Sunday Times


This week’s soc­cer buzz

- Bafana Bafana · Stuart Baxter · Iceland · Austria · Belarus · SuperSport United F.C. · Kaizer Chiefs F.C. · Khama Billiat · Polokwane City F.C. · Manchester City Football Club · Bloemfontein Celtic F.C. · Bloemfontein · Celtic F.C. · Mamelodi Sundowns F.C. · Pitso Mosimane · Belgium · Highlands Park F.C. · AmaZulu F.C. · Seychelles · Aubrey Modiba · Giovanni Solinas

● Bafana Bafana coach Stu­art Bax­ter is ap­par­ently quak­ing in his boots and has hardly slept a wink as Satur­day’s 2019 Af­con qual­i­fier against world beat­ers Sey­chelles at FNB Sta­dium ap­proaches.

The Bri­ton did not in­spire con­fi­dence this week when he sug­gested to an in­cred­u­lous gallery at Safa House that he’s ap­proach­ing this en­counter against the 189th-ranked is­lan­ders with the same cau­tion you would nor­mally re­serve for a grumpy tiger in the wild. Se­ri­ously coach, it’s come to this now? Granted, Bafana have the co­or­di­na­tion of a goat on stilet­tos these days but surely, coach, you are not rec­om­mend­ing that we, as long­suf­fer­ing fans, should keep our high blood pres­sure pills within reach even for the likes of Sey­chelles?

● So pet­ri­fied is Baxs­teen of Sey­chelles, he de­cided to strengthen his squad by call­ing Aubrey Modiba two days af­ter an­nounc­ing the squad on Mon­day. It is clear Stu thought the names he read out were mince­meat and felt the need to add some beef, drawn from his favourite Su­per­Sport United re­frig­er­a­tor.

● Kaizer Chiefs coach Gio­vanni Soli­nas cut the fig­ure of an un­der­taker. Af­ter smil­ing for the flash­ing cam­eras for grab­bing the Coach of the Month ac­co­lade along­side his Messi, Khama Bil­liat, who won the Player of the Month award, Soli­nas soon switched into a som­bre mood. Look­ing ahead to Amakhosi’s next match against Polok­wane City, which was played be­hind closed doors at Moses Mab­hida Sta­dium as pun­ish­ment for Chiefs’ vi­o­lent be­hav­iour at the same venue in April, Soli­nas squirmed: “In my opin­ion foot­ball with­out fans is a fu­neral.” See you at a grave­yard near you, Gio.

● The sight of Bloem­fontein Celtic sup­port­ers do­ing what they do best, sing­ing their lungs out, fol­low­ing their side’s goal­less draw with Mamelodi Sun­downs at the Dr Petrus Molemela Sta­dium was awe-in­spir­ing stuff. Celtic coach Steve Kom­phela and his coun­ter­part, Pitso Mosi­mane, soaked in the adu­la­tion from the stands. “Spine tin­gling scenes out in Bloem­fontein,“screamed the Sun­downs twit­ter ac­count, and right­fully so. Tsamaya couldn’t help but no­tice that coach Pitso’s dance moves need to be up­graded to the lofty level of his coach­ing.

● It’s not an ev­ery­day oc­cur­rence in SA foot­ball to have crowds fill­ing sta­di­ums in mid­week games. But that’s ex­actly what we saw at Makhu­long and Tho­hoyan­dou sta­di­ums this week, and Tsamaya is com­pelled to ap­plaud. If only the se­rial waster of sit­ters, Pule Ek­stein, could have re­warded those fans with a goal in Makhu­long when he was put through by Siphelele Nt­shangase in Chiefs’ goal­less draw against High­lands Park.

● We’re so grate­ful that the play­ers’ union, Safpu, has fi­nally wo­ken up from its long slum­ber. The union has al­ready de­liv­ered a sucker punch to AmaZulu on their case against Namib­ian player Phin­heas Nam­bandi. Next in line is Polok­wane City, who are fool­ishly re­sist­ing pay­ing their for­mer Sene­galese striker, Faye Bap­tiste. Take them Safpu!

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