Friday, 28 February 2014

EXCLUSIVE: how Majoro: a prisoner of his own footballing talent, was freed by the SAFPU

BOLLOCKZ! Lehlohonolo Majoro
Left out of the starting line-up, week after week. Forced to train alone at the Nike Football Centre in Klipspruit, Pimville. Not paid by his club, who refused to release him from a contract which ends in June. A prisoner of his own footballing talent.

That, in a nutshell, was the grim story of Kaizer Chiefs striker Lehlohonolo Majoro – and all because the 27-year-old Bafana Bafana striker had taken his career into his own hands, opting to join Soweto rivals Orlando Pirates rather than SuperSport United in a swap deal as his agent had agreed (or Mpumalanga Black Aces on a loan deal).

But then along came freedom and justice… in the form of South African Football Players’ Union president Hareaipha “Simba” Marumo and his all-conquering Disputes Resolution Chamber.

Marumo, speaking on my football show BOLLOCKZ! on (see video below), made it very clear exactly why Lehlohonolo Majoro IS permitted to restart his career WITH IMMEDIATE EFFECT.

Despite reports from some quarters – including the respected Mark Gleeson in the Sowetan newspaper – claiming Majoro would not be able to play for the rest of the season as he departed the AmaKhosi “by mutual agreement”, Marumo insisted: “Lehlohonolo is now able to join the club of his choice. He had a couple of problems with Kaizer Chiefs unfortunately. They forced him to train on his own and suspended him without pay.

Iron Hand Shake: Taken at the same time as this interview
took place, Majoro said: “I am pleased to have
 joined Pirates, a club with a rich and proud
 history. I want to tell the supporters
 I will don this jersey with pride and I look
 forward to making them happy in everything I do.”

“That was unacceptable, there are rules in these situations, it’s a definite breach of contract right there. The remedy was that he should go to the club of his choice and be paid what he is owed. With the understanding that he would become a free agent, we were able to come to a settlement.

“We represented Majoro as a member of SAFPU. Rule 28.4 is quite clear, if the Dispute Resolution Committee Rule 28.4 is quite clear, if the DRC makes a ruling on breach of contract, that player is a free agent.

“The Sowetan article talked about a player who came to a mutual agreement, outside the DRC. That player would not have the right to play for another club until the next transfer window or until his contract finished.

“In this particular case, a player can only be suspended with full salary if there has been a disciplinary hearing. Majoro’s case was a clear breach of contract.”

When I put it to him that South Africa football agents and club treat fans and some players like idiots Marumo added: “Thanks for raising that. There was NO AMICABLE AGREEMENT with Kaizer Chiefs. SAFPU believes clubs cannot treat players like this.

“There’s a disappointing culture in this country where players are treated as second class citizens. If a player has to train alone, his security is compromised. Anybody could have gone to Klipspruit and hurt Majoro.

“We want to encourage and call on the football clubs in the country to move away from this kind of treatment of the players. These are people who make football what it is. They must be treated with the respect they deserve, we have the responsibility to build this country, our kids look up to footballers.

“How we run the game is CRUCIAL to the future generation, they shape their thinking with heroes. We cannot just talk about being profitable, the legacy of the game rests in the dignity of the players. Nobody sees the wallet, they see the footballers.

“Players have to treat themselves as brands who can make a difference in South Africa. Then we can build a football culture we can be proud of.”

When I asked Marumo if the agent has the right to dictate where a player goes, Simba – himself a former African Champions League finalist with Mamelodi Sundowns – said: “Absolutely right Neal, the player employs the agent. He pays the agent. Some agents have issues with me. I’ve parted ways with agents in the past.

“The agent is my employee, on my pay roll. That’s the only way it can work properly. For young professionals out there: The agent works for the player, not the other way around.

“If a player feels his career will flourish at a club different to the one his player wants to go to, it’s his decision. It’s important the player makes the decision which will benefit his very short career.”

Marumo, a popular analyst who will be working for SuperSport at Ajax Cape Town this weekend, concluded: “Thanks for the opportunity to raise these issues. We are there for ANY player who comes for us.”

Today Dr Khoza offered this advice to his new striker on the Orlando Pirates official website: “I hope everything goes well for you here at the club. Do not try to go out to prove a point or be angry with people. Anger takes us nowhere.

“The late President Nelson Mandela taught us a great lesson. He never got angry despite everything he had to go through in his life. We cannot waste energy by getting angry and cause problems; instead, that same energy should be channelled into making peace.

“Angry people lose a lot in this life,” Dr Khoza continued. “This should be a new beginning for you and hope you make the most of this opportunity you have here at the club.”

Majoro responded: “I just had my first training session with the guys and it feels like home. I am thankful to the Chairman for giving me the opportunity to join Orlando Pirates. His words of encouragement are priceless. I will work hard to repay the faith everyone here has shown in me."

BOLLOCKZ! my innovative football show on airs every Thursday from 9am-11am. See Ballz' channel for our growing library of fascinating football interviews with the big names. 

You can also follow me on for all the latest sports news… and read my “Neal & Pray” column every Tuesday in

BOLLOCKZ! is backed by - have a look at their site for my latest sports betting advice and charity bets for our Wingzofchange charity! 

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Farouk Khan no longer invited to SAFA technical committee: So just WHO decides on the future of South African football... and why?

Not invited: Farouk Khan

FAROUK KHAN, the football guru who discovered Steven Pienaar, May Mahlangu and (most recently) Simphiwe Mtsweni, has found himself mysteriously left out in the cold by the SAFA Technical Committee.

Khan, founder of the widely respected Stars of Africa academy, claims he IS part of the committee which decided the fate of Bafana Bafana head coach Gordon Igesund a fortnight ago – but was not invited to attend. He feels politics are more important than football knowledge when it comes to South Africa’s highest footballing council.

Khan contacted me during the furore over Igesund’s report on the disastrous CHAN tournament. The Technical Committee, chaired by former Mamelodi Sundowns supremo Natasha Tchiclas, decided to let Igesund fulfil his contract until August while launching an investigation in to his part in a pre-tournament row over win-bonuses.

But Khan was not involved in that decision. He wasn’t invited to attend.

Khan, also a popular football analyst on SuperSport, explained:  “It wasn’t out of choice. I was part of the SAFA technical committee when it was launched and I was informed I was on the new committee.

“The Technical Committee is meant to push South African football forward, to advise SAFA on what they should and shouldn’t do.

“For some reason I haven’t been invited to the last couple of meetings that took place. It might be something I said in previous meetings. I just wasn’t invited.

“Maybe there should have been some indication why I wasn’t getting called up any more. Surely SAFA should give you some indication of why they’ve changed their minds.

“I can only assume it’s a case of me not fully endorsing how they are going to go about the development of football in South Africa (the Vision 2022 campaign).

“It’s not possible for us to start by trying to emulate the likes of Spain and Germany. We need to start at the bottom. My point was we need to provide small academies all over the country.

“The ones we used to have, when I got back from Brazil in 1990, have gone now. We have just one real academy, in India, where I travelled recently, they have 11.

“There are so many players who came through the old system. Daine Klate. Bernard Parker. They both started off there.

“But SAFA talk about qualifying thousands of coaches, I don’t have a problem with that. But if I am on the committee I’m not going to be there just to be popular. In those days we didn’t have to go out and look for talent, it came to us.

“When we had the old academies in the provinces and in the schools, we had Boebie Williams and Cavin Johnson doing good work. I’d get these guys down on a regular basis.

“At that time we came across a lad called Pienaar. We found him at an academy in Bosmont. Cavin told me about him and  I said “Bring him along”. He was 12 at the time. Now he’s playing for Everton.

“Today it’s all pie in the sky, a lot of plans being made but nothing is being implemented.

“I’ve always had a very good relationship with Gordon Igesund. He wanted a good structure. We talked about me being involved. I applied for the position of Bafana Under 20 manager, I was interviewed last year. I’m still waiting for an answer.

“The past 20 years, I’ve coached on a daily basis. I don’t need a SAFA job, I’ve got the Stars of Africa academy. People in the country know my ability.

“So many people like me have been sidelined or ignored. And here’s Bafana, can’t qualify for anything unless we’re hosting the tournament.

“Japan only started their professional league in 1993, now they qualify every World Cup, they export plenty of players to Europe.

“We as South Africans should follow suit. We have one of the best leagues, we have a strong structure… the potential brings tears to my eyes. But potential is not enough. We need to nurture this talent.

“Stop talking the talk. Start walking the walk.”

BOLLOCKZ! my innovative football show on airs every Thursday from 9am-11am. See Ballz' channel for our growing library of fascinating football interviews with the big names. 

You can also follow me on for all the latest sports news… and read my “Neal & Pray” column every Tuesday in

BOLLOCKZ! is backed by - have a look at their site for my latest sports betting advice and charity bets for our Wingzofchange charity! 

Thursday, 20 February 2014

TOP SECRET: Stuart Baxter reveals how "digging in and winning ugly" has lifted Kaizer Chiefs to the top of the pile in South Africa

WWWWWINNER: Baxter won the PSL and
Nedbank Cup double at the first attempt
with Kaizer Chiefs last season
THE Stuart Baxter story gets better and better. Just like his table-topping Kaizer Chiefs, who are unbeaten since last Fireworks Day, November 5, 2013. That's THIRTEEN games in all competitions.

Speaking on my BOLLOCKZ! football show on today  (see video below), the 60-year-old from Wolverhampton admitted his side could play a lot better than they did on Wednesday night when they overcame tricky Bloemfontein Celtic 3-0 with two cracking goals from Bernard Parker and Knowledge Musona.

Former South Africa national coach Baxter, who last season became the first foreign boss to win the PSL in his first season in charge, finds himself nine points clear of Mamelodi Sundowns at the top of the table and freely admits he has taught his side to "win ugly".

When I put it to him that my awful beard will continue to grow unmolested until the AmaKhosi's astonishing WWWWWWWWWDW finally features an L, Baxter laughed: "Winning makes the wind blow at your back, not in your face."

Despite a few telephonic problems, Baxter battled on to tell us: "Big leads have been blown before and they will be blown again in the future. If you can look at the mirror at the end of the season and look at that face without throwing up, you can't do any more!

"We shouldn't make the job any easier for the opposition by being Big-Time Charlies. We can't get carried away. We do our work, I try to take the pressure off as much as I can. Let's see where that takes us.

"But I know with the African Champions League running alongside the domestic competitions, it could be difficult. We've seen it in Europe, where teams competing on the continent end up struggling at home."

But the secret ingredient of Baxter's success? THIS: "There are certain things we take for granted in Europe. Digging in, winning a game ugly. That's not really part of the language of the beautiful game in Africa.

"At Chiefs, we all dig in, get the points. That gives us that little bit of extra confidence, extra belief. We can go a goal down and come back to take the points."

BOLLOCKZ! my innovative football show on airs every Thursday from 9am-11am. See Ballz' channel for our growing library of fascinating football interviews with the big names. 

You can also follow me on for all the latest sports news… and read my “Neal & Pray” column every Tuesday in

BOLLOCKZ! is backed by - have a look at their site for my latest sports betting advice and charity bets for our Wingzofchange charity! 

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

AFRICAN CHAMPIONS LEAGUE SPECIAL: How Kaizer Chiefs can reach the group stages. With great difficulty

The long and winding road: for Chiefs boss Stuart Baxter

THE African Champions League remains a mystery to our football-loving folk. For too long, it was a pain in the neck for our PSL winners. For nearly a decade, South Africa let the biggest prize on the continent go nearly unmarked.

But after Orlando Pirates' sensational progress to last year’s final, surely it’s time to put our local Champions League back where it belongs? As the rand slips globally, the $1.5m prize-money is starting to look like a reason in itself, with the runners-up earning $1m.

With the 50th edition of the tournament now well underway, debate rages on the social networks about exactly what Kaizer Chiefs do from here after their preliminary round triumph over Namibia’s Black Africa.

It’s simple. Two more rounds over two legs to reach the Group Stages. But it promises to be unbelievably tough.

Last season, Orlando Pirates beat Djabal from the Comoros in the preliminary round, with a 5-0 win at home added to a 4-0 away win in a 9-0 drubbing.

Then the Buccaneers came up against dangerous Zambian champions Zanaco in the first round proper. An impressive 1-0 away win was followed by a 2-1 win at Orlando – remember Mpho Makola’s free-kick? The 3-1 aggregate win was a welcome triumph; people from beyond the Ghost started to sit up and take notice.

It was the second round which so nearly derailed the Pirates. First came the surprise 3-1 home win over DRC’s all-conquering TP Mazembe. The now-departed Onyekachi Okonkwo and two from Zambia's now unfancied Collins Mbesuma did the job, but after the game, the referee was punched by a visiting official, who escape despite attention from the South African Police.

That was just a clue to what was to come.

The away game in Lubumbashi goes down as Roger de Sa’s greatest achievement. The SABC’s television coverage was blacked out, journalists were detained, veteran captain Lucky Lekgwathi was sent off and two dubious penalties were saved by an ever-improving Senzo Meyiwa. A miracle… and they were in to the group stages with TWO Egyptian giants and the TP Mazembe fans cheered the team off.

That much is history.

To get that far in 2014, our runaway PSL leaders Kaizer Chiefs will have to achieve similar feats.

First up, amateurs Black Africa were destroyed 3-0 at Soccer City before Saturday’s 1-1 draw in Windhoek. Not quite as easy as it looked against a bunch of lads who admitted to being AmaKhosi in their spare time.

But now the road through Africa becomes far tougher.

Next up for Baxter and his men? It’s a mouthful: Liga Desportivo Muçulmana de Maputo, otherwise known as LDMM or Liga Maculmana.

One of the richest clubs in a nation rapidly rising up the economic ladder, LDMM won the Moçambola (Mozambique’s top division) for the first time in 2010. They’ve won it twice since, in 2011 and 2013.

The good news? They’ve never got beyond the first round in the Champions League and have just one Brazilian – a goalkeeper called Caio Venâncio – and a couple of Ghanaians. They also only managed a 1-0 aggregate win in the preliminary round over Madagascar’s CNaPS Sport.

Chiefs play LDMM with the first leg in a fortnight, the second over the weekend of 7-9 March.

And then the real challenge: Zimbabwe champions Dynamos or AS Vita from the Congo with both legs played before the end of March.

Dynamos, known as Harare’s “Glamour Boys” or “DeMbare” are essentially Zimbabwe’s Kaizer Chiefs, boasting an estimated 6million fans and 21 league titles. Eight of their players featured in the CHAN tournament in South Africa last month, where Zimbabwe reached the semi-finals.

AS Vita are no mugs either, with five African Champions League performances to their name. The away leg promises to be as spectacularly difficult as TP Mazembe were for Orlando Pirates.

Stuart Baxter knows how hard it’s going to be. Pirates achieved the improbable last season and Chiefs are not quite firing on all cylinders, having ended their nine-game winning run with a draw against Maritzburg last week.

Baxter grins: “I think Buddha said that success is like licking honey from a sword. The more you lick it, the closer you get to the day you cut your throat. I hope that day is about three months away … we will do our best.”

BOLLOCKZ! my innovative football show on airs every Thursday from 9am-11am. See Ballz' channel for our growing library of fascinating football interviews with the big names. 

You can also follow me on for all the latest sports news… and read my “Neal & Pray” column every Tuesday in

BOLLOCKZ! is backed by - have a look at their site for my latest sports betting advice and charity bets for our Wingzofchange charity! 

Monday, 17 February 2014


It takes three to tango: Mbalula, Smith, Zuma

The right honourable Fikile Mbalula should have issued THIS statement on South Africa’s cricketers on Saturday afternoon.

As our world-beating Proteas slumped to a huge 281-run defeat against the poxy Australian sons-of-convicts, we need the same sort of wake-up call Mbaks offered Bafana Bafana when they crashed out of CHAN last month.

Why does our Sports Minister not feel the need to decry our cricketers and rugby players in the same way as he sticks it to our footballers? This was South Africa’s third heaviest run-margin defeat of all time, and it happened at fortress SuperSportPark with captain Graeme Smith attempting to blame the conditions. I can only imagine it has something to do with the inbuilt fear of white expertise which sadly lingers in our society.

Of course, just as Bafana can redeem themselves with a friendly win over Brazil on March 5, so the Proteas can fight back in this three-match series against the Australians. Hopefully they'll be fired up for the second Test starting at Port Elizabeth on February 20.

So I’ve crafted this for our beloved “bliksem hulle” sporting spokesman, based in all but detail on his annihilation of our beloved Bafana Bafana on January 19, the night after that awful 3-1 defeat against Nigeria’s third team:

“What I saw there was not a problem of coaching, it was a bunch of losers who don’t have any respect for this country, or any respect for anybody. We must never wake up to this again.

“What did we come to see? Just a bunch of unbearable, useless individuals. Let them be told their performance was not even lacklustre, it was useless.

“We indeed have a crisis of monumental proportions and this first Test match at Centurion has proved that. The mediocrity we saw over four days is disgraceful. On Saturday, we saw a bunch of losers who lost by over two hundred runs.

"We must go back to the drawing board. That mediocrity that was displayed… we must never wake up to this situation ever again.

“Let’s not jump at one man. The CSA must look at this thoroughly. Russell Domingo is not the only problem in the team. If we are united, Haroon Lorgat would not have spent sleepless nights negotiating to get the players in to the nets. We should have fielded our best team for this Test, not a mediocre team.

“Some of the players think it is their right to be in the Protea team, some have been there but never won anything. We must forget this generation of players.

“They don’t respect their parents, their girlfriends and the nation. There is a need for a new generation of players as the current crop doesn’t respect the country. England did it when they got rid of players like Kevin Pietersen, so why can’t we? They must make way.

“I love Graeme Smith but I don’t know what was going on in his head. He was playing in front of his home supporters and I’m sure even his family was there, but what he did was unthinkable.

“I could have scored more runs than him. He reminded me of that spinner we got from Pakistan, who doesn’t take any wickets.

"I felt like just standing up and walking out.

"I saw people lining up after the game to greet them ... I won't greet them, I didn't even call them."

The original video of Fikile Mbalula’s lambasting of Bafana is here:

BOLLOCKZ! my innovative football show on airs every Thursday from 9am-11am. See Ballz' channel for our growing library of fascinating football interviews with the big names. 

You can also follow me on for all the latest sports news… and read my “Neal & Pray” column every Tuesday in

BOLLOCKZ! is backed by - have a look at their site for my latest sports betting advice and charity bets for our Wingzofchange charity!

Friday, 14 February 2014

TWO SHOCKERS FOR SOUTH AFRICAN FOOTBALL: VV installed by Orlando Pirates, Khune signs for Rooney agent Stretford

Tough choice: Vermezovic
Two shocking South African football stories broke this morning: first South Africa's top goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune announced he had signed for English agent Paul Stretford's Triple S Group, then Orlando Pirates said they'd appointed former Kaizer Chiefs boss Vladimir Vladimir Vermezović on a three-year deal to replace Roger de Sa.

Stunned isn't quite the word. Both stories are remarkable.

Here's the tweet from @iikhune_32_16 yesterday: " Good to be part of the family!"

Stretford’s Triple S Sports and Entertainment Group was formed after he left his previous agency Proactive over "huge and irreconcilable differences" involving FA misconduct charges and huge amounts of money surrounding Wayne Rooney’s transfer from Everton to Manchester United.

Stretford runs the agency with controversial former Newcastle United chairman Freddie Shepherd and his son Robert. Having left South African agent Jazzman Mahlakgane and spent six months with local agency MSC Sport, Khune is clearly at his wits' end when it comes to that big overseas move.

Sir Alex Ferguson once said: Stretford “was not the most popular man in the world – certainly at our club" when he tried to lure Rooney away from Old Trafford in October 2010.

Perhaps spurred by Andile Jali’s move to Belgium’s KV Oostende, Khune has clearly decided his only hope of playing in Europe is to sign for Stretford and his merry men. Best of luck with that, Itu. Stretford certainly fights hard for what he wants.

Even more shocking was THIS (complete with spelling mistakes, it’s Vermezović not Vermezonic) on the official Orlando Pirates website:

Orlando Pirates is pleased to announce the appointment of Vladimir Vermezonic as Head Coach.

VV has sgned a three year contract with the Club and is expected to start as soon as he gets his work permit. 

‘’I have unfinished business in South Africa. Orlando Pirates, a giant in African football, is offering me an opportunity to fulfil a dream of a lifetime. I am grateful for the opportunity” said Vladimir Vermezonic.

“I have had to study Orlando Pirates very closely from the other side. I am therefore not coming into an unknown environment. It should help because I know the supporters expect me to hit the deck running” added Vladimir Vermezonic.

“VV is not new to the South African condition. His hunger and discipline is impressive.” Dr Khoza, Orlando Pirates Football Chairman commented.

“In football, we are in the business of creating memories, history and leaving behind legacies that inspire generations to come. Coaches have become as much a part of this phenomenon as players. I wish VV a memorable and noteworthy career at Orlando Pirates Football Club” added Dr Khoza.

The Orlando Pirates Chairman, Dr Irivin Khoza, heaped praise and gratitude to the club’s assistant coach Eric Tinkler, who stepped in as caretaker coach when Roger De Sa resigned unexpectedly.

He said, “Eric is a ‘can do’ man that would rather fail doing rather than provide excuses. His work ethic is commendable. His commitment and hard work is not going unnoticed, I am confirming that Eric will continue in his role as assistant coach of Orlando Pirates Football Club”, concluded Dr Khoza.

Quite how the notorious VV, who left at least three Kaizer Chiefs stars in floods of tears during his largely unsuccessful time at Naturena from 2009-12 (a period during which arch-rivals Pirates won TWO TREBLES, he won the Telkom KO in 2009 and 2010) is supposed to solve the Buccaneers’ problems I’m not sure.

The 50-year-old Serbian is certainly renowned as a tough guy. With Stanley “Screamer” Shabalala and Floyd Mbele pulling the strings at a club which is imbued with what veteran captain Lucky Lekgwathi calls “sinister forces”, it’s going to be extremely tough.

VV returned to Partizan Belgrade when he left Chiefs in 2012 and after taking them to the top of the table he suffered a slump and was sacked in April 2013.

Just last week Dr Irvin Khoza was telling us the appointment of a new coach to succeed Roger de Sa was “not a priority”. My thought was that VV was a rushed appointment as Tinkler was about to decamp to Ajax Cape Town with his old mentor De Sa.

But De Sa is no closer to moving 1000km south and Tinkler has been assured he will stay on as VV’s number two. Very strange.

But hey. No room for more defamation suits. Best of luck Itu and VV. I think you may both need it!

BREAKING: here's the Bafana squad to play Brazil on March 5, Khune understudy is SuperSport United's Ronwen Williams, Thabo Nthethe remains in place after his move from Bloemfontein Celtic to Mamelodi Sundowns but no sign of Tower Mathoho or Tefu MashaMIGHTY, Bournemouth's Tokelo Rantie gets the call up front:

Goalkeepers: Khune, Williams
Defenders: Nthethe, Khumalo, Mkhwanazi, Xulu, Ngcongca, Mokeke, Matlaba
Midfielders: Furman, Dikgacoi, Tshabalala, Claasen, Serero, Jali, Manyisa, Patosi, Mbatha, Zungu, Kekana
Strikers: Parker, Rantie, Ndlovu

BOLLOCKZ! my innovative football show on airs every Thursday from 9am-11am. See Ballz' channel for our growing library of fascinating football interviews with the big names. 

You can also follow me on for all the latest sports news… and read my “Neal & Pray” column every Tuesday in

BOLLOCKZ! is backed by - have a look at their site for my latest sports betting advice and charity bets for our Wingzofchange charity!

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Response to Gordon Igesund's legal threats: look forward to meeting you in court, Gord

Legal threats: Gordon Igesund

GORDON IGESUND has finally gone a step too far. The Bafana Bafana head coach's fate will be decided on Thursday when he delivers his CHAN report to “Iron Lady” Natasha Tsichlas and her SAFA technical committee.

This morning I received a warning from Igesund’s lawyers saying I can no longer write about their client (the letter can be found at Obviously, these words indicate just how I feel about that. In 40 years of journalism I have never been accused of defamation, let alone warned to keep my opinions to myself. I have only ever written what I feel is in the best interests of the game. ANY game.

On Thursday, Igesund will have to explain just how hosts South Africa managed to fail at the first hurdle in a tournament restricted to home-based players only; how a tournament in which he promised "to go all the way" ended in abject failure.

Throughout the first year of Gordon's reign I was the great supporter; I initiated the oft-trending hash tag #ingordwetrust  in June 2012 and we talked long and hard about that opening game in Brazil, which was narrowly lost 1-0 in Sao Paulo.

In his first public appearance after his appointment in June, 2012, Gordon and I shared a sneaky cigarette at the Sandton Convention Centre as we talked about whether his late assistant Thomas Madigage should wear his famous ZCC hat on the bench for Bafana Bafana.

The ups and downs came thick and fast after that, with his two mandated tasks – reaching the AFCON semi-finals on home soil in 2013 and qualifying for the 2014 World Cup – both ending in failure.

Throughout stinging criticisms on the social networks I stood by Igesund. He was doing his best, I thought, he was looking everywhere for players who could rescue the nation’s ailing footballing reputation.

But then came the Thulani Serero affair. Igesund threw the Ajax Amsterdam midfielder – our highest performing star following Steven Pienaar’s international retirement – out of the team hotel when he complained of groin pain after a long-term injury during training.

I came out in support of Serero – and Igesund spent an hour haranguing me on the telephone. He insisted: “Do you know who I am? I am the head coach of South Africa…” and to my eternal shame I wrote this after that conversation.

Shaken by Gordon’s response, I then spoke to various people about the Serero incident and wrote this in an attempt to redress the balance.

From that point on – September 2013 – the relationship with Igesund was broken. I had helped Gordon publicly at every turn on several different platforms and dug hard on the Ethiopians losing points for fielding an ineligible player, backed him to the hilt, but we no longer talked; even after the sensational friendly win over World No1 Spain.

And even when I was forced to shave my head when Gordon lost in a friendly to an amateur Norway line-up I had kept the faith. But still not a word from Igesund.

At around this time I became aware of various problems within the Bafana camp. There were allegations of favouritism – as there were surrounding his predecessor Pitso Mosimane – and I touched on the subject, only to be harangued by Mike Makaab, the man who represents both Igesund and Mamelodi Sundowns centre-back Thabo Nthethe.

I was particularly aggrieved when Igesund publicly berated Russian-based defender Siyanda Xulu, 22, over a single pass during training and dropped him from the starting line-up, keeping Nthethe, 29 at the back.

That simmering resentment continued during CHAN, when Nthethe was the only member of a creaking back four to keep his place throughout the tournament. This led to threatening phone calls from Gordon’s son Grant at 2am and demands for an apology from Makaab. Throughout this, Gordon refused to take my calls.

Makaab insisted that I apologise for suggesting he influenced Igesund’s selection. That apology appeared here and it’s true, I can’t prove anybody sways our national head coach BUT IN MY OPINION certain players are favoured and nobody disputes that Makaab and Igesund have long maintained an agent/client relationship.

Makaab said an apology would end threats of legal action. He thanked me for doing it publicly on twitter - but this morning the legal letter arrived.

On Wednesday, January 22, as the furore over CHAN failure swept football-speaking South Africa,  I told a national radio station that an agent had visited the team hotel before the Spain game. I argued again that some players are favoured for their affiliation rather than their talent.

SAFA president Danny Jordaan, also appearing on the show, responded: “This will be investigated” and Igesund’s lawyers are angry that their client now appears to be “under investigation”.

Of course, since then, further allegations have arisen against Igesund. On January 26, several Sunday papers suggested Igesund was behind a pre-CHAN bonus row that nearly resulted in a strike. Obviously, Igesund IS "under investigation" and rightly so.

I have no idea what will happen on Thursday. Perhaps Igesund will talk his way out of trouble, pointing out (rightly) he had a sub-standard squad and not enough time to prepare. Or perhaps he will work out his contract and a new regime will begin after the World Cup. Perhaps he will even do the honourable thing and resign for failing to achieve his mandates.

Close shave: Gordon and I after I was
forced to shave my head after
Bafana's Norway defeat
But it is my opinion that South Africa would be best served by not renewing Igesund’s contract – which runs until July this year. He failed – narrowly – to reach the AFCON semi-finals on home soil. He failed – despite Ethiopia’s points deduction – to reach even the play-offs for Brazil 2014. And he failed – utterly – at CHAN.

I also believe Gordon’s selection process throughout CHAN was flawed. He chopped and changed in all positions, leaving players confused and uncertain. Though Gordon described his training sessions as being “like World Cup finals” I heard different, from several sources.

He also promised he would go out to win in the final Group A clash against Nigeria, where Bafana needed just a draw. Instead, he fielded a lone striker and was forced to make a first-half substitution when the Super Eagles took an early 2-0 lead.

There is plenty more that could be said here. But I’ve had enough. The late night phone calls. The threats. The prospect of a first appearance on a defamation charge in 40 years of journalism does not phase me. I should just shut up and apologise, as I did before.

But I have a right to my opinion, based on what I read on the social networks and what I hear from those involved in Igesund's turbulent reign. I have a right to change my mind about Igesund, who won the domestic PSL title with a record four different clubs.

I will not be silenced. I have nothing to lose. I earn less than R7000 a month. I do not own a home and I drive a third-hand Citroen C2. I have no other assets and I certainly can’t afford a lawyer to defend myself.

But if it’s a court battle Igesund wants, bring it on. My only motivation is to improve the standing of South African football. To weed out corruption and favouritism. That is my story.

Full text of the legal letter from Igesund's lawyer can be found HERE:

Thursday, 6 February 2014

EXCLUSIVE: Kaizer Motaung Junior hangs up his boots: but is this son of a legend the future of South African football?

Runs in the family: Kaizer Motaung Junior

Kaizer Motaung Junior is NOT going to rely on his surname to secure a future for himself in South African football.

In his first full interview since he retired from the game this week, the 32-year-old opened his heart on my football show BOLLOCKZ! on, insisting: "It's no good having the right surname if you haven't got the right qualifications.

"Just like it was on the football field, I have to fight for my place at Kaizer Chiefs, for my future. I want to get my degree, it was always difficult studying and playing, I want to put something back in the game."

Motaung, whose father set up South Africa's biggest footballing franchise Kaizer Chiefs after a glittering career in the USA in the early 1970s, will link up with his sister Jessica to ensure the future of the brand - and could even find himself playing a role for the troubled South African Football Association in the very near future.

All-rounder Kaizer also spoke fondly about his years as a cricketer at St John's in Johannesburg and Harrow School west of London, recalling: "I opened the batting with Nick Compton - who now plays for Middlesex and England - for Harrow against Eton at Lord's (here's what I wrote at the time in 2000.

"I was in the first team for two years, but the first time our traditional historic game first played in 1805) between the old private schools was called off because of rain. That was a disaster.

"It was such a big thing to go out and bat at Lord's. My dad Kaizer and the whole family turned up. Okay, I got a duck that day but I did get a century or two in the UK!

"I also grew up playing against Proteas captain Graeme Smith, who was at King Edward School. And yes, it's true, Ali Bacher wanted me to play for the Proteas, but football was my priority.

"I even spent time at the Chelsea academy when John Terry was around in the 90s, it was fabulous to be there."

Motaung, who played over 100 games for Chiefs and 22 times for 1860 Munich, paid tribute to former international referee David Elleray, his housemaster at Harrow, but accepts:  "Now I must bow out - perhaps I'll play a bit of five-a-side, golf, cricket. But now it's about what I can achieve off the field. And about my family. Being a dad is a full-time job too!

"I have many plans, business and football, that I must put in place.

"I just have to say it's such a privilege to be part of Kaizer Chiefs, the team my dad started, winning the league last year - then going nine games unbeaten after a rock start this season.

"Polokwane last night was magnificent. A full house at the Peter Mokabe. What a pleasure."

The Ballz link is here:

BOLLOCKZ! my innovative football show on airs every Thursday from 9am-11am. See Ballz' channel for our growing library of fascinating football interviews with the big names. 

You can also follow me on for all the latest sports news… and read my “Neal & Pray” column every Tuesday in

BOLLOCKZ! is backed by - have a look at their site for my latest sports betting advice and charity bets for our Wingzofchange charity!

Sunday, 2 February 2014

Inside story: the curious tale of Bafana Bafana, Carlos Queiroz, Roger de Sa and Gordon Igesund

Job swap? Gordon Igesund and
Pirates ex-boss Roger De Sa
Roger and out. To some Orlando Pirates, that news came as a blessing. Brighter Buccaneers know full well it could prove to be DeSasterous.

The minute Roger de Sa livened up transfer deadline day with his resignation just minutes after the window creaked shut on Friday night, I tweeted exactly what I believe to be true: That the Mozambique-born former Bafana goalkeeper is all set to join Carlos Queiroz in the Bafana Bafana set-up after the World Cup in Brazil.

With Gordon Igesund yet to submit his CHAN report to SAFA’s technical committee that may have appeared a little premature. Gordon’s contract runs until July, a lot of people think Igesund deserves more time.

But the hand had been forced. In the Sunday Times, Roger said: “Right now my batteries are flat. I had a heart-to-heart with Dr Irvin Khoza (the Pirates chairman) and told him I was battling to motivate myself in the morning.

“I said I wanna go. He was quite surprised. But I told him I couldn’t give 100 percent. It’s not good for me, for you, the club or the fans.”

With that, Roger was gone. But he can go with his head held high. When he took over from Augusto “Bad Back” Palacios last season, Pirates were 10th in the PSL. They ended third and he leaves with a remarkable record of reaching three successive cup finals. With Eric Tinkler in the caretaker role, Pirates could yet reach third when they’ve caught up with the rest.

True, he lost the Champions League, MTN8 and Telkom Knock-out at the final hurdles, but he did bring in R13.7m in the process. And most of the players, for all the “sinister” forces at work in the club, had good things to say about Roger’s reign.

The truth is, Pirates had a Belgian coach with African experience (I won’t name him), living in the Protea Wanderers hotel for weeks last year waiting for De Sa to slip up in the African Champions League.  He didn’t. He produced miracles at TP Mazembe and in the group stages to keep his side in the running against all expectations.

And throughout his reign, De Sa had to put up with interference from Stanley “Screamer” Tshabalala, Khoza, Floyd Mbele and several others on matters of team selection and tactics before, during and after vital games. Ask Lucky Lekgwathi, Fatau Dauda and Tlou Segolela about the chaos behind the scenes.

It had to come to an end. Roger’s patience had been tried to the limit, and he was pelted by missiles when Pirates drew with AmaZulu last month.

But relief was at hand. A couple of weeks ago I heard (from an impeccable source) Carlos Queiroz had approached Pirates, asking if Roger, 49, could assist him during Iran’s World Cup quest in Brazil later this year. Roger’s late dad Octavio knew Queiroz, 60, and the pair worked together before, both during Queiroz’s previous Bafana reign (2000-2002, played 20, lost four) and with Portugal at the World Cup here in 2010.

Despite insults and denials on my twitter time-line, Pirates fans woke up on Sunday morning with the newspapers echoing my tweets: Roger did not simply leave because he was weary at Pirates, he left because he has exciting new opportunities ahead.

Cape Town is not one of them. Yet. Ajax Amsterdam insist they have not even spoken to De Sa, though most of the football media put together Muhsin Etrugral’s recent departure with De Sa’s resignation to make a phantom marriage of convenience.

Etrugral, returning to Turkey following a bereavement, was quoted yesterday saying: "I have not spoken to anybody from Pirates. I'm flying to Istanbul to sort out some family matters."

Nothing is set in stone yet. It could be that Ajax, with backing from Amsterdam, could yet go for Roger. It’s possible Igesund could talk his way out of trouble when he tries to justify his CHAN disaster this week. The exchange rate will make it difficult for SAFA to pay Queiroz the required salary – he’s on R22m a year with Iran.

But ultimately, I believe Roger and Carlos (both born in Mozambique) will be in charge of South Africa after doing the World Cup together with Iran later this year. I think Gordon will be sacked – and rightly so – and he could even go to Orlando Pirates next, given his agent Mike Makaab’s relationship with Dr Khoza.

Sadly, none of the principle characters involved can confirm or deny much of these details as there is too much at stake. South African football thrives on secrecy and back-stabbing. Any conversations right now are strictly off the record, nothing can be said out loud for fear of upsetting Dr Khoza, Makaab, SAFA or Igesund.

But I for one would be more than happy for South Africa to begin their post-CHAN recovery in July with Queiroz and De Sa running the show for Bafana in their new Nike kit. In the meantime, Shakes Mashaba (or Igesund if he insists on working out his contract) will take charge for pre-World Cup friendlies against Brazil and other heavyweights.

But remember, South Africa will not be in Brazil later this year. Iran and Queiroz will. And we all know why.

BOLLOCKZ! my innovative football show on airs every Thursday from 9am-11am. See Ballz' channel for our growing library of fascinating football interviews with the big names. 

You can also follow me on for all the latest sports news… and read my “Neal & Pray” column every Tuesday in

BOLLOCKZ! is backed by - have a look at their site for my latest sports betting advice and charity bets for our Wingzofchange charity!