Ngob­eni up for Downs again

Source re­veals club will bring back on-loan player to bol­ster goal­keep­ing depart­ment

The Star Early Edition - - SPORT - MINENHLE MKHIZE

MAMELODI Sun­downs have de­cided who will fill the void left by Wayne Sandi­lands in the goal­keek­ing depart­ment.

Sandi­lands has left Sun­downs and joined Or­lando Pi­rates on a year deal.

And a source close to In­de­pen­dent Me­dia has re­vealed that Thela Ngob­eni is stay­ing with Sun­downs this sea­son.

The for­mer Kaizer Chiefs and Na­tional Un­der-23 goal­min­der was on loan to Free State Stars last sea­son.

“Sun­downs are bring­ing back Ngob­eni. They were wor­ried about Wayne’s de­par­ture be­cause that left them with two goal­keep­ers in the Caf Cham­pi­ons League. They have since taken the de­ci­sion that Ngob­eni will be reg­is­tered,” the source re­vealed.

De­nis Onyango is Sun­downs’ num­ber one goal­keeper and Kennedy Mweene is the deputy for the best player based in South Africa.

Sun­downs pre­vailed in the quar­ter-fi­nal stages of the Cham­pi­ons League af­ter fin­ish­ing as run­ners-up in their group.

They will now be fac­ing Moroc­can giants Wy­dad Casablanca home and away.

“The first leg is in South Africa on Septem­ber 8 and the re­turn leg will be played in Morocco a week later on Septem­ber 15.

Sun­downs are the de­fend­ing cham­pi­ons in the com­pe­ti­tion, but club spokesper­son Thu­lani Thuswa said he is in the dark as to who will be reg­is­tered in the place of Sandi­lands.

“No one has in­di­cated to me that Ngob­eni will be reg­is­tered in Caf. I’m still wait­ing from the tech­ni­cal team to in­di­cate to me as to who will be reg­is­tered as the third keeper. At the mo­ment I’m in dark,” Thuswa lamented.

A cou­ple of sea­sons ago Pi­rates found them­selves in some bother when they were com­pet­ing in the Caf Con­fed­er­a­tion Cup. They had two keep­ers left af­ter Senzo Meyiwa’s tragic death. But on top of that Brighton Mh­longo got in­jured in a league game against Su­per­Sport United and Sun­downs were left with just one keeper.

Filipe Ovono was Pi­rates’ main man be­tween the sticks, and the Bucs tech­ni­cal team were com­pelled to train up a few hope­fuls ca­pa­ble of deputis­ing should any­thing hap­pen to Ovono.

It seems like Sun­downs have sensed sim­i­lar dan­ger and made the right de­ci­sion with Ngob­eni.

Mean­while there’s been a lot of mur­murs re­gard­ing star player Khama Bil­liat’s fu­ture at Sun­downs. He has been heav­ily linked with Saudi Ara­bian club Al Nassri.

“Yes, there is in­ter­est in Khama but we must re­mem­ber that an in­ter­est is not an of­fer. Khama is one of our key play­ers. He loves Sun­downs and we also love him but we are also open to of­fers.

“If the of­fer is right we will sit down and have a look at it,” Thuswa elab­o­rated.

Bil­liat’s con­tract has ex­pired and he is yet to sign a new deal.

“But Khama is not re­fus­ing to sign a new deal. We must re­mem­ber that Sun­downs haven’t had time (to talk to him). Our sched­ule has been very tight. We were in­volved in three com­pe­ti­tions in the last few months.

“Now that we have more time on our hands I be­lieve we will be able to dis­cuss Khama’ s fu­ture,” Thuswa ex­plained.

PIC­TURE: BACKPAGEPIX

Thela Ngob­eni, who played for Free State Stars last sea­son while on loan from Sun­downs, is said to be re­turn­ing to the Mamelodi club.

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