Mashaba: The Sundowns chapter is behind me

Chippa United midfielder Mzikayise Mashaba insists his chapter at Mamelodi Sundowns is closed and refuses to discuss the reasons why he left the defending PSL champions.

Mashaba's contract with Masandawana was terminated in 2017, reportedly for misconduct, and the player did not play any professional football for two years until he signed with the Chilli Boys at the start of this campaign.

The 30-year-old just wants to focus on getting his career back on track and says does not want to revisit the past.

Mashaba told Isolezwe: "I don't want to talk about what happened at Sundowns. That Sundowns chapter is behind me.

"I want to see people continuing with believing whatever they like. I know the truth and Sundowns know what happened, they know the truth.

"I don't have to fill the gaps and I also need to respect Chippa United.

"The two years I spent at home wasn't easy for me.

"You can imagine staying at home and basking in the sun when you know you can contribute to the game.

"It's different when you are injured and there’s nothing you can do. What's good about me is that I have never thought of hanging up my boots and give up."

Hunt: We are going to get hurt in January

Bidvest Wits head coach Gavin Hunt believes his team face a tough schedule in the month of January as they catch up on their games in the league season.

The Clever Boys are currently fifth in the PSL standings, 13 points behind log leaders Kaizer Chiefs but they have played four matches less than Amakhosi.

Wits will play most their games in hand in the first month of the new year while Hunt's charges are also participating in the Caf Confederation Cup.

In quotes published on Soccer Laduma, Hunt said: "We are going to get hurt in January.

"We have got nine games, which are obviously our catch up matches - and that is our problem.

"But it is what it is. We got knocked out of the cups early and were are not playing and obviously we have CAF commitments as well.

"But there were times we could have played, although obviously other teams were playing. It was a bit of a balls-up, but anyway it is what it is."

Wits lost their last league game before the international break, 1-0 to SuperSport United, a result Hunt feels deflated his team.

Hunt continued: "The games in hand mean nothing. We had a game in hand last week and we lost. Not everybody has played the same amount of games.

"You can't really get a good perspective of the league. It's only the truth. We had a good start and last week was a dampener because winning would have taken us up the table.

"I don't actually look at the log table because it's not proper. I look at how many we have played and what we have done."

Mina avoids red card after alleged stamp

Everton defender Yerry Mina has come under fire for an alleged stamp on Peru's Anderson Santamaria while on international duty with Colombia.

The Toffees centre-back received a yellow card after the incident during Colombia's 1-1 draw with Peru in Miami in the early hours of Saturday morning.

Mina and Santamaria both went to play the ball in the 69th minute of the international friendly, with the Everton star appearing to step on his opponent's right foot and causing a wound that later required six stitches.

The referee dealt with the situation by issuing Mina with a caution - the third of four yellow cards earned by Colombia players to just one on the Peruvian side.

Peru's players protested the decision as they surrounded the match official, while Santamaria had to leave the field of play and could not continue.

He did not hold back in his comments after the game, issuing a strong statement about why he felt Mina had been lucky to escape without further punishment.

"It is unfortunate that I can not train for 15 days and that Yerry Mina has only been sanctioned with yellow," said Santamaria.

"We knew it would be a tough game, however, it is one thing to put in a strong leg and another to do what he did. They just stitched me up and I will miss the rest of the championship with my team [Atlas]. I am sorry that no justice has been done."

Everton will just be glad Mina didn't hurt himself in the match given their horrendous bad luck this season and the ex-Barcelona star's own injury record.

Reports in Colombia state he had a good game in Miami and was in a constant battle with Peru striker Paolo Guerrero.

Mina is said to have won the aerial duels and anticipated danger well, which will be further good news for Marco Silva.

Decrease in TV revenue hits Man Utd's bottom line

Despite sporting revenues of 135.4million pounds for the first quarter of 2019-20, Manchester United have seen their net debt increase by 55.5 per cent.

The figures represent a £400,000 increase on the same period for the previous year.

Commercial revenue was £80.4million, a 5.9 per cent increase on the previous year, the club said in a financial statement.

United are expecting 2020 annual revenue to be down this year to somewhere between £560-580million, compared to £627.1million for the year ending June 30, 2019.

In part that will be due to the club's lack of Champions League football this season. Broadcasting revenue for the quarter was £32.9million, a 23.1 per cent and £9.9million drop on the same quarter the year before.

The figures published on Monday cover the period July 1, 2019 to September 30 of this year.

One of the most eye-catching points on the balance sheet is the increase of net debt, from £247.2million to £384.5million, a rise of 55.5 per cent or £137.3million.

The club's wage bill has dropped by 8.8 per cent "primarily due to reductions in player salaries as a result of non-participation in the UEFA Champions League", the statement said.

United's executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward said: "We have a clear vision in terms of football philosophy and recruitment.

"The significant investments that we have made in recent years in areas such as transfers, recruitment infrastructure, analytics and our academy are already beginning to bear fruit.

"We are very proud to be shortly approaching a milestone 4,000th game featuring an academy player, and we are particularly optimistic regarding the considerable young talent currently coming through.

"Our ultimate goal is to win trophies by playing exciting football with a team that fuses graduates from our academy with world-class acquisitions."

United's on-field fortunes have improved in recent weeks after pressure had been growing on manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

The team have won five of their last six matches in all competitions, and prior to that claimed a 1-1 draw at league leaders Liverpool.

They are seventh in the Premier League, nine points adrift of the Champions League qualification places.

Lloris reflects on horror injury

Tottenham club captain Hugo Lloris says he has never been in so much pain as he was in when he fractured his elbow against Brighton.

The France international was forced off in the opening minute of the game at the Amex Stadium and his since been under the knife to resolve the issue.

Tottenham have suggested it will be January by the time Lloris is back in action and Spurs could do with his return as they continue to endure a tough start to the Premier League campaign.

Lloris has admitted it was the most pain he had ever experienced but is now positive about his return.

“I’m positive in the head,” he told L’Equipe. “We go through the sessions and then we move on. In sight, it’s January, so we’re doing what it takes to get back to where it belongs.

“My injury? This is a rupture at the level of a ligament. I also suffered at the level of a muscle, under the biceps with a big lesion. I had surgery after 4 weeks. We left a chance that it heals naturally, but after four weeks we feared for the stability of the arm for the future. Since the start, it was planned like that. And it does not delay more than that the deadlines.”

He added: “At the moment, yes, the pain is unbearable. I have never experienced such pain but no I am not worried about my career.”

Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino will be looking forward to having Lloris back between the sticks in the new year, with his side now battling to secure a top-four finish.

Tottenham find themselves down in 14th place in the Premier League table with 11 points between them and Manchester City in fourth spot.

Spurs are next in action in the early kick-off on Saturday when they make the trip across the capital to face West Ham at the London Stadium.

Hazard expected Lampard to be success at Blues

Former Chelsea star Eden Hazard believes Blues boss Frank Lampard has the potential to be one of the best managers in the world.

Having almost taken Derby County up into the Premier League, Lampard was handed the Chelsea job following the departure of Maurizio Sarri.

In just his second season in management, Lampard has taken Chelsea up to third place in the table as they look ahead to their next outing against Manchester City on Saturday.

Belgium international Hazard decided to end his time in west London over the summer and did not get the opportunity to work under the new Blues boss.

When asked if he was surprised by the start Lampard has made in the dugout at Stamford Bridge, Hazard said: “No, not at all. I know Frank as a player, not as a manager, but he’s a great guy. He’s showed already after four months that he can be one of the best managers in the world.

“The good thing is that they are playing with young players, young English players. For England it’s good, for Chelsea it’s good. They are lucky to have young players with quality.”

Hazard added: “I still have good friends there. I follow them all the time. They are winning at the moment so I’m just happy for them.”

All has not gone according to plan so far for Hazard in Spain, with the Belgian seemingly struggling to get up to speed with life at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Meanwhile, the in-form Blues have a one-point advantage over Premier League champions Manchester City ahead of their encounter at the Etihad Stadium this weekend.

Chelsea find themselves eight points behind frontrunners Liverpool and victory over the Citizens on Saturday would be a real boost to Lampard’s hopes of entering the title race.

Bartlett: Too early for Chiefs to celebrate

Kaizer Chiefs assistant coach Shaun Bartlett has warned against over-confidence as Amakhosi continue strengthening their Premiership lead.

Coach Ernst Middendorp's charges are sitting pretty at the top of the league standings with a 10-point lead over Mamelodi Sundowns after winning nine of their opening 11 fixtures.

Some have ventured to claim that Chiefs are now strong favourites to end their four-year trophy drought by lifting the Premiership silverware, but Bartlett doesn't want expectations to get out of control.

"Anything is possible but like I said, it's still early days, we've only played 11 games so far," said Bartlett, according to IOL.

"Nobody is given a league title in November or December. We've got to be consistent and continue doing what we've been doing for the last four months.

"I think that is key. There's six, seven months to go this season and we've got to make sure that we stay consistent."

Genk midfielder Berge keen on Liverpool switch

Liverpool have been encouraged in their pursuit of Sander Berge after the Genk midfielder admitted he would "like to play at Anfield as often as possible".

The Norway international has earned interest in his services after impressing in both the Belgian top flight and the Champions League this season.

Liverpool, who currently hold an eight-point lead at the top of the Premier League table, are thought to be one of the frontrunners to land the playmaker, while Serie A outfit Napoli are also believed to be interested in the Norwegian.

The 21-year-old appears to have set his heart on a future move to Anfield and Berge has revealed it would be a dream transfer to Merseyside if it went through.

"Playing at Anfield is a dream for everyone in the world, and not least for Norwegians," Berge said to TV2.

"Liverpool are the best team [at the moment] and have the most fans. So I could certainly like to play at Anfield as often as possible."

Reports have suggested £18million would be enough to secure the services of Berge, while Genk sporting director Dimitri De Conde has added further fuel to the fire by suggesting the midfielder could be on his way out of the club in the future.

Liverpool kept their powder dry in the last transfer market over the summer, with no big names making the switch to Anfield despite links.

With the Reds firmly in the driving seat for the Premier League title race, it remains to be seen whether they will once again have a quiet transfer window in January, or strengthen in a bid to make sure they get over the line.

Liverpool are back in action after the international break on November 23 when they make the trip to Selhurst Park to face Roy Hodgson's Crystal Palace.

Khoza bullish about the future of SA football

PSL chairman Irvin Khoza believes there is reason for optimism in South African football as he aims to improve the Premiership and Multichoice Diski Challenge.

It was revealed last week that a record R1-billion in revenue was made from the 2018/19 season, and Khoza believes it bodes well for Mzansi's two professional leagues.

Monthly grants awarded to the Premiership and MDC currently stand at R2million and R500 000 respectively, but that is expected to increase from next season.

"The important thing now, after reaching a record R1-billion in our income, it augurs well for our clubs in the new season," said Khoza, according to Kickoff.

"It means it will bring about a new increase on the grants, apart from what has been given to them this season, which was also remarkable.

"So, we're on a sound footing in terms of the governance of the league, and also the issues around the Multichoice Diski Challenge - there's a good story developing for the future of this league."

Bayern eyeing move to re-sign Can

Bundesliga giants Bayern Munich are reportedly considering a move to bring Juventus midfielder Emre Can back to Germany.

The German international currently plays his football with Juventus but is struggling to get action with the Italian champions and a move away looks to be on the cards.

Can is out of favour with current Juve boss Mauricio Sarri, making just four Serie A appearances so far in this campaign and Bayern could be ready to offer him a route out.

The midfielder is still a class act and made 37 league appearances for the Bianconeri as they won the Serie A title last season, so it is no surprise to hear that Bayern are considering a swoop.

Juventus snapped Can up on a free transfer after he allowed his contract with Liverpool to run down, but they will be demanding a fee for the player if they are to let him go.

The size of the figure involved has not been reported but Can will not come cheap, so Bayern could have a decision to make.

Can himself is also said to be on a huge salary at Juve after his representatives negotiated a good deal on his departure from Liverpool, and he may have to take a sizable cut to get his wish of a return to Bavaria.

Can will not be short of options should he leave the Old Lady, with a number of clubs throughout Europe declaring their interest.

Even so Bayern would be confident of fighting off the competition if the price is right.

City eyeing Coman capture

Manchester City are reported to be lining up a move for Bayern Munich forward Kingsley Coman as a potential replacement for Leroy Sane.

Sane is currently battling back from the knee injury he picked up while playing for City in the Community Shield at the start of the season, but it remains to be seen how long he will stay with the club for.

The German international was heavily linked with a move to Bayern during the summer but for one reason or another, a deal failed to materialise.

The knee injury was the final nail in the coffin to the Bayern deal, but even before then it looked unlikely as the two clubs could not agree on a fee, with City said to be holding out for £100million.

However, Bayern’s interest has not gone away and rumours are rife they will attempt to resurrect the deal, either in the January transfer window or at the end of the season.

Sane himself is said to be keen on a return to his homeland after failing to nail down a place in City’s start-studded side, and the fact he has yet to pen a new deal would suggest he is holding out for a move to Bayern.

With that in mind, City are on the look-out for a replacement and Coman’s name has been thrown into the frame.

Striking a deal could be problematic though as Bayern want Sane to link up with Coman at the Allianz Arena and do not see the City star as a replacement.

Following a tough time on the injury front, Coman has really stepped up to the plate for Bayern this season and is a key part of the club’s plans going forward.

They are unlikely to agree to Coman leaving, but that may not stop City from lining up a potential swap deal in the new year.

Abidal: Neymar has a Barca philosophy

Barcelona sporting director Eric Abidal says PSG star Neymar will always be welcomed back to the club as he understands the way things work at the club.

The 27-year-old enjoyed a successful four-year stay in Spain, winning the LaLiga title on two occasions.

He also won the Copa del Rey three times and lifted the Champions League title and FIFA Club World Cup in 2015.

After scoring 105 goals in 186 appearances, he decided to try a new challenge in Ligue 1, with Paris Saint-Germain.

He helped the French giants win the domestic treble last season, before trying to leave in the summer. Talks between Barcelona and PSG took place, but Neymar ended up staying in Paris, much to his disappointment.

The former Santos man is expected to try and leave in January and Abidal says he will always be welcomed back.

“A top player, who has a Barca philosophy and who is performing at a high level, will always be an option,” Abidal told Mundo Deportivo. “From there, at the sports level we can make decisions, but the whole financial issue, there are things that you can reach and others that you cannot.

“The future will say. If it continues at this level, because the season is very long, I will not say that it will be option number 1, but it can be a clear option.”

Neymar failed to travel back to Brazil this week due to his recent injury problems. He suffered a hamstring issue while playing for his country last month but PSG coach Thomas Tuchel is expecting him to return before the end of the week.

Abidal: Lautaro Martinez is a complete player

Barcelona sporting director Eric Abidal admits they are keen on signing Inter Milan hitman Lautaro Martinez in the January transfer window.

Luis Suarez’s time with Barcelona appears to be drawing to an end with his scoring figures in La Liga dropping with each season that passes.

He still managed to hit 21 goals last term but that is his lowest haul since joining the Blaugrana from Liverpool in 2014-15.

Barcelona have been linked with several striking options over the past few windows as they seek a long-term successor to the 32-year-old, and Martinez looks to be their top target.

Martinez has been attracting lots of attention since signing for Inter from Racing Club on a five-year deal in the summer of 2018.

The 22-year-old scored six times in 13 Serie A starts last season and already has five league goals to his name in 2019-20.

Antonio Conte has put his faith in the Argentinean since taking charge of the Inter in the summer but their time together could end prematurely.

Abidal is a big admirer of Martinez’s ability and his latest comments suggest they could make a move in January.

“He is a complete player, I think he is performing at a great level,” Abidal told Mundo Deportivo. “He is a player we know, there are other players who also have a lot of quality.

“I know Barca, I know what adaptation is like, but I don’t pay much attention to the player who plays every weekend, I look at others.”

Reports claim Inter, who paid a rumoured fee of £20million for Martinez, will demand a figure in the region of £96million.

Agent rules out Cavani PSG departure

Paris Saint-Germain striker Edinson Cavani's agent says that his client will not be leaving the Ligue 1 giants in January.

Cavani is the reigning Ligue 1 champions’ all-time leading goalscorer, having scored 195 goals in 288 appearances since joining in a deal worth around €64million from Napoli in summer 2013.

The 32-year-old Uruguay international has won five Ligue 1 championships, five Coupes de la Ligue and four Coupes de France with PSG, but he is finding first-team action difficult to come by under coach Thomas Tuchel this season.

A hip injury picked up in the game against Toulouse on August 25 resulted in a lay-off, but the arrival of Mauro Icardi has resulted in Cavani slipping down the pecking order, while he is out of contract in the summer.

Cavani has still managed to score two goals in six Ligue 1 appearances and that has resulted in speculation that he could be lured away from the Parc des Princes in the New Year with the offer of regular first-team action.

Atletico Madrid, Manchester United, Juventus and MLS sides Inter Miami and LA Galaxy have all been linked with a possible swoop.

But, when asked about Cavani’s future, his agent and half-brother Walter Guglielmone said: “He will stay [in January]. There are still discussions [over a new deal], but for the moment nothing concrete.

“We are not very worried about the contract extension. Edi will certainly have numerous opportunities and above all he will be free at the end of his contract. He still has at least three years to play at a high level. He can play in any big team in Europe.”

Keane slams 'sloppy' Rice

Roy Keane has criticised England midfielder Declan Rice after his performance in the 4-0 victory over Kosovo did little to convince the Manchester United legend.

Rice earned rave reviews for his performances for the Hammers at the start of the season, forcing his way into the England squad, and talk soon turned to how far he could go in the game.

Rumours also started linking him with a big-money move to the likes of Manchester United and Manchester City, but the honeymoon period now looks to be over.

The youngster’s performances have dipped for West Ham, and although he played the full 90 minutes for the Three Lions against Kosovo on Sunday night, he had been dropped for the previous two international games.

Keane believes that is because his performances have been below par of late, and he did not hold back when asked about the deficiencies in his game.

Keane coached Rice who part of the Republic of Ireland set up, before he switched allegiance to England, and says there is plenty he needs to work before he can call himself the complete player.

“Where he needs to improve, there are plenty of aspects if you think about it,” he said on ITV Sport. “Over the last few months he has had a lot of praise, I worked with him while he was with the Ireland squad.

“Where does he need to improve, where do you want me to start? His positional play I don’t think is consistent enough, he doesn’t stay with runners, he’s sloppy in possession. I can go on.”

The comments appear to be harsh and could be down to the fact Rice angered many in the Republic camp with his decision to play for England instead.

He is also only 21 and there is time for him to work on and improve on the deficiencies that may be in his game.

Chelsea and Barca in the hunt for Neymar

Chelsea are reportedly competing with Neymar's former employers Barcelona to sign the Brazilian star from Paris Saint-Germain.

Neymar was a huge hit with the Catalan giants, helping them win two La Liga titles and the Champions League before he completed a world-record move to Paris.

However the move has not gone according to plan in the Brazilian's eyes and he has been pining for a return to the Nou Camp over the last 12 months.

It looked like he may get his wish in the summer but the two European powerhouses could not agree a deal and Neymar ended up staying in France, much to his annoyance.

There has been talk of a deal being resurrected at some point in the future, and when quizzed about the situation, Barca sporting directot Eric Abidal refused to close the door on the move.

There is a lot to sort out if the 27-year-old is to return to Barca, but as long as he is playing well and at the top of his game, Abidal says they will be interested.

"A top player, who has a Barca philosophy and who is performing at a high level, will always be an option," Abidal said. "From there, at the sports level we can make decisions, but the whole financial issue, there are things that you can reach and others that you cannot.

"The future will say. If it continues at this level, because the season is very long, I will not say that it will be option number 1 but it can be a clear option."

However they will face competition with reports also claiming that Chelsea are keen to do a deal and will rival Barcelona for his signature.

Ntseki reflects on important win for Bafana

Bafana Bafana coach Molefi Ntseki was pleased with his team's victory against Sudan as they got there 2021 Africa Cup of Nations campaign back on track on Sunday at the Orlando Stadium.

Lebogang Phiri scored the only goal of the game on the stroke of halftime as Bafana bounced back after a 2-0 defeat in their qualifying opener against Ghana on Thursday.

The hosts dominated possession for most of the encounter but could not break down a stubborn Sudanese defence until Phiri struck his first ever goal at the highest level.

Ntseki reflected on his team's performance, saying that the three-day gap between the fixture in Ghana made the Sudan match a difficult one.

Ntseki said after the game: "It was a very difficult match. In terms of our traveling schedule which made this fixture difficult.

"In terms of the game we wanted to start on the front foot but unfortunately we missed too many chances and we ended up becoming a bit anxious.

"On the balance of play I think the players did very well in terms of how they expressed themselves within our tactical plan but I think we started the second-half a bit slow.

"The last 25 minutes of the second-half you could see that our legs were tiring a bit and that's why we tried to make more attacking substitutions which nearly came off.

"The win is important for us as we're still fighting to qualify and hopefully everything will work out well for us."

The Africa Cup of Nations qualifying campaign takes a nine-month break and will resume in September next year.

Interest in Leipzig defender Upamecano heats up

RB Leipzig may struggle to hold on to Dayot Upamecano with Manchester City reportedly keen on the central defender.

English Premier League side Arsenal have been heavily linked in the past and remain in the hunt as they look to sign a new central defender, but now City can also be added to the list of admirers.

City, like Arsenal, have issues in central defence after losing players to injury, and Upamecano has been mentioned as a target for Pep Guardiola's men.

The 21-year-old has caught the eye with his 11 appearances for Leipzig this season and is now one of the most highly-rated young defenders in Europe.

The France under-21 international has shown he has fully recovered from the knee injury that forced him to sit out the second half of last season, and the offers could now start rolling in.

It has been claimed that the release clause in the player's contract will drop to £53million ahead of next season and all interested parties will attempt to capitalise on it.

Leipzig will have little chance of keeping hold if that is the case and they could try and renegotiate a new deal with the player that would include a much higher figure.

As well as City and Arsenal, it has been suggested that Tottenham could also enter the running. Even so, City and Guardiola would be confident of seeing off their rivals to get a deal over the line.

Ronaldo: Sarri was right to substitute me

Juventus star Cristiano Ronaldo says coach Mauricio Sarri was correct to substitute him against AC Milan as he was not fully fit yet.

Ronaldo was taken off during the 1-0 victory over Milan before the international break, and made his feelings perfectly clear as he left the pitch.

There was more controversy to come as the Portuguese ace left the stadium before the match had finished, actions that did not go down well with the Bianconeri.

Speculation has been raging ever since and Sarri explained that the reason he took Ronaldo off was because he was not fully fit and was trying to protect him.

Ronaldo has now backed up his coach and says he was right to take him off against the Rossoneri.

"It is true that I have been limited in the past few weeks, I tried to help Juve by playing injured," Ronaldo admitted.

"I don't like to be subbed off but there aren't any issues. Sarri? I wasn’t 100% so it's normal that Sarri wanted to protect me."

Even so Ronaldo was fully fit to play as Portugal booked their place in the Euro 2020 finals with a 2-0 victory over Luxembourg on Sunday. The forward chipped in with his 99th international goal, and appeared to be firing on all cylinders.

Juve are back in Serie A action when they take on Atalanta, and will be hoping that Ronaldo and the rest of their international stars return unscathed and ready to go as the battle with Inter Milan for the Scudetto hots up.

Batshuayi: I feel home at Chelsea

Chelsea striker Michy Batshuayi insists he is loving life at Stamford Bridge despite struggling to break into the starting lineup.

Chelsea splashed out £33million to sign the Belgium international from French outfit Marseille in the summer of 2016, but he has never been a regular starter.

Loan spells with Borussia Dortmund, Valencia and Crystal Palace have followed, but they failed to provide the spark he needed to force his way in at Chelsea.

The 26-year-old would have been hoping this could be the season, following the arrival of new boss Frank Lampard coupled with the fact Chelsea have not been able to make any new signings due to the transfer embargo.

However, the emergence of Tammy Abraham as Chelsea's leading goalscorer has meant Batshuayi has yet to start a match this season and the future looks bleak.

He is third in the pecking order behind Abraham and Olivier Giroud and a move away from the Bridge is sure to happen at some point in the near future.

It could even happen in the January transfer window if Chelsea receive the right offer and the player expresses a desire to leave.

However despite his troubles, Batshuayi has spoken of his love for the club and seems determined to fight for his place in the side.

"I have never been a full-fledged starter, but Chelsea is my club, that's where I feel at home. It's a club I love deeply," the striker revealed.

There should be no shortage of offers should Batshuayi feel the time is right to move on, with clubs throughout Europe ready to offer him the chance to get his career back on track.

Chelsea will look to recoup as much of their outlay as possible but may have to take a small hit to get him off the wage bill.