the Premier League, well adrift of champions Manchester City, after an inconsistent season marred their defence of the title.  They also failed to win the Champions League and League Cup, leaving Saturday’s FA Cup final against Manchester United as their last chance of silverware this season.

Hazard concedes Chelsea have under-performed, but he believes winning the Wembley showdown with United would at least salvage something from their disappointing season.

“To play Champions League next season is important. To win trophies also. We want to do it,” Hazard said.  “We want to play Champions League next season and win trophies. That’s it.  “So if we can’t have one, we need the other. We can’t be in the Champions League next season so we need to win trophies. That’s it.  “I say many times before I think it is not my last game. It’s the last game of the season, that’s it.  “After the World Cup then we will be ready for the next season.  “But for me, in my mind, I’m here, I have one week to play now. Saturday is a massive game. I just want to win for me and them also.”

– ‘We need trophies’ –

Hazard insists the uncertainty surrounding Chelsea manager Antonio Conte has had no impact on the squad. Conte is expected to leave at the end of the season after his feud with the club’s hierarchy over their failure to back his transfer plans.

“We don’t think about that. We’re just focused on the game,” Hazard said.  “We have one game to play and then we’ll see what happens at the end of the season.”

If Chelsea can lift the FA Cup, then the Champions League will be the one major honour to elude Hazard during his time at Stamford Bridge.  “I need two more trophies, Champions League and FA Cup. That’s it,” Hazard said.  “We’re Chelsea. We need trophies at the end of the season. At the moment we have nothing. We have not qualified for the Champions League. So the season has been bad.

“If we can’t be in the Champions League we need the trophy.  It’s up to us to save the season with the FA Cup. I’ve never won the FA Cup. I hope this year is for me and for Chelsea. We will give everything.”

Chelsea face a familiar foe this weekend in United manager Jose Mourinho, who had two spells as Blues boss.

Mourinho has been criticised for conservative tactics this season, but Hazard expects United to pose a stern test.  “We know how he will play. We all know that. That’s why we need to be ready,” he said.

Patrick Phungwayo could miss Nedbank Cup
16 May 2018, 2:10 PM

The Free State Stars medical team is working round the clock to get their trusted defender Patrick Phungwayo ready and fit to play.

Stars face Maritzburg United in the Nebank Cup final on Saturday evening at Cape Town Stadium.

However, there are concerns over the readiness of Phungwayo after he limped off at training on Tuesday morning.

Patrick Phungwayo has been a key player for Stars this season and has featured in 30 matches in all competitions.

Stars’ Belgian coach Luc Eymael is confident that he will have his talismanic defender ahead of their trip to Cape Town.

“It’s a knock. He will have treatment via the physio and I hope he will be available. It’s painful but it’s not dangerous like lateral or inside lateral, and or external ligament,” says Eymael.

Police have appealed to the community to help with information that could lead to the arrest of the suspects who killed two girls in Johannesburg.
Manhunt launched after girls’ bodies found in Thokoza
16 May 2018, 1:58 PM

A manhunt is underway for the killers of two young girls whose bodies were found dumped in an open veld in Thokoza, east of Johannesburg.

The girls, aged 8 and 9 years, were last seen playing together on Sunday afternoon.

They were reported missing on Monday. A search immediately launched. A community member discovered the bodies and alerted police.

Gauteng police spokesperson Mavela Masondo says, “We went to the open veld and indeed we found the girls, who were later identified by the family as the girls we’ve been looking for. We are not sure for now who the killer is, but this is a very bad thing and as the police we are giving this a priority. If there is anyone with information that can help us to arrest the suspects, please let them come forward.”

Sundowns cautioned against ‘unnecessary pressure’ in Barca clash
16 May 2018, 1:35 PM

Mamelodi Sundowns players have been advised not to put themselves under unnecessary pressure against great players like Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez.

This comes as Pretoria-based club, popularly known as Bafana Ba Style, are set to lock horns with La Liga champions, Barcelona on Wednesday evening at the FNB Stadium at 18h00.

Former Sundowns player, Surprise Moriri, who coincidentally scored the only goal for Sundowns when the two current reigning champions in their respective leagues met 11 years ago at Loftus Stadium, says players should play to entertain fans who will be attending the game.

“I think our boys are much matured, and I think they won’t be scared to take up the challenge and express themselves. The one thing that they just need to do is to go there and enjoy themselves, they don’t have to put them under pressure, because it is not about three points or anything else. It is just Mandela’s Centenary celebrations, they just have to entertains the fans, that’s it,” adds Moriri.

The 38 year-old has also reflected on a goal that he scored against Spanish giants.

“It was a great feeling; especial considering that was the first goal of the match at an early stage as well. The game itself was a great feeling, because it was not about winning but we were playing to enjoy ourselves,” says Moriri.

Moriri believes the South African outfit will win and he is banking on Percy Tau who is join-top goal scorer and tipped to be Player of the Season for 2017/18.

 

Ajay Gupta
Ajay Gupta breaks his silence
16 May 2018, 9:41 AM

Ajay Gupta has broken his silence around his current status since he left South Africa in March, after a summons was issued for his arrest.

Currently in his home town of Saharanpur, Gupta told Indian media he wants to set the record straight for the people of his home town.

He claims that he was maligned by the press in South Africa, saying the media in this country have an agenda against him.

“For the past years, the media in South Africa has been maligning our name. This is not new for us. This is the first time that the media in India is writing about us, but this is an old story. We are used to it now… We know that the South Africa media has an agenda. We know that in South Africa the media is also part of the local politics. But why is an Indian journalist speaking about us like this? Indian journalists should research the matter fully first. But they also probably don’t have enough resources to do this.”

Gupta says it is possible this is a political conspiracy against him.

“There could be political compulsions behind the allegations we are facing. It is possible. I can’t say what the nature of politics is. Journalists should analyse…” says Gupta.

Speaking of his relationship with Jacob Zuma’s son Duduzane, Gupta says they have been business partners in South Africa since 2006-2007.

“In South Africa, there is a system which mandates that 36% of your management needs to go towards Black Empowerment – since the community was previously disadvantaged. This could have been Zuma’s son, or someone else… He was our partner on merit, not because he was Zuma’s son.”

Responding to the allegations of state capture, Gupta said there is no proof of any of the allegations that have been leveled against his family.

He also maintains that all his family members, except himself, are South African citizens.


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