CAPE TOWN – January has been a busy period for club administrators as the PSL teams look to invigorate their challenges for the second half of the 2016/17 season with new signings.
Ajax Cape Town have acquired former Maritzburg United full-back Rheece Evans on an 18-month deal from Mamelodi Sundowns, where he has only featured in a handful of matches over the last two seasons.
The Urban Warriors have also brought in Sameehg Doutie for a second stint at the club (on a six-month deal) after his contract at Indian Super League side Atletico de Kolkata recently expired. The Cape team have also snapped up a new number 10 in the form of Zambian international Rodrick Kabwe.
Fellow Mother City side Cape Town City have also done some business, the top-of-the-table PSL newcomers having announced the signing of teenage defender Raphael Georgiades, while two key players, Lebogang Manyama and Aubrey Ngoma, have penned lengthy contract extensions. Australian midfielder Matt Sim and Latvian defender Renars Rode have parted ways with the club.
Bottom-of-the-table Baroka FC have swapped coaches – veteran Jacob Sakala takes over from Kgoloko Thobejane.
They have also been the busiest team in the transfer window, having signed the following players: Jose Garcia (Highlands Park winger), Helder Pelembe (ex-Bloemfontein Celtic marksman), Siphamandla Sangweni (ex-Orlando Pirates striker), Mxolisi Kunene (former Moroka Swallows winger), Sindo Letsoalo (a midfielder from Garankuwa United), as well as two goalkeepers in Tshinuna Abashoni (Black Leopards) and Ayanda Dlamini (Alexandra United).
Also believed to have joined the Limpopo side is Botswana international midfielder Mpho Kgaswane, while Ugandan forward pair Geofrey Massa and Khalid Aucho have reportedly been placed on the transfer list. Tshepo Matete has also had his contract terminated.
Bidvest Wits, who are in the mix for a title chase, have brought in former Ajax playmaker Granwald Scott, who joins Gavin Hunt’s side as a free agent from SK Slovan Bratislava, while Free State Stars defender Thato Thlone has signed a pre-contract and will join at the end of the season.
Bloemfontein Celtic are close to capturing Kaizer Chiefs striker Siphelele Mthembu, who has been impressed the Phunya Sele Sele technical team during a couple of friendly matches for the Free State club.
Port Elizabeth outfit Chippa United have released former Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates marksman Bongani Ndulula, the one-time Bafana forward having failed to get any game-time with the Chilli Boys. Lerato Manzini has meanwhile had his contract extended.
Chiefs have confirmed that defender Lorenzo Gordinho has signed a contract extension, this coming just after the 22-year-old spent a week training with Danish club Aalborg BK.
Amakhosi are currently looking at a few trialists – Venezuelan striker Gustavo Paez, and defenders Pedro Henrique Dias de Amorim from Brazil, and Miracle Gabeya from Malawi. There has been no update on the position of Philani Zulu, the want-away Maritzburg United winger who has been linked with the Glamour Boys.
Free State Stars are another side which has changed coaches, Serame Letsoaka replacing outgoing Italian Giovanni Solinas.
KZN team Golden Arrows have boosted their forward line with Zimbabwean striker Knox Mutizwa, who arrives from Bidvest Wits.
Languishing the drop zone in their first season since promotion are Highlands Park, who have been active in the transfer market as they look to try and resurrect their campaign.
Arriving at the Gauteng club are Siyabonga Nhlapo, on loan from Bidvest Wits, as well as Moeketsi Sekola, the Free State Stars striker who won the PSL Golden Boot two seasons ago. The Lions of the North are said to be considering bringing former Ajax defender Aidan Jenniker on board, while they have released several fringe players.
Maritzburg United, who recently confirmed Roger De Sa as their new coach, have said goodbye to two players – Gregory Maasdorp and Abia Nale. Former Kaizer Chiefs winger Nale has already penned a deal with Platinum Stars, who have also signed Namibian defender Willem Mwedihanga (ex-AmaZulu and AmaTuks) and Malawian Gerald Phiri (formerly of Bidvest Wits).
Former Dikwena and Orlando Pirates winger Tlou Segolela, who has been a free agent since the end of last season, has signed for Polokwane City.
Pirates have seen their MultiChoice Diski Challenge coach Zipho Dlangalala leaving for Chippa United, while there has been no word on the head coach position, which is currently occupied by caretaker boss Augusto Palacios.
CAF Champions League winners Mamelodi Sundowns have not made any new signings; all the news surrounding the Pretoria club has been around Bafana Bafana midfielder, who is reportedly very close to joining French club Montpellier.
The PSL has taken an extended Christmas break due to the Africa Cup of Nations in Gabon. The season will resume on Friday 3 February, and will end nearly a month later than usual on June 17, mainly due to Sundowns’ CAF and Club World Cup campaigns – African News Agency (ANA).