Platinum Stars draw at home but move to 15th spot – ABSA Premiership 2017/18


Platinum Stars draw at home but move to 15th spot

Roggert Nyundu of Bloemfontein Celtic challenged by Katlego Otladisa of Platinum Stars during the Absa Premiership 2017/18 match between Platinum Stars and Bloemfontein Celtic at Royal Bafokeng Stadium, Rustenburg South Africa on 22 November 2017 ©Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

Phumzile Ngcatshe

Wednesday Nov 22, 2017. 21:58

Platinum Stars failed to grab their second Absa Premiership win when they drew 0-0 against Bloemfontein Celtic on Wednesday night at the Royal Bafokeng Stadium.

Despite the stalemate, the Rustenburg-based side now sit at the 15th spot on the log standings with eight points from 11 matches so far.

Although Dikwena had a bright start in the opening five minutes, Brian Mwila could not beat Patrick Tignyemb who made a save in the box at the second attempt.

With chances few and far between, towards the 20th minute Celtic’s Lantshene Phalane tried to beat Mbongeni Mzimela from a distance, but the keeper was equal to the task in the 27th minute.

Despite dominance by Roger De Sa’s men, their lack of sharpness in the final third meant the scores remained level at half time at 0-0.

In the second half, the hosts found the back of the net through Mwila’s header from a set piece, but it was disallowed as he came from an offside position.

However, it was Siwelele that looked threatening after the hour mark as they utitlised their wingers, yet Mzimela showed his aerial quality.

The 70th minute saw Stars’ skipper Vuyo Mere coming close to beating Tignyemb after a long pass found him behind Celtic’s defence, he showed a wonderful first touch but missed the target with the keeper to beat.

After introducing Kabelo Mahlasela and Tshegofatso Mabaso, Veselin Jelusic’s men upped the ante and the latter saw his effort saved by Mzimela, who conceded a corner in the 79th minute.

As both sides were running against time, Mere picked out an unmarked Robert Ng’ambi with a sublime pass, but the Malawian blasted his effort off target two minutes later.

With both camps fighting for a goal, their efforts in the dying minutes could not yield the desired results and it ended in a dull draw.

The stalemate elevates Phunya Sele Sele to the fourth spot with 16 points from 11 games.

Platinum Stars 0

Bloemfontein Celtic 0

Platinum Stars: Mzimela, Mnguni, Sithole, Zulu, Mere, Otladisa (Matlakala 80′), N’gambi, Mwila (Links 63′) , Nwedihanga, Msomi, Masalesa

Bloemfontein Celtic: Tignyemb, Pfumbidzai, Rikhotso, Ndengane, Jembula (Letsoalo 69′), Motshegwa (Mahlasela 55′), Letlabika, Baloyi, Hotto, Nyundu (Mabaso 63′), Phalane


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Platinum Stars stutter at home and exit TKO Cup – ABSA Premiership 2017/18


Platinum Stars stutter at home and exit TKO Cup

Jacky Motshegwa of Bloemfontein Celtic challenged by Vuyo Mere of Platinum Stars during 2017 Telkom Knockout Quarter Final match between Platinum Stars and Bloemfontein Celtic at Royal Bafokeng Stadium, Rustenburg South Africa on 04 November 2017 ©Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

Phumzile Ngcatshe

Saturday Nov 04, 2017. 17:52

Bonginkosi Ntuli’s early goal didn’t make any difference for Platinum Stars as they lost 2-1 to Bloemfontein Celtic in a Telkom Knockout quarterfinal match on Saturday at the Royal Bafokeng Stadium.

On the other hand, goals from Lantshene Phalane and Tshegofatso Mabaso were enough to dispatch Dikwena out of the competition.

Victor Letsoalo had a glorious opportunity to make it 1-0 in the 25th when his deflected shot in the box went over the cross bar.

However, it was Ntuli who broke the deadlock five minutes later after receiving a long pass into the box, and the burly forward chipped the oncoming Tignyemb to make it 1-0.

It was the hosts who were leading at half time.

Siwelele pushed for an equaliser in the second stanza and they levelled matters when Phalane netted with a fine left-footed set piece to beat Stars keeper Dino Visser in the 58th minute.

Ntuli missed a wonderful opportunity from a header after a great cross down the left flank, the goalscorer saw his effort going wide with just Tignyemb to beat in the 79th minute.

In the 80th minute, the visitors came back from behind to grab the lead through substitute Mabaso after brilliant play by Kabelo Mahlasela who beat three Dikwena defenders before setting up a cross.

Despite their efforts to find an equaliser, the hosts were not clinical upfront as they exit the competition they won in 2013.

Platinum Stars: (1) (Ntuli 30′)

Bloemfontein Celtic: (0) 2 (Phalane 58′, Mabaso 80′)

Platinum Stars: Visser, De Jongh, Mwedihanga, Zulu, Sithole, Mere, Ng’ambi, Mkhabela (Matlakala 87′), Links (Mwila 65′), Otladisa, Ntuli

Bloemfontein Celtic: Tignyemb, Pfumbidzai, Rikhotso, Ndengane, Mabena (Lubisi 88′), Letsoalo, Letlabika, Baloyi, Hotto, Motshegwa (Mabaso 74′), Phalane


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Wits slump to new low in home loss to Chippa – ABSA Premiership 2017/18


Wits slump to new low in home loss to Chippa

Sifiso Hlanti of Bidvest Wits challenges Moeketsi Sekola of Chippa United during Absa Premiership 2017/18 match between Bidvest Wits and Chippa United at Bidvest Wits Stadium, Johannesburg South Africa on 01 November 2017 ©Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

Graeme Jackson

Wednesday Nov 01, 2017. 21:36

Bidvest Wits continue to look a shadow of the team which won the Absa Premiership last season, as they slumped to a 2-0 home defeat at the hands of Chippa United on Wednesday night.

Samuel Julies came off the bench to score his first league goals since 2012 and inspire the Chilli Boys to their first away win of the season, while the Clever Boys have now suffered five defeats from just nine matches thus far.

Chippa nearly claimed the lead as early as the fourth minute, as a scramble in the penalty area after a mistake from Darren Keet ended with James Okwuosa stabbing a shot which hit the underside of the crossbar.

That proved to be the only attacking highlight of an otherwise cagey first half. Wits dominated possession and created a few promising moments thanks to the class of their wide-men Elias Pelembe and Daine Klate, but they couldn’t quite service strikers Vincent Pule and Amr Gamal.

Chippa, meanwhile, looked sporadically dangerous on the counter attack, but they were unwilling to commit too many men forward for fear of being caught short at the back by the reigning league champions.

The second half saw the Clever Boys continue to be the more positive and enterprising team, and coach Gavin Hunt looked to add a little creativity to the mix when he introduced veteran playmaker Steven Pienaar just after the hour mark.

On 75 minutes Chippa’s Daniel Akpeyi needed Okwuosa to bail him out by clearing the ball off the line after the goalkeeper dropped a simple cross, while seconds later substitute Samuel Julies shot wide after being beautifully set up by a through ball from Paseka Mako.

Yet just two minutes later Julies made up for his error by striking home a low shot after more good work from Mako, putting the Chilli Boys into a lead which was very much against the general run of play.

And things got even better for Julies in the 85th minute when he scored a ‘goal of the season’ contender, whipping a left-footed curler into the top corner of the net to make it 2-0 and wrap up the three points for the Eastern Cape side.

Bidvest Wits 0

Chippa United (0) 2 (Julies 77’ 85’)

Wits: Keet, Allie, Khumalo, Hlatshwayo, Hlanti, Pelembe (Keene 82’), Scott, Mlambo (Pienaar 63’), Klate, Pule (Phiri 75’), Gamal

Chippa: Akpeyi, Macheke, Okwuosa, Bergman, Maphanga, Mvelase (Mbenyane 58’), Mabaso, Lentjies (Julies 64’), Mdlinzo, Mako, Sekola (Mbokoma 82’)


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Maritzburg earn a point away from home against Chippa – ABSA Premiership 2017/18


Maritzburg earn a point away from home against Chippa

Yazid Atouba of Maritzburg Utd

Brian Lee

Wednesday Oct 18, 2017. 22:11

Maritzburg United earned a valuable point away from home after playing to a goalless draw in their Absa Premiership match against Chippa United at the Nelson Mandlea Bay stadium on Wednesday night.

The point sees the Team of Choice stay in ninth place with nine points, a place and a point above Chippa in tenth place.

The first effort on goal came in the tenth minute when Lerato Manzini met a cross from Mark Mayambela, but his effort went wife of goal.

Both teams fought for ascendancy after that, but Chippa got the better of the exchanges with Kurt Lentjies trying his luck just after the half hour mark, but Richard Ofori make a good save to deny him from 18-yards out.

Maritzburg’s only chance of the half came in the 40th minute when Lebohang Maboe had a long range shot, but he saw his powerful effort saved by Daniel Akpeyi.

The half ended 0-0.

The second half saw Chippa continue to boss the game with Mayambela striking the cross bar in the 53rd minute from a 22-yard free-kick.

The game fell into a bit of a lull after that with neither side offering too much in the way of attack.

Ten minutes from time Chippa struck the woodwork once more when a Samuel Julies shot from the edge of the box struck the post.

Neither side could find the winner in the dying minutes of the match as it ended all-square.

Chippa are next in action in the league on Sunday, October 22nd against Cape Town City while Maritzburg have the weekend off due to SuperSport United’s CAF commitments.

Chippa United (0) 0

Maritzburg (0) 0


Chippa: 1 Akpeyi, 4 Macheke, 5 Konqobe, 2 Okwuosa, 17 Maphanga, 13 Mvelase (20 Mdlinzo 70’), 15 Zuke, 27 Mabaso, 11 Mayambela (9 Sekola 76’), 32 Lentjies, 25 Manzini (28 Julies 79’).

Maritzburg: 31 Ofori, 5 Weidlich, 2 Onyango (26 Shandu 87’), 25 Xulu, 3 Sanoka, 19 Rusike (22 Mokate 80’), 10 Atouba (12 Van Wyk 61’), 11 Makaringe, 15 Maboe, 8 Ndlovu, 28 Mekoa.


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Matlaba scores, but Pirates stutter at home – ABSA Premiership 2017/18


Matlaba scores, but Pirates stutter at home

Thabo Matlaba of Orlando Pirates challenged by Raymond Monama of Platinum Stars during the Absa Premiership 2017/18 football match between Orlando Pirates and Platinum Stars at FNB Stadium, Johannesburg on 18 October 2017 ©Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

Phumzile Ngcatshe

Wednesday Oct 18, 2017. 21:43

Despite scoring through skipper Thabo Matlaba, Orlando Pirates could not secure the full three points in the Absa Premiership as they drew 1-1 at the FNB Stadium against Platinum Stars on Wednesday night.

Coach Milutin Sredojevic’s team has 13 points on the log table from eight matches and are now sitting at position number three.

For the struggling Dikwena, striker Bonginkosi Ntuli netted a brilliant goal to ensure they got something out of the tie.

Following a spirited start by the visiting side, Pirates tried to force an error on Stars in the first eight minutes and goalkeeper Dino Visser cleared the ball from Mpho Makola’s path, whose attempt went straight to the keeper.

The Buccaneers regained the possession in the 14th minute and Thamsanqa Gabuza could not lower his well-struck effort right in the penalty area following a great cross from the left.

Both camps attacked towards the 20th minute and Dikwena’s Enocent Mkhabela attempted to test Wayne Sandilands from a distance, but the midfielder’s effort sailed wide in the 19th minute.

As Visser became the busiest of the two keepers towards the end of the opening half, fellow debutant Katlego Otladisa saw his effort going wide of Sandilands’ crossbar in injury time.

A minute into the second stanza, Matlaba took the matters into his own hands and beat his marker before rattling the roof of the net with a powerful left-footed shot.

Two minutes later, Ntuli made it 1-1 after shielding the ball from Abbubaker Mobara in the box from a through ball to slot it home beyond Sandiands.

Visser was called to produce a fine save to deny Qalinge from close range in the 52nd minute, with a finger-tip after a dangerous ball was whipped in from the right wing.

Before the hour mark, Milutin Sredojevic’s men received a set piece on the edge of the box and Makola’s curler hit the crossbar, with Visser beaten.

The Soweto giants looked threatening with 20 minutes to go as they probed for their second goal and Visser once again stood firm between the posts to deny Gabuza’s powerful header from the near post.

The last 10 minutes saw Roger De Sa’s charges showing some sense of urgency moving forward and Otladisa’s attempt was saved by Sandilands on his left corner.

In the wake of the result, Stars remain rooted at the bottom of the table with three points from eight league games.

Orlando Pirates (0) 1 (Matlaba 46′)

Platinum Stars (0) 1 (Ntuli 48′)

Orlando Pirates: Sandilands, Mobara, Mtshali, Nyauza, Maela, Matlaba, Nyatama (Kutumela 46′), Qalinge (Foster 83′), Lorch (Shonga 62′), Makola, Gabuza

Platinum Stars: Visser, De Jongh, Mwedihanga, Sithole, Zulu, Mere, Mkhabela, Ng’ambi (Mwila 80′), Monama (Sesinyi 51′), Otladisa, Ntuli (Msomi 77′)


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Zesco draw at home and exit CAF Confederation Cup


Zesco draw at home and exit CAF Confederation Cup

Aubrey Modiba of Supersport United challenged by Dave Daka of Zesco United during 2017 Caf Confederations Cup game between Supersport United and Zesco United at Lucas Moripe Stadium on 14 September [email protected] Kgakatsi/BackpagePix

Phumzile Ngcatshe

Saturday Sep 23, 2017. 18:40

Two goals from John Ching’andu and David Owino were not enough as Zesco United exited the CAF Confederation Cup as they drew 2-2 against SuperSport United on Saturday at Levy Mwanawasa Stadium in Ndola.

The draw in the quarterfinal, second leg means the South African Premier Soccer League side now reaches the semifinals of the tournament on away goals – the teams drew 2-2 on aggregate.

For the Tshwane side, a brace through Thuso Phala ensured they are through to the next stage and will face either Algerian side MC Alger or Tunisia’s Club Africain in the semifinals.

The hosts started the encounter on a high as they pushed for an early goal at home and their possession brought an early goal.

John Ching’andu found the back of the in the fourth minute as they rectified their errors of the opening leg away in Tshwane.

The visiting side pushed to get a goal and coach Eric Tinkler’s men pulled out all the stops when Phala netted in the 34th minute. 1-1.

Although both camps fought harder to score a leading goal, the end of the first half had both sides deadlocked at 1-1.

However, the return leg saw Zlatko Krmpotic’s men chasing the game to regain their lead and David Owino managed to score their second goal in the 50th minute.

In the dying stages of the encounter, the hosts remained stable at the back as they protected their lead.

However, the Tshwane giants would secure their spot in the final four in stoppage time as Phala completed his brace by firing home at the far post.

Zesco United (1) 2 ( Ching’andu 4′, Owino 50′)

SuperSport United (1) 2 (Phala 34′, 90+’)

Zesco United: Banda, Musekwa, Owino, Kapumbu, Mtonga, Ching’andu (Akumu 84′), Chaila, Kalengo (Kongolo 67′), Silwimba, Mwanza (Daka 72′), Were

SuperSport United: Williams, Daniels, Gould, Kekana (Nhlapo 70′), Modiba (Wome 81′), Furman, Phala, Letsholonyane, Mokoena, Brockie (Mnyamane 65′), Grobler


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Baroka regain top spot after a 2-2 draw at home – ABSA Premiership 2017/18


Baroka regain top spot after a 2-2 draw at home

Richard Matloga of Baroka FC © Sydney Mahlangu /BackpagePix

Phumzile Ngcatshe

Saturday Sep 23, 2017. 17:20

Baroka FC moved back to the summit of the Absa Premiership when they drew 2-2 against Ajax Cape Town on Saturday afternoon at Peter Mokaba Stadium.

The hosts netted through Richard Matloga and Lewis Macha, as the now have 12 points from six matches so far.

On the other hand, the visiting side scored courtesy of Roderick Kabwe and Tashreeq Morris as they secured a point.

Ajax began the proceedings on a high as they dictated the terms in the heart of the part from the first whistle.

Kabwe used their possession to good use as he netted a cracker of a goal in the second minute after unleashing a thunderous shot, beating goalkeeper Virgil Vries on his right corner.

The ninth minute saw the hosts pushing for an immediate response and Mathari Mothupa also tried a long range shot, but it went wide.

However, in the 11th minute, Bakgaga Ba Mphahlele received a penalty after the referee called for a handball in the box and Matloga converted from the spot.

The Urban Warriors pushed for another goal and Kabwe was denied by Vries from a close range and conceded a throw in.

With both sides exchanging possession in the last 15 minutes of the encounter, there were no opportunities in front of the goal – 1-1 at half time.

The Urban Warriors bounced back with more intent as they regained their lead through Morris in the 50th minute.

Morris received a wonderful pass from the right wing and he controlled the ball well, before slotting the ball into Vries’ left corner.

However, seven minutes later the hosts also found the net with a beautiful header from substitute Macha as he outjumped his opponent to beat keeper Brendon Petersen on his right corner.

Towards the last 10 minutes, the hosts keepr Vries nearly conceded as he misjudged a ball into his area, but the Mother City side failed to capitalise on the error.

Uzoenyi Ejike tried a great set piece in the last five minutes from the edge of the area, but Vries was equal to the task as the ball took a deflection.

Coach Kgoloko Thobejane’s men thought they have found a winner in the 89th minute when Gift Motupa scored, but it was ruled out for an offside.

Resulting from the stalemate, coach Stanley Menzo’s side now sit at number 10 on the log table with five points from the same number of matches.

Baroka FC (1) 2 (Matloga 12′, Macha 57′)

Ajax Cape Town (1) 2 (Kabwe 2′, Morris 50′)

Baroka FC: Vries, Shaku, Matloga (Kgaswane 61′), Ntshangase, Banda, Moeti, Masenamela, Mothupa, Madubanya, Mdantsane, Nguzana (Macha 37′)

Ajax Cape Town: Petersen, Booysen, Evans, Pietersen (Mdabuka 48′), Nhlapo, Malepe, Lebusa, Kabwe (Margeman 72′), Mosadi, Morris, Makua (Uzoenyi 46′)


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USM Alger coach wants a win at home at all costs


USM Alger coach wants a win at home at all costs

USM Alger player Hammar Ziri (C) celebrates after scoring against Caps United during the 2017 CAF Champions League game between USM Alger and Caps United in Algiers, Algeria on 9 July 2017 © BackpagePix

Scent ition

Tuesday Sep 19, 2017. 13:30

Despite scoring first in Mozambique, USM Alger coach Paul Put says they can only expect a win at home in the second leg.

The CAF Champions League first leg quarterfinal clash ended in a 1-1 draw last weekend and the coach has lashed out at the quality of the pitch.

Alger found the back of the net first through Oussama Darfalou, but they failed to clear their lines as Fabrice Kanda scored to cancel out the early goal for the visitors.


“We played against a well-organized team with some key players, who can make a difference in decisive moments of the game,” said Put.

“We have taken note of their play and the second leg will be different.

“We had to play with a low intensity because of the condition of the pitch. My players were also tired because of the long travel hours and these factors ensured my players could not give off their best.

“We cannot expect a different result other than victory in the return leg.”

Meanwile, Put will hope to get a win in the return leg set to be staged at Stade du 5 Juillet 1962 al-Jazā’ir in Algiers on Saturday, September 23.


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Al-Ubayyid beaten at home by Mazembe – 2017 CAF Champions League


Al-Ubayyid beaten at home by Mazembe

Nathan Sinkala of TP Mazembe

Graeme Jackson

Saturday Sep 16, 2017. 21:17

Sudan’s Al-Hilal Al-Ubayyid succumbed to a 2-1 home defeat at the hands of TP Mazembe in the CAF Confederation Cup on Saturday night.

The teams’ quarterfinal, first leg clash at the Al-Ubayyid Stadium was decided by a brace of goals from TPM striker Ben Malango, who helped the competition’s defending champions come from a goal down to claim the away win.

Al-Hilal enjoyed the early dominance and took the lead midway through the first half, with Mohamed Tahir’s shot finding the back of the net to put the hosts 1-0 up.

However, their advantage was short lived: the DRC giants drew level on the half hour mark through striker Ben Malango, who got in between two defenders to meet a cross and direct the ball beyond the reach of goalkeeper Akram Elhadi Salim.

The half time break saw the teams level still level, with the Congolese no doubt the happier of the two after scoring a valuable away goal.

The second half was a tense affair, with both teams looking to strike a potentially decisive blow, yet it looked set to end all square at 1-1.

Then, in the 83rd minute, Mazembe struck a blow to the hopes of their Sudanese opponents when Malango took advantage of some poor defending to net for the second time on the night and put his side 2-1 up.

The 23-year-old striker’s goals proved to the difference between the teams, with the Ravens holding out in what remained of the match to secure a valuable away victory and take a major stride toward the final four.

The return leg will be played next Sunday afternoon at the Stade TP Mazembe in Lubumbashi. The aggregate winners will face either FUS Rabat or CS Sfaxien in the semifinals.


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Al Ahly held 2-2 at home by Esperance


Al Ahly held 2-2 at home by Esperance

Al Ahly player Abdalla El Said soccer his goal during the 2017 CAF Confederations Cup game between Espérance Sportive and Al Ahly at Borg El Arab Stadium in Alexandria, Egypt on 16 September 2017

Graeme Jackson

Saturday Sep 16, 2017. 21:12

The eagerly-anticipated CAF Champions League clash between Al Ahly and Esperance de Tunis finished in a thrilling 2-2 draw on Saturday night.

The result in the teams’ quarterfinal, first leg match at the Borg El Arab Stadium outside of Alexandria leaves the Tunisians as favourites heading into next weekend’s return clash.

Al Ahly claimed an early lead when Saad Samir converted from the penalty spot in the 12th minute to make it 1-0 to the Egyptian giants.

However, the Red Devils’ ascendancy was short lived: Esperance drew level just before the midway point of the first half, with Fosseni Coulibaly providing a fine finish to make it 1-1.

The half time break saw the teams level still level, with the Tunisians no doubt the happier of the two after scoring a valuable away goal.

And the Blood and Gold didn’t have to wait long for their second to arrive: just three minutes after the restart Ghailene Chaaleli netted to put the Tunis side 2-1 up.

Midway through the second half it was the Red Devils’ turn to mount a fightback, as they drew level through Walid Azaro in the 67th minute to bring the score to 2-2.

The return leg will be played next Saturday evening at the Olympic Stadium in Rades. The aggregate winners will face either Etoile du Sahel or Al Ahly Tripoli in the semifinals.


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SuperSport eye home victory over Zesco


SuperSport eye home victory over Zesco

Michael Mabule of Platinum Stars challenges Thuso Phala of Supersport United during 2017/18 Absa Premiership game between Supersport United and Platinum Stars at Lucas Moripe Stadium on 12 September [email protected] Kgakatsi/BackpagePix

Austin Ditlhobolo

Thursday Sep 14, 2017. 14:00

SuperSport United will lock horns with Zesco United in Pretoria, South Africa on Friday.

Kick-off is at 19h00 CAT.

The 2017 CAF Confederation Cup quarter-final first-leg match will be played at the Lucas Moripe Stadium.

Matsatsantsa qualified for the last eight after finishing second in Group D in this year’s competition.

Eric Tinker, the SuperSport head coach, will be hoping to guide the South African side to the semi-finals for the first time.

Meanwhile, Zambia’s Zesco booked their place in the quarter-finals after winning Group C.

Zega Mambo, who are coached by Zlatko Krmpotić, are also hoping to reach the semi-finals of this tournament for first time.

The winner on aggregate between SuperSport and Zesco will face either Algerian side MC Alger or Tunisia’s Club Africain in the semi-finals.

Gabonese referee Eric Otogo-Castane will be in charge of the match between SuperSport and Zesco on Friday


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Ivory Coast stunned at home – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers – Africa


Ivory Coast stunned at home

Evouna Malick of Gabon (r) challenged by Nicolas Nkoulou of Cameroon during the 2017 African Cup of Nations Finals Afcon football match between Cameroon and Gabon at the Libreville Stadium in Gabon on 22 January 2017 ©Gavin Barker/BackpagePix

Graeme Jackson

Tuesday Sep 05, 2017. 21:44

Ivory Coast suffered a shock 2-1 loss at home to Gabon in Bouake on Tuesday night to put their 2018 World Cup qualifying hopes in serious jeopardy.

The Panthers were beaten 3-0 at home by the Elephants this past weekend, but the return game in Bouake produced a surprise result as the visitors claimed all three points thanks to early goals from Alex Meye Me Ndong and Mario Lemina.

The result leaves Ivory Coast at the top of the log on seven points, while Gabon move level with Morocco on five points. However, the North Africans can usurp the Elephants if they win in Mali in one of Tuesday’s late games.

Gabon claimed a shock lead in the 19th minute: a deflected long-range shot fell into the path of striker Alex Meye Me Ndong, who swept the ball past goalkeeper Sylvain Gbohouo to make it 1-0.

The Panthers doubled their advantage 10 minutes later through an absolute screamer of a long-range goal from Southampton midfielder Mario Lemina.

Yet Gabon suffered a major blow in injury time at the end of the first half when defender Lloyd Palun picked up his second yellow card and was sent for an early shower.

Ivory Coast soon took advantage of their numerical advantage to bring themselves back into the game. Substitute Maxwell Cornet latched onto a fine through ball and whipped home a left-footed shot to halve the deficit.

Yet that was as good as it got for the home side, who were unable to fight their way to parity in the remaining time and suffered a loss which will put the pressure back on coach Marc Wilmots.

Ivory Coast (0) 1 (Cornet 58’)

Gabon (2) 2 (Me Ndong 19’, Lemina 29’)

Ivory Coast: Gbohouo, Aurier, Bailly, Kanon, Kessie, Traore (Assale 72’), Gervinho, Seri, Doumbia, Gradel, Kalou (Cornet 53’)

Gabon: Bitseki, Palun, Appidangoye, Manga, Nzambe, Lemina (Oto’o 77’), Tandjigora, Bouanga (Wachter 46’), Akue, Autchanga, Me Ndong


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We can win both home and away against Zambia – Algeria coach – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers – Africa


Graeme Jackson

Thursday Aug 31, 2017. 11:00

Algeria have the ability to defeat Zambia both home and away in their upcoming 2018 World Cup qualifiers, according to coach Lucas Alcaraz.

The teams will meet in back-to-back Group B encounters in Lusaka and Constantine on Saturday and Tuesday respectively.

The North Africans, who have appeared at the last two World Cup tournaments in 2010 and 2014, find themselves at the bottom of the log, five points off the pace set by leaders Nigeria.

They’ll need to pull off something special against Chipolopolo to give themselves a chance of reaching Russia 2018, but Spanish coach Alcaraz reckons they have a great chance.

“I think we have the means to win in Lusaka and Constantine three days later, but we will have to prove it on the field,” the Algeria coach said in a press conference on Wednesday.

“The group is aware of the task ahead. We are currently preparing with desire to go global and try to preserve our chances to win these two crucial games against Zambia.”

He added, “We are approaching these two games with five points less than the leader of the group, and it is a decisive turning point, we must not make any calculations, but victory is imperative.”

The Fennec Foxes boss admits that managing the workload of training, travel and playing two games just three days apart is tough, but he is prepared for the difficulties which lie ahead.

“To play two intense games in three days is difficult, we cannot do anything about this situation, we have to adapt,” explained Alcaraz.

“I have to allow players to recover and use as many players as possible in these two meetings so as not to make them fatigued.”


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Atlas Lions aim for home win in 2018 qualifiers – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers – Africa


Atlas Lions aim for home win in 2018 qualifiers

Nabil Dirar of Morocco evades tackle from Mahmoud Hassan Trezeguet of Egypt during the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations Finals football Quarter Final match between Egypt and Morocco at the Port Gentil Stadium in Gabon on 29 January 2017 ©Chris Ricco/BackpagePix

Graeme Jackson

Tuesday Aug 29, 2017. 17:30

Morocco will target a home win over Mali when the teams meet in a Group C 2018 World Cup qualifier at Stade Moulay Abdellah in Rabat on Friday, kick-off at 22h00 CAT.

Morocco have played to two draws in their campaign thus far, holding Gabon 0-0 away before playing out a stalemate at home to group leaders Ivory Coast. The North Africans are second on the standing on two points, two behind the Elephants.

Mali, meanwhile, are bottom of the standings on one point. They lost their opener 3-1 away to Ivory Coast and could only manage a goalless stalemate at home to Gabon in their second outing.

The Eagles will be desperate to pick up a positive result against the Atlas Lions and keep alive their hopes of reaching the World Cup finals for the first time. Yet coach Alain Giresse is wary of the threat posed by Morocco.

“[Morocco] is a good team, the players are experienced and have played for big clubs. They rely on a well-oiled collective and use a variable system,” the Mali coach told the press.

The Frenchman added, “We have to get back on our feet, because the two matches that are waiting for Mali are very important.

“We will take care not to make the same mistakes as the opening game against the Elephants.

“We will have to be supportive and very disciplined tactically because in Bouaké we played with three or four youngsters and it was very difficult.”

Giresse’s counterpart is compatriot Herve Renard, who has won a major battle in convincing experienced defender Mehdi Benatia to return to the national team set-up.

Renard, who won the Africa Cup of Nations with both Zambia and Ivory Coast, has also recalled Hakim Ziyech, handed maiden call-ups to Mohamed Ounajem, Amine Khammass and Soufiane Alakouch, as well as leaving out big names like Zouhair Feddal and Sofiane Boufal.

Morocco and Mali have not been regular combatants down the years, meeting in just 17 matches across all competitions according to FIFA’s statistics database.

The Atlas Lions have the better record, but only just: they have seven victories compared to five for the Eagles, while five matches have been drawn. The North Africans have managed an impressive 25 goals in that sequence, while conceding just 12.

The teams will be meeting in World Cup qualifiers for the first time. Their most recent match against each other was a friendly played at the Stade de Marrakech in Morocco on 6 March 2013. The Atlas Lions claimed a 2-1 win on home soil.

Cameroonian referee Sidi Alioum will take charge of the match in Rabat. The return game will be played at the Stade du 26 Mars in Bamako on September 5.


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Uzoenyi: Cape Town is like home – ABSA Premiership 2017/18


Bertin Basson

Wednesday Aug 16, 2017. 20:00

Three years after being named 2014 African Nations Championship (CHAN) Player of the Tournament, Ejike Uzoenyi makes a return to Cape Town.

The Nigeria international recently joined Ajax Cape Town, with the wing-wizard desperate to re-ignite the form that earned him continental recognition.

Uzoenyi, who is best remembered for the brace he scored against Bafana Bafana in the Mother City, would go on to represent the Super Eagles at the FIFA World Cup in Brazil that same year.

Spells at Mamelodi Sundowns and Bidvest Wits would duly follow, but injury has hampered what promised to be a blossoming career.


Back in Cape Town, Uzoenyi hopes to return to his best form as the Urban Warriors aim to improve on what was a disappointing 2016-17 Premier Soccer League (PSL) campaign.

“Cape Town is like a home for me, Cape Town gave me a platform and changed my life,” Uzoenyi told the SABC.

“I am happy to be back, I have a good feeling about being back in Cape Town and I am positive that things will work out for me here. This feels like home and I am delighted to be back,” he concluded.


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Botswana star Ngele awaits documents from SA Home Affairs – ABSA Premiership 2017/18 – Mamelodi Sundowns


Botswana star Ngele awaits documents from SA Home Affairs

Mogakolodi Ngele of Bidvest Wits challenged by Bandile Shandu of Maritzburg United during the Absa Premiership 2016/17 match between Maritzburg United and Bidvest Wits at Harry Gwala Stadium, Pietermaritzburg South Africa on 20 December 2016 ©Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

Austin Ditlhobolo

Tuesday Aug 15, 2017. 14:00

Mamelodi Sundowns have released a statement concerning some of their foreign players including Botswana international Mogakolodi Ngele.

The 26-year-old forward has returned to the South African Premier Soccer League (EPL) giants following a successful loan spell with Bidvest Wits.

The midfielder-cum-striker helped Wits clinch the 2016 MTN8 Cup and 2016/17 ABSA Premiership last season during his stint with the South African club.

Ngele and Zimbabwean international Cuthbert Malajila, who also spent last season on loan at Wits, are still waiting for their South African permanent residency papers.

Sundowns, who lost 1-0 to Maritzburg United in the 2017 MTN8 Cup quarter-final match in Pretoria, released a statement on their official website.

A club statement read: “Dennis Onyango is out sick, while Ricardo Nascimento is still recovering from a groin operation.

“Mogakolodi Ngele and Cuthbert Malajila are still waiting for their permanent residency papers.

“Ghanaian goalkeeper Razak Brimah is awaiting his ITC papers from Spain.”

Ngele has spent five years in South Africa plying his trade in the PSL. He joined Platinum Stars from Botswana giants Township Rollers in 2012.

He signed for Sundowns in 2014 after playing an important role as Stars won the 2013 MTN8 Cup and 2013 Telkom KnockOut Cup.


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SA’s Ntlhe finds new home in England


Austin Ditlhobolo

Friday Jul 28, 2017. 14:00

English club Rochdale AFC have announced the signing of South Africa international Kgosi Ntlhe.

The left-back underwent a successful trial stint at the English League One side, before sealing his move to the club.

Ntlhe, who was released by English outfit Stevenage earlier this month, played for Rochdale against FC Halifax, Middlesbrough and Barnsley during pre-season.

The 23-year-old told Rochdale’s official website that he is delighted to have signed a contract with the club.

“I’m very happy. I’ve been here for a few weeks now, training with the boys. At first it was quite tough, but now I’m used to it and I’m really enjoying my time here,” he said.

“I’ve been wanting to work with him (Rochdale manager Keith Hill) for a very long time and he’s a very good manager.

“He’s demanding. He never lets you rest. He’s always on your back and I think that’s what most players need,” he continued.

“I’m happy to come back and play in League One, especially for the Gaffer, because I’ve been wanting to play for him for a few years now, and I’m glad to have that chance.”

Ntlhe had a chat with former Rochdale player Nathaniel Mendez-Laing, who he was teammates with at Peterborough United, before coming to Dale.

“I spoke to Mendez last year and he mentioned Joe [Bunney] was doing really well, so it’s unfortunate that he’s injured. Hopefully when he’s back we can compete against each other and it will bring the best out of me and Joe,” he added.

“He [NML] also told us the Manager is very demanding and that’s the type of person I need.”


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Mali target home victory over Gambia


Austin Ditlhobolo

Thursday Jul 20, 2017. 17:00

Mali will welcome Gambia in the 2018 African Nations Championship (CHAN) qualifier on Saturday.

Kick-off is at 19h00 CAT.

The Zone West A second-leg match will take place at the Stade Modibo Kéïta in Mali’s capital city, Bamako.

The Eagles were held to a goalless draw by Gambia in the first-leg clash at the Independence Stadium in Bakau last weekend.

Mali will be confident of beating the Scorpians at home in front of their passionate supporters.

Gambia have never qualified for the CHAN finals, while Mali have participated in the last three finals.

The winner on aggregate between Mali and Gambia will meet either Liberia or Mauritania in the second round.

Mauritania are leading against Liberia on aggregate after winning the first-leg clash 2-0 in Monrovia last weekend.

Referee Nabil Boukhalfa, who hails from Algeria, is the man, who will be in charge of the match between Mali and Gambia.


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Algeria to switch Zambia home qualifier from Blida to Constantine – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers – Africa


Algeria to switch Zambia home qualifier from Blida to Constantine

Adlane Guedioura of Algeria challenges Mohamed Ben Amor of Tunisia during the Afcon Group B match between Algeria and Tunisia on the 19 January 2017 at Franceville Stadium, Gabon Pic Sydney Mahlangu/ BackpagePix

Graeme Jackson

Monday Jul 10, 2017. 19:00

Algeria intend on moving their home 2018 World Cup qualifier against Zambia on September 5 to the Mohamed Hamlaoui Stadium in Constantine, it was revealed this past weekend.

The Fennec Foxes and Chipololo will meet in a double header in Group B in the next two rounds of 2018 World Cup qualifying matches, with the teams first meeting in a Matchday 3 clash in Lusaka at the National Heroes Stadium on September 2.

Three days later they will meet in the return game in Constantine, rather than the expected venue of Mustapha Tchaker Stadium in Blida.

Kheireddine Zetchi of the Algerian FA confirmed the development in a press conference this past weekend: “We will play the first leg against Zambia on September 2 in Lusaka and three days later we will face Same team here in Algeria.

“We plan to organise the meeting in Constantine. This is a decision we made after a first delegation visited the city. I can even tell you that the report was very positive.”

Zetchi added, “Even the players are not against the idea of playing the encounter of Zambia in Constantine.

“Indeed, they want to discover new cities and perform in towns in the interior of the country. That’s why we opted for the Constantine Stadium.”

It was also confirmed that 32,000 tickets will be sold for the match against Zambia at the Mohamed Hamlaoui Stadium


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Wydad Casablanca target Zanaco scalp at home


Wydad Casablanca target Zanaco scalp at home

Al-Ahly player Ahmed Fathy (L) in action against Zanaco player Augustine Mulenga (R) during the African Champions League

Austin Ditlhobolo

Saturday Jul 08, 2017. 13:00

Wydad Casablanca will play host to Zanaco in the 2017 CAF Champions League Group D match at the Stade Mohamed V in Casablanca on Saturday.

Kick-off is at 20h00 CAT.

Casablanca overcame Cameroonian club Coton Sport 2-0 in their previous group match which was played in Garoua last weekend.

The victory sees the Moroccan club placed second on the Group D standings with nine points. They are two points behind group leaders Zanaco.

A win over the Zanaco will see Casablanca finish at the top of the group and qualify for the knockout stages of this year’s tournament.

Meanwhile, Zanaco held Egyptian giants Al Ahly to a goalless stalemate in their previous group match which was played in Lusaka last weekend.

The draw sees the Zambian side placed at the top of the Group D standings with 11 points. They are three points above third placed Al Ahly.

A draw with Casablanca will be enough to send Zanaco to the quarter-finals of this year’s competition, even if Al Ahly beat Coton Sport in their final group match.

South African referee Daniel Bennett is the man, who will be in charge of the encounter between Casablanca and Zanaco.


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