Lebogang Manyama ended a 26-month South African Premiership goal drought by scoring twice as Kaizer Chiefs began the new season with a 3-2 win at Highlands Park Sunday.
The former South Africa midfielder opened the scoring after five minutes in front of a capacity 10,000 crowd at Makhulong Stadium 45 kilometres northeast of Johannesburg.
After Highlands had gone ahead with goals either side of half-time from Rodney Ramagalela and Namibian Peter Shalulile, Manyama struck again on 50 minutes to equalise.
An Eric Mathoho shot seven minutes from time which took a wicked deflection won the match for Chiefs, one of the most popular football clubs in the country but without a trophy since 2015.
“We have been through a rough patch over the last couple of years but I think today we showed what can be achieved and the team can only get better from here,” Manyama said.
It was an encouraging start for Chiefs at a ground where few visiting teams win as the Soweto outfit seek to put a disastrous last season behind them.
They finished a humiliating ninth in the Premiership and were stunned by second-tier TS Galaxy in the FA Cup final.
Chiefs changed coaches midway through the 2018/2019 campaign with German Ernst Middendorp replacing Italian Giovanni Solinas.
“We had the edge over Highlands Park in quality and had to be patient,” said Middendorp, who has been resident in South Africa for more than a decade.
“The crowd was amazing today and this is the season where we have to play for our supporters. We attract many capacity crowds and then do not show up.
“But I think the situation is going to get better,” added Middendorp, who previously coached Chiefs a decade ago with minimal success.
Chiefs lie fourth after the opening round, behind Bidvest Wits, Orlando Pirates and defending champions Mamelodi Sundowns on goal difference.
Golden Arrows and Polokwane City were the other clubs to secure maximum points in the opening round.
Sibusiso Mbonani scored a minute before half-time to earn Polokwane a 1-0 away win over Black Leopards, who hired French coach Lionel Soccoia during the close season.
Soccoia replaced Maltese Dylan Kerr, who quit after complaining of constant interference from club officials.
Arrows netted in the first minute of the second half through a Michael Gumede lob to edge Maritzburg United 1-0 in Durban.
Cricket South Africa sacks Gibson and his entire coaching staff
The clean-out comes shortly before a tour of India next month during which South Africa will play
Ottis Gibson and his entire South African coaching team and management staff have lost their jobs, Cricket South Africa (CSA) announced on Sunday. The decision, taken during a board meeting last week, follows a disastrous South African World Cup campaign in which the Proteas finished seventh of the 10 teams.
The clean-out comes shortly before a tour of India next month during which South Africa will play their first three Test matches in the new world Test championship.
In a statement, CSA said a football-style team manager would be appointed, who would take charge of all aspects of the national team, including the appointment of a coaching staff, the captain or captains and medical and administrative personnel.
The team manager will report directly to a Director of Cricket, a new position. Former South African player Corrie van Zyl, currently in charge of cricket pathways at CSA, will be acting Director of Cricket until a full-time appointment is made.
The statement said Van Zyl and CSA chief executive Thabang Moroe would appoint an interim management team for the tour of India as well as an interim selection panel and captain. Faf du Plessis, the current captain, was on Saturday night named South African Cricketer of the Year and it would be a surprise if he was replaced.
Sunday’s statement said none of the current team management, including coaches, would be retained. “This change will herald an exciting new era for the SA cricket and will bring us into line with best practice in professional sport,” said Moroe.
Former West Indian player and coach Gibson was appointed South African team coach in 2017. His contract was due to expire next month.
Gibson said during the recent Cricket World Cup that he was keen to continue in the job but his prospects plummeted when South Africa were among the first teams to be eliminated from contention for a World Cup semi-final place.
Van Zyl, 57, played in one unofficial Test during South Africa’s years of isolation and in two one-day internationals in 1992 following the country’s return to official international cricket. He had a brief spell as South African coach between 2009 and 2011.
Ex-South African footballer Marc Batchelor killed in drive-by shooting
Police said the motive of the attack was unknown and that no arrests had yet been made
Former South African footballer, Marc Batchelor was shot dead in an apparent targeted killing on Monday evening as he drove home in Johannesburg, police said.
“He was driving to his house and he was accosted by two guys on a motorcycle,” police spokesman Lungelo Dlamini told reporters.
“They fired shots at him and he died in his vehicle and the suspects drove away without taking anything.”
“This happened outside his house in Olivedale (northern Johannesburg).”
Police said the motive of the attack was unknown and that no arrests had yet been made.
Local media carried photographs showing his bullet-riddled car window.
Batchelor, 49, played for South Africa’s two largest rivals teams, Orlando Pirates and Kaizer Chiefs, as well as Mamelodi Sundowns, Moroka Swallows and Supersport United.
He had a long-running feud with Paralympic sprint star Oscar Pistorius who was convicted of murdering Reeva Steenkamp in 2013.
Batchelor claimed the sprinter threatened to break his legs in a dispute over a girlfriend.
Africa’s top scorers ready to slug it out in Group B at the AFCON 2019
Let us run the rule over the Group B hopefuls and assess their prospects in the biennial African football showpiece
The sharpest shooters in 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying, Odion Ighalo of Nigeria and Fiston Abdul Razak of Burundi, will come face to face in Group B at the finals this month. While Ighalo and his Super Eagles team-mates are favoured to top the four-nation table and advance to the knockout stage in Egypt, Abdul Razak and the Swallows may struggle.
Burundi are the lowest ranked of the 24 sides at the June 21-July 19 tournament and the best they can be expected to hope for is third place below Nigeria and Guinea and above Madagascar. The countries finishing first and second are guaranteed round-of-16 slots while the best four of the six third-placed teams also qualify.
Let us run the rule over the Group B hopefuls and assess their prospects in the biennial African football showpiece:
The tiny central African country secured a first appearance at the expense of favoured Gabon despite drawing four of six qualifiers.
Algeria-based Abdul Razak starred with six goals at an average of one per match — a total bettered only by Ighalo, who netted seven times. But having tormented the defences of Mali, Gabon and South Sudan, can he wreak more havoc against the Nigerian and Guinean defences?
Olivier Niyungeko, who has succeeded where a string of foreign coaches failed, chose Burundians based in 13 countries and also picked one local, goalkeeper Jonathan Nahimana.
Verdict: an early exit looms
A squad coached by Paul Put hope poor dress rehearsals will be transformed into a grand opening night against Madagascar. Warm-up losses to lower-ranked opponents the Gambia and Benin in Morocco could sow self doubts and there has also been the distraction of injured midfield star Naby Keita.
He injured a thigh playing for Liverpool at Barcelona in the Champions League semifinals and admits to “not yet being fully fit”.
Put, who took outsiders Burkina Faso to the 2013 final, will expect a lot from Ibrahima Traore, a winger based in Germany whose footwork can bewilder even the tightest defences.
Verdict: Quarter-finals a realistic goal
Like Burundi, the Indian Ocean islanders who are making their Cup of Nations debut will eye third place and qualification as one of the four best teams in that position. French coach Nicolas Dupuis has worked wonders with a side that got to Egypt by finishing above Equatorial Guinea and Sudan, and he also coaches a lower-league club in his homeland.
He believes practice makes perfect, saying: “Madagascar used to play three or four matches a year and we’re going nowhere. We now make full use of every international window.” Dupuis has also convinced France-born Thomas Fontaine, Romain Metanire, Jerome Mombris and Jeremy Morel to represent a country they are linked to through parents or grandparents.
Verdict: reaching second round would complete a fairytale
The three-time champions are back at the Cup of Nations after unexpectedly lifting the trophy in 2013 and then failing to qualify for the next two editions. They should take advantage of a kind draw and cruise into the second round, but Nigerian supporters will expect much more from a team coached by experienced German Gernot Rohr.
When the Cup of Nations was last staged by Egypt in 2006, the Super Eagles finished third behind the host nation and the Ivory Coast. Apart from former Watford forward Ighalo, Spain-based Samuel Chukwueze could be a major threat having scored regularly for Villarreal in La Liga last season.
Verdict: Anything less than a semi-final place will be considered failure
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