Double Rugby World Cup-winning Springbok wing Cheslin Kolbe has rejoined his teammates in Pretoria. He will do his rehabilitation under the supervision of the Bok medical staff with an eye on possibly being available for selection for the opening Test of the Castle Lager Incoming Tour against Ireland.

ALSO READ: Bafana beat Zimbabwe at a packed Free State Stadium

The Bok speedster suffered a knee niggle during the Japanese club season. After consultation with the Bok medical team on Sunday, he was released on Monday to seek a specialist opinion. Kolbe returned to camp on Wednesday afternoon to follow a rehabilitation programme.

The match-day squad for the opening Test of the season, against Wales at Twickenham on Saturday 22 June, will be announced on Tuesday.

CHESLIN KOLBE HAS RETURNED TO THE SPRINGBOK SQUAD FOR THE INCOMING SERIES

This Test will be followed by the Castle Lager Incoming Series which features back-to-back Tests against Ireland (ranked second in the world) in Pretoria and Durban (on 6 and 13 July), and a historic first Test against Portugal in Bloemfontein on 20 July.

The Springboks will then turn their attention to the Castle Lager Rugby Championship where they will line up against Australia in Brisbane and Perth (on 10 and 17 August) before facing arch-rivals New Zealand on consecutive weekends in South Africa – in Johannesburg on 31 August and Cape Town on 7 September.

They will then make a short trip to Argentina where they will face the Pumas in Santiago (on 21 September) and then in Nelspruit on 28 September.

This will be followed by the traditional year-end tour featuring Tests against Scotland in Edinburgh (10 November), England in London (16 November) and Wales in Cardiff (23 November).

Bafana Bafana rewarded the thousands of fans who descended on Free State Stadium with a top-class performance as they beat Zimbabwe 3-1 in a pulsating 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifier on Tuesday night.

Coach Hugo Broos’ charges signaled their intentions very early in the game when Iqraam Rayners scored the opening goal of the match inside the first minute.

ALSO READ: PSL announces a list of nominees for end of season awards 

Free State Stadium erupted into pandemonium as the fans celebrated the home team’s dream start to the game.
But Zimbabwe responded a minute later when Tawanda Chirewa scored the equaliser to momentarily put a damper on the celebrations. The home side went in search of the goal that would have restored their lead but could not find the breakthrough they needed. The two teams went into the break still deadlocked at 1-1.

The South African senior men’s team returned with more purpose in the second period and substitute Thapelo Morena regained the lead with his strike in the 55th minute. Morena put the game beyond the visitors when he scored his second of the night and the third for Bafana Bafana when he scored in the 76th minute.

Bafana Bafana beat Zimbabwe at a packed Free State Stadium
Bafana Bafana players

EXCITEMENT AS BAFANA BAFANA BEAT ZIMBABWE IN MANGAUNG

The Bloemfontein fans delivered a memorable night from the stands for the Bafana Bafana players and technical staff as they sang their lungs out, cheered the team and gave fervent support from the stands.

The South Africans are now second in qualifying FIFA World Group C with seven points. They are level on points with group leaders Rwanda due to goal difference.

GORDON LESETEDI is in no doubt that the time is ripe for him to finally win the Comrades Marathon. Going into his ninth start of the Ultimate Human race, the athlete trained by the revered John Hamlett who has produced a handful of champions believes he is ready to shine.

Positioned fourth in last year’s race to bring to three the number of his gold medals, Lesetedi believes it is time he reigned supreme.

ALSO READ: Limpopo runner breaks 34-year Comrades Marathon record

“Ke nako,” Lesetedi says during our telephonic interview. He is in camp at high-altitude Dullstroom in Mpumalanga where champion-producing coach Hamlett is sharpening him up for the ultimate road running battle on Sunday.

“I am saying it is time to win Comrades. That’s the plan for this year. Things have gone well. Training is done and I am just waiting for Friday to go to Durban.”

GORDON LESETEDI TO RUN HIS NINTH COMRADES MARATHON 

Lesetedi will be running his 9th Comrades this weekend and with three gold medals to his name – 2018, 2019, 2023 – he is a serious contender for glory.

He finished fourth last year and says that great run which saw him narrowly miss out on the podium places has given him confidence for this edition.

“I am full of confidence because of what I achieved last year. I realised from that race that I am capable of winning this race. The key will be to stick with the leading bunch until the 75km because that’s when the podium positions are decided. If you can be strong around that mark, you are in with a good chance.”

His belief in his chances also stem from the fact that he has been there and thereabout the gold medal positions for a while now.

“I have consistently been in the top ten since 2018 so I think this year is my time.”

He admits though that his Up Run time, particularly from the previous race back in 2019 is not the kind that will send his adversaries taking him too seriously.

“I know I don’t have a good time for the Up Run. I ran 5:52:40 in 2019 when I finished in 9th place,” he said of the gold medal he won after debutant Nkosikhona Mhlakwana’s legs went all jelly on him with 500m to go and he overtook him “I was tiring at the end but since then I have worked hard and in the last two races I finished stronger.”

ALSO READ: Moletjie-born football fan wins big AmaFanDayz prize

Those races were Down Runs though and aware of that he has worked even harder this year – going into camp a week before his teammates ‘to push a little bit more than I did in the past’.

And with champion-maker John Hamlett as his coach, Lesetedi has good reason to believe he can be victorious on Sunday.

“I was drawn to Comrades after seeing Andrew Kelehe win the race. But he told me I was still young and that I needed to choose between soccer and running because I was not going to be able to be successful doing both,” the man nicknamed Zane for his football prowess after former Mamelodi Sundowns superstar Zane Moosa explained “And now I am trained by the man who helped not only Andrew but a few others to win the Comrades.”

The athlete from Sekhing village in Taung, North-West believes the key to his success will be taking Hamlett on his word, after tall the man has a proven track record – the former colonel having produced at least four Comrades champions – Kelehe and his younger brother Gift as well as David Gatebe and Ann Ashworth.

“We just have to listen to what he says, we must do and eat what he says because when you see the people who went through his coaching and listened to him and succeeded, there is pleasure in knowing that his ways work. When you do what you want and not what he tells you are defying what has been proven to work, then you will not achieve like those who came before you. I want to be like Andrew and gift and the others that coach worked with.”

And that is to become a Comrades champion. And he is in no doubt that ‘ke nako.’

By Matshelane Mamabolo 

Orlando Pirates striker Tshegofatso Mabasa has capped off an impressive season by winning his first DStv Premiership Player of the Month award for May. Rulani Mokwena of Mamelodi Sundowns has been rewarded with the DStv Premiership Coach of the Month award, for the third time this season.

ALSO READ: Mokwena win DStv Premiership monthly award 

In the Buccaneers’ five matches in May, Mabasa led the domestic league with his five goals. This includes one on the final day, which secured a place in the CAF Champions League for his club, narrowly ahead of Stellenbosch FC on goal difference. His goals in May also saw the formidable Mabasa win the league’s top goal scorer award, which was also secured on the last day of the season ahead of his nearest rival.

He is the second Pirates player to win a monthly individual award this season, after Thabiso Lebitso.

Tshegofatso Mabasa wins DStv Premiership Player of the Month
Rulani Mokwena

TSHEGOFATSO MABASA SCOPS THE DSTV PREMIERSHIP PLAYER OF THE MONTH AWARD

Mabasa beat Cape Town City’s Jaedin Rhodes, Oswin Appollis of Polokwane City and Sanele Barns from Richards Bay to the May award.

Meanwhile, during the last month of league football this May, Mokwena oversaw four wins, two draws and a defeat from their seven matches. A period in which Sundowns were unstoppable until the slip up to suffer their first defeat of the season to Cape Town City on the last day of the season. During this period, Sundowns scored 10 goals and only conceded three. With his May success, Mokwena has won the award for the third time this season, having previously won it in August and April.

Mokwena beat Cape Town City’s coach Eric Tinkler to the award, with the Citizens also having had a good month and getting the big scalp away to Sundowns.

GOAL OF THE MONTH AWARD GOES TO LINDOKUHLE MTSHALI 

Moroka Swallows’ midfielder Lindokuhle Mtshali, has won the last DStv Premiership Goal of the Month award for the season, as he took home the prize for May. Mtshali showed great technique in executing his goal from the edge of the 18-yard area in Swallows win over Stellenbosch FC.

All three winners will each receive R7, 000 from league sponsors, DStv, for their accolades.

On Friday, the Premier Soccer League [PSL] announced the eagerly awaited 2023/24 PSL Awards nominees.

Mamelodi Sundowns duo of Teboho Mokoena and Ronwen Williams, alongside Stellenbosch FC striker Iqraam Rayners, have clinched nominations for the prestigious PSL Footballer of the Season award. The vote is determined by the votes of the 16 Premier Division coaches. 

Both Williams and Rayners have secured nominations for the DStv Premiership Players’ Player of the Season category, alongside the dynamic Orlando Pirates attacking midfielder, Patrick Maswanganyi.

ALSO READ: Limpopo side Magesi FC promoted

In the DStv Premiership Coach of the Season category, Stellenbosch FC’s Steve Barker faces off against Rhulani Mokwena of Mamelodi Sundowns and Jose Riveiro of Orlando Pirates.

The nominees for the MTN8 Last Man Standing include the trio from Orlando Pirates: Sipho Chaine, Zakhele Lepasa, and Patrick Maswanganyi. Meanwhile, the Carling Knockout Player of the Tournament category sees Stellenbosch FC’s dominance, with Thabo Moloisane, Devin Titus, and Rayners all earning nominations.

In the Nedbank Cup categories, the Orlando Pirates pair of Tshegofatso Mabasa and Maswanganyi, alongside Stellenbosch FC’s Rayners, have been nominated for the Nedbank Cup Player of the Tournament while Shandre Campbell (SuperSport United), Relebohile Mofokeng (Orlando Pirates), and Devin Titus (Orlando Pirates) received nominations for the Nedbank Cup Most Promising Player category.”

Ronwen Williams

PSL AWARDS NOMINEES ANNOUNCED AS THE SEASON COMES TO AN END 

For the Nedbank Cup categories, the Orlando Pirates pair of Tshegofatso Mabasa and Maswanganyi together with Stellenbosch FC’s Rayners have been nominated for the Nedbank Cup Player of the Tournament while Shandre Campbell (SuperSport United), Relebohile Mofokeng (Orlando Pirates), and Devin Titus (Orlando Pirates) got the nod for the Nedbank Cup Most Promising Player category.

Youngsters Jody Ah Shene (Cape Town City), Ntando Nkosi (Mamelodi Sundowns), and Langelihle Phili (Stellenbosch FC) were nominated for the DStv Diski Challenge Player of the Season category.

Voting and Nomination Procedures:

Footballer of the Season: Nominations and voting were exclusively conducted by the Premier Division head coaches. Only one head coach per club was authorized to vote, and coaches were prohibited from nominating or voting for their own teammates.

DStv Premiership Player’s Player of the Season: Nominations and voting were solely managed by Premier Division players. Each club was allowed a maximum of 30 votes, with the provision that no player could nominate or vote for their own teammate.

DStv Diski Challenge Player of the Season: Nominations and voting were overseen by the Diski Challenge head coaches. Only one head coach per club was authorized to vote, and coaches were prohibited from nominating or voting for their own teammate.

Match Officials: Nominations and voting were conducted by the SAFA National Referees Committee Panel.

All Other Categories: Nominations and voting were undertaken by a judging panel comprising football journalists, analysts, and commentators. A comprehensive list of the judging panel will be publicly disclosed following the PSL Awards ceremony.

DStv, will wrap up the 2023/24 DStv Premiership season by crowning the champions Mamelodi Sundowns and giving one lucky fan a final chance to win R200, 000 through the AmaFanDayz campaign on Saturday. 

Sundowns will host Cape Town City at Loftus Versfeld Stadium in their final game of the season. A campaign which saw them secure an impressive 7th league title in succession. Kickoff is at 3pm.

ALSO READ: Mokwena win DStv Premiership monthly award 

While the champagne will be on ice ahead of the big celebrations once the final whistle blows, during halftime, DStv will reward a fan with R100 000 for the last time this season through the now popular penalty kick competition against a DStv Star. Should the winner be an active DStv Compact subscriber or higher, the prize will be doubled to R200 000. 

Throughout the 2023/24 DStv Premiership season, the exciting AmaFanDayz campaign has seen sixteen lucky fans win their share of R2.5million. Thousands of fans have entered the AmaFanDayz competition at various stadiums across the country, in cities such as Stellenbosch, Durban, Polokwane, Johannesburg, Pietermaritzburg, East London, Mbombela, Cape Town and now Tshwane.

Final crowning for AmaFandayz winners at Loftus on Saturday
AmaFandayz winner

DSTV ANNOUNCES AMAFANDAYS CROWING DURING FINAL MATCH OF THE MATCH 

To enter the competition one last time at Loftus Versfeld Stadium this Saturday, fans are encouraged to get their match tickets then visit the DStv activation zone at the stadium. Once inside the stadium, fans are encouraged to sign up with any of the DStv promoters to stand a chance to be one of three participants chosen in the sudden death penalty shootout at halftime.

Two more DStv stars will showcase their off screen talent when they take on the goalkeeper roles this coming Saturday at Loftus Versfeld Stadium. Some of the talent that have starred as goalkeepers during the AmaFanDayz  include the likes of Thembinkosi Mthembu, Neliswa Mchunu, Hope Mbele, Unati Guma, Zenokuhle Maseko, Kwenzo Ngcobo, Jo-Anne Reyneke, Nkayiso Makhanya and Keke Mphuthi. 

DStv thanks all the customers and diski lovers for getting behind their teams and the exciting AmaFanDayz campaign during yet another thrilling local football season.

Vhembe-based club Mpheni Defenders were crowned provincial ABC Motsepe League champions and will represent Limpopo at the national playoffs in Northern Cape. 

Defenders were crowned the Limpopo champions for the second time in a row following their 1-0 win over Tzaneen United at Oscar Mpetha Stadium at the University of Limpopo over the weekend. Lucky Buasi scored the only goal of the day in the 67th minute.  

ALSO READ: Limpopo ABC Motsepe clubs summoned to an urgent meeting

They qualified for the provincial playoffs after finishing top of Stream A with 34 points. Tzaneen United on the other hand were Stream B winners with 45 points.

Mpheni have now qualified for the SAFA ABC Motsepe League national playoffs for the second time in a row. Last season, the Limpopo side were eliminated in the semi-finals of the national playoffs.

MPHENI DEFENDERS RETURN TO THE ABC MOTSEPE NATIONAL PLAYOFFS 

They became the sixth team to qualify for the 2024 ABC Motsepe League national playoffs. This year, the playoffs are set to be held in the Northern Cape next month.

The other five teams that have booked their spots are Thames FC [North West], FN Rangers [Western Cape], Dondol Stars [Gauteng], Njampela FC [KwaZulu-Natal], and also Kruger United [Mpumalanga].

Percy Tau and Zambia forward Racheal Kundananji took home the best player prizes at the inaugural 2023 COSAFA Awards on Thursday.

Tau won the COSAFA Men’s Player of the Year award after a stellar 2023 with Egyptian giants Al Ahly and Bafana Bafana. Kundananji was the COSAFA Women’s Player of the Year following her eye-catching performances for former club Madrid FC and Zambia. This also includes scoring at the Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.

ALSO READ: Mokwena win DStv Premiership monthly award 

There were eight player/coach awards, four referee prizes and five Lifetime Achievement recipients. This is after COSAFA honoured those past and present who have made an impact on the game in the region. The player/coach and referee awards covered the period January-December, 2023.

They were handed over by some of the region’s greatest legends, such as Kalusha Bwalya, Lucas Radebe and Dipsy Selolwane, with many more top former players in attendance on the night.

Mamelodi Sundowns had several winners on the night, including Rulani Mokwena, who was named COSAFA Men’s Coach for the Year. This follows an outstanding 2023 in which the club won a record sixth league title in a row and the inaugural African Football League

“This award is for all of my players, an incredible group who keep on achieving. I wouldn’t be here without them. I must thank my club Mamelodi Sundowns for the support they have given to me,” Mokwena said.

Sundowns and South Africa gloveman Ronwen Williams won the award for COSAFA Men’s Goalkeeper of the Year.

ALSO READ: Banyana Banyana friendly matches confirmed 

There was a Sundowns ‘double’ in the keeping department as Andile Dlamini claimed the COSAFA Women’s Goalkeeper of the Year award as she helped the team to a ‘treble’ of domestic, regional and continental glory in the CAF Women’s Champions League.

Sundowns were not done yet as their young star Thapelo Maseko won the COSAFA Men’s Most Promising Player of the Year award for footballers aged 20 or under in 2023.

The award for COSAFA Women’s Coach of the Year went to Dr Desiree Ellis, for leading South Africa to the round of 16 at the Women’s World Cup for the first time, a continuation of her success having won the last four CAF Women’s Coach of the Year prizes.  

“I was there at the very first COSAFA Women’s Championship in Zimbabwe in 2002, so that was the start of my journey with COSAFA. The tournaments have been a huge boost to women’s football and also helped us develop new talent,” Ellis said.

Tau, Kundananji win big at the inaugural COSAFA Awards
COSAFA Legends

Leticia Chinyamula from Malawi claimed the award for the COSAFA Women’s Most Promising Player of the Year having helped the She Flames to a maiden COSAFA Women’s Championship at the age of only 17.  

There were also four prizes handed out for referees. Young Tsiaro Randriambololoma from Madagascar took home the COSAFA Most Promising Referee prize, while Diana Chikotesha of Zambia was handed COSAFA Best Female Referee

Jerson Dos Santos from Angola was COSAFA Best Male Referee and recently retired whistleman Victor Gomes was also the recipient of the award for Referee Legend.

There were also Lifetime Achievement awards handed to worthy recipients.

Finally, legendary journalist and commentator Mark Gleeson, the voice of African football, was recognised for his services in the media.

THE FULL LIST OF THE COSAFA AWARDS WINNERS ON THURSDAY NIGHT 

MEN’S PLAYER OF THE YEAR

Percy Tau (South Africa)

WOMEN’S PLAYER OF THE YEAR

Racheal Kundananji (Zambia)

MEN’S COACH OF THE YEAR

Rulani Mokwena (Mamelodi Sundowns)

WOMEN’S COACH OF THE YEAR

Dr Desiree Ellis (South Africa)

MEN’S GOALKEEPER OF THE YEAR

Ronwen Williams (Mamelodi Sundowns & South Africa)

WOMEN’S GOALKEEPER OF THE YEAR

Andile Dlamini (Mamelodi Sundowns Ladies & South Africa)

MEN’S MOST PROMISING PLAYER

Thapelo Maseko (Mamelodi Sundowns & South Africa)

WOMEN’S MOST PROMISING PLAYER

Leticia Chinyamula (Ascent Academy & Malawi)

COSAFA BEST MALE REFEREE

Jerson Dos Santos (Angola)

COSAFA BEST FEMALE REFEREE

Diana Chikotesha (Zambia)

COSAFA MOST PROMISING REFEREE

Tsiaro Randriambololoma (Madagascar)

COSAFA REFEREE LEGEND

Victor Gomes (South Africa)

LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT FOR SERVICES AS A PLAYER

Janine van Wyk

LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT IN SERVICES TO REFEREEING

Felix Tangawarima

LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT IN SERVICES TO WOMEN’S FOOTBALL

Fran Hilton-Smith

LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT IN SERVICES TO COACHING

Sunday Chidzambwa

LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT IN SERVICES TO THE MEDIA

Mark Gleeson

Women’s Africa Cup of Nations (WAFCON) champions Banyana Banyana will play two away international friendly matches against Senegal during the FIFA break in the coming weeks. This was confirmed by football motherbody SAFA on Wednesday. Bafana will face the West Africans in their backyard on 31 May and on 4 June 2024.

ALSO READ: Mokwena win DStv Premiership monthly award 

“We have always said that we are going to utilize the FIFA dates going forward and we now have these two international friendlies against Senegal,” said coach Dr Desiree Ellis. 

“We need to stay active to be ready and prepare for the WAFCON. “There are players coming back from injury, and we also want to see other players during these friendlies against Senegal,” she added. 

Banyana Banyana will play two away international friendly matches against Senegal
Banyana Banyana

“We need to prepare and be ready for WAFCON. We haven’t received any communication on when it is going to happen. But we will utilize these FIFA dates to make sure that we start preparing.”

INTERNATIONAL FRIENDLY MATCHES FOR BANYANA BANYANA CONFIRMED 

The next WAFCON will be held in Morocco. But the dates of the start of their defence of their continental title are yet to be announced.

The final 23-player squad for the away international friendlies against Senegal will be announced in the coming days.

Chippa United forward Sinoxolo Kwayiba has won the DStv Premiership Player of the Month for April while Mamelodi Sundowns coach Rulani Mokwena grabbed the coach of the month. 

Kwayiba, who only joined the Chilli Boys at the start of the 2023/24 season, was a standout performer as he scored four goals in four matches in succession. This saw his side emerge victorious against Cape Town Spurs, Kaizer Chiefs and SuperSport United. They also moved away from danger at the bottom of the log.

ALSO READ: Mamelodi Sundowns partnered with Red Bull

The judging panel, made up of football commentators, analysts and journalists, were impressed by how he has adapted to an attacking position from defence since his arrival at the club from Pretoria Callies in the Motsepe Foundation Championship. His form in April saw the 25-year-old selected as the first player from Chippa United to win the monthly individual awards since the Gqeberha-based side was promoted to topflight football back in 2014.

Kwayiba emerged as the winner from a strong shortlist that also included Iqraam Rayners of Stellenbosch FC and the Orlando Pirates duo Tshegofatso Mabasa and Patrick Maswanganyi.

 Rulani Mokwena win the DStv Premiership coach of the month award
Craig Martin, Baraka Majogoro and Justice Chabalala of Chippa United congratulate Sinoxolo Kwayiba after he scored during the DStv Premiership game

RULANI MOKWENA GRABBS COACH OF THE MONTH AWARD AHEAD OF JOSE RIVEIRO AND STEVE BARKER 

Rhulani Mokwena was named the DStv Premiership Coach of the Month for the second time this season. After claiming the prize in August, the Sundowns league-winning coach has been recognised once more after overseeing an impressive April with Sundowns.

For Mokwena, April got underway with a 1-0 win over Richards Bay. Sundowns continued in a similarly impressive vein of form during the month beating Cape Town Spurs (1-0), Sekhukhune United (2-1), TS Galaxy (3-0). They were held to a 2-2 draw away at Moroka Swallows. Mokwena was praised for maintaining his side’s winning consistency and remarkable continued unbeaten run in the league during the period of fixtures while still locked to their commitments in the CAF Champions League.

Mokwena received the most votes ahead of Orlando Pirates coach Jose Rivieiro, Steve Barker of Stellenbosch and Chippa United co-coaches Kwanele Kopo and Thabo September.

For their recognition, all the winning coaches and players will each receive a trophy and R7, 000 courtesy of DStv.

Judges for April: Simphiwe Dludlu (SABC Sport, convenor), Brian Mofokeng (SABC Sport), Sazi Hadebe (Sunday Times). Mihlali Baleka (Independent Newspapers), Mmasekepe Matsebane (Power FM)