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Yesterday — May 7th 2021Your RSS feeds

Benni McCarthy makes early call: AmaZulu will be in the CAF Champions League

May 7th 2021 at 09:06

AmaZulu coach Benni McCarthy is confident his charges will secure second position in the DStv Premiership this season and clinch a spot in the CAF Champions League.

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Usuthu have opened a seven-point lead over third-placed Golden Arrows, and eight points over Orlando Pirates, with only four matches left to play.

The Durban outfit will face Baroka FC, Orlando Pirates, Swallows, Maritzburg United in their remaining games and McCarthy is convinced they will get through them well.

The last time a KwaZulu-Natal team qualified for the Champions League was Manning Rangers in 1998.

READ | AL AHLY V MAMELODI SUNDOWNS: DATES CONFIRMED FOR CAF CHAMPIONS LEAGUE CLASH

“Believe you me‚ the next four games I can’t see AmaZulu losing those four games‚” said McCarthy, as quoted by Sowetan.

“So CAF Champions League – we will be playing CAF Champions League [next season]‚ so that brings new challenges.

“With new challenges we can’t just expect to bring a whole new team in because the players that work for us have done their duty for the club. We now have to look and scout and see which three‚ four‚ five players we can bring in and make what we already have better.

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“That’s how it works – it’s not that we’re going to make wholesome changes. We’re not that type of team that goes and recruit a new team for the new challenges.

“We work with what we have – for the players that got us there it will be a reward for their hard work. You can’t up and get rid of them.

“But there will be a few new faces that will come in and assist the good team that we already have so we can be ready and competitive for Caf Champions League.”

EXCLUSIVE | TOP KAIZER CHIEFS DEFENDER FACES BLEAK FUTURE

AMAZULU’S REMAINING DSTV PREMIERSHIP MATCHES:

Tuesday, 11 May v Baroka FC (H) – 15:00

Wednesday, 19 May v Orlando Pirates (A) – 15:00

Wednesday, 26 May v Swallows (H) – 19:30

Saturday, 29 May v Maritzburg United (A) – 15:00

NEW QUIZ | ANSWER THESE 5 EASY SOCCER QUESTIONS AND YOU COULD WIN R1 000!

Could Sundowns get Pitso Mosimane fired at Al Ahly?

May 7th 2021 at 06:07

If you’re looking for a trigger happy football boss in South Africa you look no further than Siviwe “Chippa” Mpengesi – the chairman of Chippa United – who does not hesitate to sack coaches when the results are not satisfying.

ALSO READ:  Pitso Mosimane asks Al Ahly to table an offer for Sundowns’ Peter Shalulile

In Egypt, Al Ahly president Mahmoud “Bibo” El Khatib operates in the same manner as a string of three bad results could lead to dismissal.

Current Al Ahly head coach, Pitso Mosimane, has been under the spotlight of criticism of late as his side are going through a bit of a slump in the Egyptian League where they find themselves at second place behind arch rivals Zamalek, having collected 40 points in 18 games.

The Red Devils play against Mosimane’s former side, Mamelodi Sundowns, in the Caf Champions League quarterfinal and that could well be his final match in charge of the defending champions if he loses over two legs to his former employers.

The Champions League, is a competition that Ahly pride themselves on, as they usually cruise in the domestic league where they have won it in the last five seasons. Mosimane is under a lot of pressure to successfully defend the Champions League.

If Sundowns beat Al Ahly over the two-legged affair, there is no reason to not believe that he could lose his job, and how ironic would it be for him if the side which he abandoned last September, becomes the team responsible for his demise.

Mosimane delivered the first Champions League crown to the Cairo-based side in seven years and that being the first under the presidency of “Bibo”, but getting eliminated at this stage will irk the powers that be as part of his mandate is to win the Champions League.

Even though “Jingles” did lead the side to a domestic treble in his first couple of games, a lot of criticism has been levelled at the former Bafana Bafana coach, with some legends of the club questioning his abilities while some have lambasted him for riding on his predecessor, Rene Weiler’s hard work as “Jingles” arrived to find the side already in the semifinals of the Champions League and the league had long been wrapped up.

Moustafa Younes, who represented the Club of the Century in the 70s and 80s, told Kingfut that Mosimane had stolen Weiler’s limelight and went on to express his lack of belief in “Jingles”.

“He took Weiler’s job and stole his successes after his departure in the midst of competitions, and any one of Al Ahly’s ‘sons’ is way better than Mosimane. I said before that I will wait and rate Pitso Mosimane at the end of the first leg of the league, and I discovered that he had stolen René Weiler’s success,” Youness told Kingfut.

He added: “No one talks to me about the fatigue problem in Al Ahly. They are the best team in Egypt. Al Ahly is used to accept Zamalek’s gifts and take advantage of them and secure the league title. However, the new thing this season is not only that Al Ahly reject Zamalek’s gifts, but instead gift them new ones.”

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Mamelodi Sundowns’ Themba Zwane in race against time to be fit for Al Ahly

May 6th 2021 at 04:34

Mamelodi Sundowns midfielder Themba Zwane is facing at least a week on the sidelines after suffering a hamstring injury in midweek, according to co-coach Manqoba Mngqithi.

MUST READ | FOUR THINGS THAT COST BENNI MCCARTHY THE BAFANA BAFANA JOB

Themba Zwane, the reigning PSL Player of the Year, sustained the injury during Wednesday’s 2-0 triumph over Maritzburg United and is now facing a race against time to be fit for the crunch CAF Champions League clash with Al Ahly next week.

Sphelele Mkhulise also picked up a minor injury in the Maritzburg match, but the prognosis appears to be slightly more positive for the 25-year-old.

Mngqithi told SuperSport TV: “According to the doctors Themba Zwane’s injury never looked like a grade two.

“They are hopeful that maybe in a week or 10 days he might be back.

“Mkhulise’s one we don’t think it is something very heavy. We are hopeful that he will come back.

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“It is just that it is a very difficult muscle to know what is going to happen. But we are hopeful that they will be able to come back.

“We also took them out early to make sure that we don’t exacerbate the injuries.”

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Themba Zwane has made 31 appearances in all competitions this season, bagging 12 goals and providing five assists in the process.

Mkhulise, meanwhile, has featured in 26 matches, including seven in the CAF Champions League, scoring once.

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Mamelodi Sundowns' Themba Zwane in race against time to be fit for Al Ahly

Mamelodi Sundowns midfielder Themba Zwane faces at least a week on the sidelines after suffering a hamstring injury.

Is Pitso Mosimane distracted at Al Ahly by SAFA’s Bafana job approach?

May 4th 2021 at 13:36

Monday evening saw Pitso Mosimane’s Al Ahly fail to close the gap on league leaders Zamalek after a 1-0 shock loss to Ghazl El-Mahalla.

A 35th-minute strike gave the home side a shock lead against the “Red Devils” with Ashrad Mohamed Sayed’s thundering strike from range beating Egyptian international keeper Mohamed El-Shenawy.

That away defeat means that Mosimane’s charges remain all of four points behind rivals Zamalek who occupy top spot.

This is the second game in succession that Al Ahly dropped points after speculation was rife recently that top SAFA officials were trying to lure Mosimane back to the SAFA clubhouse for the Bafana Bafana job.

Since then, the Red Devils dropped points in a 1-1 draw at home to 11th-placed El Gouna as well as Monday night’s draw with their eighth-placed opponents.

Is Al Ahly paying the price for a distracted Pitso Mosimane?

Those are two games that the Al Ahly faithful would expect Mosimane’s boys to win convincingly, and the nature of the last two results might have them raising their eyebrows.

According to media reports, the former Mamelodi Sundowns mentor was the subject of rife interest from SAFA.

In fact, it is believed that SAFA was so desperate to land the serial trophy winner, upon their initial failed attempt they asked the country’s President Cyril Ramaphosa to try and convince him.

SAFA’s failed attempt at luring Mosimane back home

The man who led Mamelodi Sundowns to their maiden CAF Champions League title is thought to harbour no ambitions of returning to the Bafana fold at the moment.

“Jingles” as Mosimane is affectionately known, spent two years as Bafana Bafana coach between 2010-2012 in a rather ill-fated stint.

Unfortunately for him, his national team coaching spell is perhaps best remembered for the Bafana squad prematurely celebrating an AFCON 2012 spot before finding out they had missed out due to CAF’s head-to-head rule.

Having unequivocally turned down SAFA’s approach, perhaps Mosimane’s loyalty is not something the Al Ahly supporters should be worried about.

They, however, will be hoping that if he has indeed been distracted he managed to shake it off very soon.

With the Egyptian giants facing three crucial fixtures against Al Ittihad, log leaders Zamalek and former side Mamelodi Sundowns in the next eight days, there will be minimal room for error.

Double injury scare for Mamelodi Sundowns ahead of Al Ahly showdown

May 3rd 2021 at 05:44

Mamelodi Sundowns received a double injury scare ahead of their CAF Champions League quarter-final against Egyptian giants Al Ahly.

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After a three-match winless run in the DStv Premiership, Mamelodi Sundowns beat Orlando Pirates 3-0 in a convincing performance.

All three goals came in the second half at the Orlando Stadium courtesy of Ricardo Nascimento from the penalty spot (58th minute), Peter Shalulile (76th) and Lyle Lakay (80th minute).

The victory moved the Brazilians back to the top of the log.

However, their afternoon wasn’t all positive after both striker Kermit Erasmus and midfielder Aubrey Modiba picked up injuries.

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Kermit Erasmus fell to the ground after a collision at the end of the first half left him with an injury to his left foot.

The 30-year-old was unable to continue and was substituted at half-time by Gift Motupa.

Then in the 63rd minute Mamelodi Sundowns were hit by another injury to Aubrey Modiba who was brought off for Lyle Lakay.

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The quarter-final draw of the CAF Champions League saw Mamelodi Sundowns pitted against Al Ahly in the stand-out tie of the playoffs.

Al Ahly will host Mamelodi Sundowns in the first leg in Egypt on the weekend of 14-16 May, with the second leg match will be held in South Africa on 21-23 May.

Masandawana will be holding thumbs their star duo will be fit to board the plane to Cairo next week.

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Kaizer Chiefs v Mamelodi Sundowns in CAF Champions League final? It could happen!

May 1st 2021 at 05:58

It will take a couple of victories from both sides over some formidable opposition, but Kaizer Chiefs could face Mamelodi Sundowns in an all-South African CAF Champions League final!

READ | GAVIN HUNT COMMENTS ON KAIZER CHIEFS’ CAF CHAMPIONS LEAGUE DRAW

The two Mzansi teams were drawn on opposite sides of the draw on Friday.

Kaizer Chiefs would’ve been happy enough with their quarter-final opponents Simba SC.

Amakhosi will host the first leg on 14-15 May and will look to take a handy lead into the second leg a week later in Tanzania.

Should Gavin Hunt’s men emerged victorious, they will take on either MC Alger or Wydad Athletic Club in the semi-finals.

READ | ORLANDO PIRATES’ WORST FEARS REALISED IN CAF CONFEDERATION CUP LAST 8 DRAW

Meanwhile, Mamelodi Sundowns face a blockbuster last 8 tie against former coach Pitso Mosimane’s new side, Egypt’s Al Ahly.

Al Ahly have blown hot and cold in recent weeks and if the Brazilians can pick up a goal – or more – in the opening leg in Cairo, they will fancy their chances of progressing to the semi-finals after the second leg in Pretoria.

MUST READ | MAMELODI SUNDOWNS DRAW PITSO MOSIMANE’S AL AHLY IN CAF CL QUARTER-FINALS!

Should that be the case, in the last 4 Masandawana will take on either CR Belouizdad or Esperance de Tunis in what looks on paper like a winnable match.

Mamelodi Sundowns won the title back in 2016, while Kaizer Chiefs have never reached the quarter-finals in their history, let alone the final.

The final is scheduled for Saturday, 17 July.

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Gavin Hunt comments on Kaizer Chiefs’ CAF Champions League draw

May 1st 2021 at 04:54

Kaizer Chiefs coach Gavin Hunt learnt of his team’s CAF Champions League quarter-final draw en route to Bloemfontein.

READ | ORLANDO PIRATES’ WORST FEARS REALISED IN CAF CONFEDERATION CUP LAST 8 DRAW

Amakhosi were drawn to face Tanzanian side Simba SC in the last 8 at Friday’s much-anticipated draw in Cairo.

Gavin Hunt was quick to point out that Simba SC would provide a stern test for Kaizer Chiefs, saying: “Any team you draw now is a tough draw. Simba had a good group stage, they beat Al Ahly. They are certainly a side we can’t take lightly. It will be a very tough game either way and we will just concentrate on our next game and we will take it from there.”

MUST READ | MAMELODI SUNDOWNS DRAW PITSO MOSIMANE’S AL AHLY IN CAF CL QUARTER-FINALS!

Kaizer Chiefs will host Simba SC in the first leg on 14-15 May followed by the second leg a week later in Tanzania (21-22 May).

The winner of the tie will face either MC Alger or Wydad Athletic Club in the semi-finals.

Meanwhile, Kaizer Chiefs will next be in action on Saturday, 1 May in a DStv Premiership match against Bloemfontein Celtic at 15:00.

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Mokwena welcomes ‘competitive draw’ that pits Sundowns against former coach Pitso Mosimane

April 30th 2021 at 14:27

Rulani Mokwena has reacted to Mamelodi Sundowns being drawn against former coach, Pitso Mosimane’s Al Ahly in the Caf Champions League quarter-finals.

ALSO READ: ‘Dream match’ happens early as Sundowns draw Pitso’s Al Ahly, Chiefs get Simba

Sundowns and Al Ahly will play in what has been described as a ‘dream match’ and a ‘final before the final’ in early May.

Mokwena said they knew that they’d have to meet Ahly at some point.

“We knew the permutations from the beginning that we could either have a trip to Algeria or a trip to Egypt… We had three permutations and of the three, (we know that) all of the teams in the last eight are very good teams with very good coaches,” said Mokwena on Friday.

He suggested that Sundowns will be underdogs going into the match with a lot of expectation falling on the shoulders of the Egyptian giants.

“Al Ahly are the defending champions and they have the pressure to retain the trophy. We consider it a very competitive draw, against a very good team with a very good coach. He is someone we have a lot of respect for, I personally have a lot of respect because of the role he played in my coaching career as a coach, as a leader and as a mentor.

“He is someone I have learnt a lot from. We are looking forward to the challenge.”

They did it! Kaizer Chiefs reach Champions League quarterfinals

April 10th 2021 at 17:08

 

And they are through. Yes, Kaizer Chiefs are through to the knockout stages of the Caf Champions League after holding Horoya to a 2-2 draw away in Guinea on Saturday night.

Both sides finished on nine points in Group C, but Chiefs’ two away goals meant they beat Horoya in a head-to-head match up.

The best part is that Amakhosi showed so much showed character and resilience to come from behind twice to book their slot in the quarterfinals.

It was a difficult game and Chiefs almost lost Erick Mathoho, after he came off the worst in a head collision with a Horoya defender just 10 minutes into the match, and had to play the rest of the game with a bandaged head.

Horoya came close to opening the scoring in the 15th minute with Barry Gnagna’s header sailing just over Itumeleng Khune’s goal. But the keeper looked like he had it covered anyway.

Khune made a good block in the 26th minute to deny the hosts, who were pushing to grab an early lead, which would put their visitors under tremendous pressure. In the 32nd minute, Gnagna had another good chance, but he tried to play it too clever and allowed Amakhosi to regroup at the back.

After that, Horoya camped in the Amakhosi half, and it was chance after chance but they just couldn’t break the defence, and on an odd occasion they managed to, Khune was on hand to deal with the danger.

But it was a matter of time before Horoya would get it right and it happened in the 45th minute, with Gnagna sending his header from a corner kick beyond Khune’s reach to give the home side an advantage going into the half time break.

It was still all Horoya after the break, and Mandela Ocansey should have done better with his chance in the 48th minute when he had only Khune to beat, but ballooned his shot over.

Chiefs were lucky not to have a penalty awarded against them after Daniel Cardoso looked to have felled Boniface Haba inside the box, leading to some heated altercations between both sets of players.

Chiefs started finding some rhythm and were awarded a penalty in the 65th minute after a Horoya defender handled the ball as he tried to disposes Dumisani Zuma, who had just come on and was proving to be a handful. Daniel Cardoso fired the penalty into the roof of the net.

Just as Amakhosi were thinking they could cause an upset, they were immediately caught at the back as they could npt defend from a corner and Fode Camara nodded past Khune to make it 2-1, and leave Chiefs with all to do again.

But it didn’t take the Naturena side long to find an equaliser with, Zuma setting up Khama Billiat nicely inside the Horoya box, and the latter made no mistake and made it 2-2.

Horoya tried for another goal, but Khune pulled off some signature saves to ensure Chiefs took their place as one of the top eight sides on the continent.

Gritty nine-man Chiefs eke out win

April 3rd 2021 at 14:09

Kaizer Chiefs showed their grit and fought for an important win with nine men in a Caf Champions League match against Wydad Athletic at FNB Stadium on Saturday evening.

The win gives Amakhosi a fighting chance to advance to the knockout stages of the competition, but they will need to win or get a score draw in their last fixture which is away at Horoya AC in Guinea.

Horoya also won on Saturday night, beating Petro De Luanda 1-0 away to keep their second place in Group C of the continental competition. This left Amakhosi still stuck in third place and with a mammoth task in Guinea.

And they will have to do the battle without two of their influential players in Daniel Akpeyi and Samir Nurkovic who were red-carded in Saturday’s game.

Tempers flared up and the tension was almost visible between the two sides and just 13 minutes into the match, the referee had to break up a scuffle. Amakhosi striker, Samir Nurkovic got into a head-butting incident with Wydad’s Amine Farhane – both got themselves early entries into the referee’s bad books with yellow cards after the scuffle.

It was clear that Amakhosi were the more determined – and probably desperate – of the two sides and sometimes unnecessarily hurried their attacks. At the other end, the Moroccans’ keeper took his sweet time to restart the game whenever the ball went out. And their players went down at the slighted of touches that even a feather would have brought them down.

They took their time to get up and in one incident, one was seem to be getting his head up and looked like calling his teammates and signalling that he was okay but would stay down a little longer. They knew that Amakhosi were getting frustrated and agitated with each minute that went by without scoring or even making meaningful headway upfront.

Things took a turn for the worst for Amakhosi when, in the 40 minutes, Akpeyi was sent off. He had handled the ball outside of his area and tried to cheat by tracking back inside with it.

Amakhosi had to sacrifice an infield player so Itumeleng Khune could go in and it was Lebogang Manyama who bore a look of disappointment as he walked out. And from the resultant free-kick, Wydad came so close to among the lead, with Sofiane Moudane’s curled ball hitting the upright and ricocheting away with Khune well beaten.

But things turned out better for Amakhosi at the start of the second half with Benard Parker scoring an easy header three minutes after the break. This goal gave Amakhosi some confidence back and they didn’t look like they were a man short.

But with two minutes to the end, Amakhosi were further reduced to nine men as Nurkovic was given a straight red after elbowing an opponent.

For more news your way, download The Citizen’s app for iOS and Android.

Sundowns play out bore-draw in Sudan

April 2nd 2021 at 11:21

A much-changed Mamelodi Sundowns played out one of their duller matches this season on Good Friday, drawing 0-0 with Al Hilal Omdurman in the Caf Champions League.

ALSO READ: Parker sets sights on Kaizer Chiefs win over Wydad

The experimentation in various positions was understandable from the Sundowns coaches, in what was a dead rubber for Downs as they had already won Group B and reached the quarterfinals. Manqoba Mngqithi and Rulani Mokwena decided to rest most of their regular suspects, giving rare starts to Aubrey Modiba, Mauricio Affonso, Ricardo Goss and Promise Mkhuma, just to name a few, and restoring club captain Hlompho Kekana after he had missed the previous eight games.

Around the hour-mark, the coaches realised that the combinations were not coming together as Downs uncharacteristically created few threatening chances. They then rang the changes, bringing on Haashim Domingo, Lyle Lakay and Keletso Makgalwa in an attempt to inject some energy in the side’s attack, as Gaston Sirino – who was replaced by Domingo – also looked out of sorts.

Those changes did not do much as they settled for the point in Northeast Africa ahead of their final group stage match against Algerian side CR Belouizdad. Before that, Masandawana will be in domestic action this coming Tuesday against Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivhandila in the DStv Premiership.

Sundowns are enjoying their view at the top of the Premiershipwith 40 points from 18 games and are four points ahead of second-placed Golden Arrows – a margin which could be narrowed when Abafana Bes’thende visit Swallows FC on Saturday.

For more news your way, download The Citizen’s app for iOS and Android.

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