In anticipation of this week’s 1226th edition of Soccer Laduma, we preview some of the features included. The latest edition will be available at your nearest outlet tomorrow, Wednesday, June 02.
Gavin Hunt Feature
Just 254 days after his appointment as Kaizer Chiefs coach, Hunt was last Friday sacked by the club. The Glamour Boys sit in a precarious position on the league table, 11th to be exact, with two matches to play, and find themselves five points from the Top Eight and five above the relegation zone. With less than half the points of Mamelodi Sundowns and the fourth-worst defensive record in the league, the axe fell on the four-time league-winning mentor just over eight months into his three-year contract with the Soweto giants. Still, it was an unexpected move, as it was thought the club would at least allow Hunt to finish the current season and oversee the two-legged CAF Champions League semi-final tie against Wydad Casablanca in over two weeks’ time. Were Chiefs justified in their decision? What exactly went wrong for Hunt? Where does the club go from here after six seasons without a trophy? In a Soccer Laduma feature, we investigate all of the above and more.
Lebohang Maboe Interview
Not only is the former Maritzburg United man one of the key players for Mamelodi Sundowns, but he is also one of the most versatile in the league. Maboe is such a valuable asset in that he can slot in at right back, in central midfield, behind the striker or play the role of target man whenever the need arises – no wonder he has continued to command a regular place even after the man who brought him to the club, Pitso Mosimane, left for greener pastures at the beginning of this season. The 26-year-old was on the scoresheet as Downs beat rivals SuperSport United in the Tshwane Derby last Wednesday to ensure a successful defence of their league title, and there is more expected of him as the club look to do even better next season. In an interview with Soccer Laduma, the Heidelberg-born star talks about the disappointment of losing to Al Ahly in the CAF Champions League, what keeps him at the top of his game, the demands of playing for a top side like Sundowns, and more…
Patson “Sparks” Banda Interview
Orlando Pirates have fallen short of dethroning Mamelodi Sundowns as the kings of South African football, despite going out into the market to sign some of the country’s top players, some among them being Thulani Hlatshwayo, Thabang Monare and Deon Hotto. Even the staunchest among the Buccaneers’ faithful will agree that one of the major concerns this season has been the goalkeeping department, which they thought would be much less of a problem after the capture of Richard Ofori from Maritzburg United. While the Ghanaian international has done fairly well between the sticks, before suffering injury, the Soweto giants have at times conceded goals that can only be described as ‘soft’, leading to question marks as to the quality between the sticks for Pirates. Interestingly, Wayne Sandilands, who’s fared no better, has filled in as goalkeeper coach after the departure of Jyri Nieminen, while also featuring on matchday. In trying to dissect Bucs’ challenges with their last line of defence, Soccer Laduma spoke to the legendary Patson “Sparks” Banda, who tells it like it is!
Also in issue 1226…
Njabulo Ngcobo Interview
You’d be excused for thinking Ngcobo is a seasoned professional, such has been the manner in which he has established himself in the Swallows FC line-up, despite this being his first season in the elite division of South African football. In fact, so convincing have the 27-year-old’s performances been that he has been linked with a sensational move to Kaizer Chiefs, who are known to enjoy a good relationship with his current club. It came as no surprise, then, when he was announced as one of three nominees for Defender of the Season by the PSL last week. In his interview with Soccer Laduma, the former Uthongathi FC defender talks about his debut season in the DStv Premiership and his flourishing partnership with Wandisile Letlabika, as well as reacts to his nomination for the big gong.
Mpho Maleka Interview
A decent goalscorer in his heyday, Maleka has made the transition from pro footballer to coach look seamless, currently assisting, alongside David Mathebula, Dylan Kerr at Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivhandila FC. After winning the Nedbank Cup against all odds, the three coaches are on course to save the multimillion-rand top-flight status of the Limpopo outfit, acquired last year after the purchase of Bidvest Wits. Speaking to Soccer Laduma, Maleka explains how the team plans to go about doing it all. “Zico”, as the 42-year-old is known in football circles, also reveals how he was helped by his agent to plan for life after football and avoid being broke like many other former footballers who have hit hard times. He also has a message to critics who poked fun at TTM when things were not going well for the team earlier in the season.
This week, we gather the thoughts of former Kaizer Chiefs assistant coach Farouk Khan on the changes taking place at the club and what he thinks is currently the problem at Naturena, as well as on why Mamelodi Sundowns won the league, among other topics.
In this week’s edition of the popular Siyagobhoza section, there is news on Mamelodi Sundowns having made a future on one of their goalkeepers, latest on the Kaizer Chiefs head coach search, Orlando Pirates enquiring on the availability of a Chippa United star, and more…
Grab a copy of the latest edition of Soccer Laduma at your nearest outlet tomorrow. Don’t miss out!