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On the apex of things is stories emanating regarding the South Africa national team job.

The managerial post is devoid of an occupant following the sacking of Shakes Mashaba who last week we, understand, has taken the legal route to fight back at the South Africa Football Association’s decision to sack him.

The vacant role is inevitably a hot-cake with a number of managers on Safa’s wish-list.

Carlos Queiroz is one of those reportedly being evaluated. The 63-year-old is believed to have called it quits with the Iranian National team today with the Bafana Bafana coaching job top on his agenda. The Portuguese tactician was last month in Johannesburg amid riffed reports he’d met some key members of Safa. However, Queiroz will face stiff competition for the managerial role with in-demand Mamalodi Sundowns gaffer Pitso Mosimane –voted Africa’s best coach – also linked with Safa.

African Champions Mamelodi’s president Patrice Motsepe has moved quickly to clear the path to ensure his gaffer gets the job, saying he wouldn’t stand in the way should SAFA make a formal approach.

Also making the news rounds in SA, is the contract wrangle involving Keagan Dolly and Sundowns.

The 23-year-old, backed by the SA Footballers’ Union is contemplating reporting The Brazilians to FIFA.

The player has gone AWOL with Mamelodi’s insistent that suitors looking to sign Keagan to meet the star’s 1.7m euros buyout clause. The South Africa international was recently in court over the issue but lost after a tribunal in Pretoria accepted Sundowns version of events. Weighing in into the furor, club president Patrice Motsepe said he’d got no hand in the saga, saying if left to him alone he would have allowed the player to leave for next to nothing.

French club Monpillier and Olympiakos are one of sides queuing for the 23-year-old’s services. An unnamed English Premier League team is also in the chase and are said to have been keeping tabs on the midfielder’s development for over twelve (12) months.

The Absa Premiership is exasperated by European clubs bit-part payment deal suggestions instead of paying upfront for the starlet.

In Kenya, two premier league clubs namely Thika United and Sofapaka have been demoted by the Kenyan Football Federation for failure to comply with Caf’s club license rules.

The two outfits are relegated to the second tier where clubs have a deadline of January 31st to comply with the stipulated criteria.

Teams hindered by the Kenyan Football Federation’s stance can contest the decision at the Appeals Committee though it’s strongly believed they would prefer taking the matter to court – a thing of which could mean delay in start of the domestic league.

Fronting the headlines in the back pages in Zambia is Fashion Sakala’s expressed disappointment over Caf’s decision to overlook teammate Kalaba for the Africa Home-based player of the year award.

Rainford Kalaba scored fourteen (14) times for TP Mazembe the previous campaign.

Dubbed Prince of Kamalondo, Kabala made the finalised list of three-shortlisted candidates for the Caf prize but missed out to Mamelodi Sundowns and Uganda’s goalkeeper Dennis Onyango.

In Ghana, domestic league leading goal-scorer Latif Blessings has turned professional penning the dotted lines with Major League Soccer’s Kansas Sporting City from Liberty Professionals FC.

Blessings netted seventeen (17) times last season and was named Glo League’s best player and golden boot winner but was dropped from The Black Stars’ Afcon set up.

Latif, a comfortable dribbling winger, inked a two-year deal with an option on an extended contract.

Over to Nigeria, ex-Super Eagles player Emeka Ezeugo today got on the nerves of Nigeria’s squad players with his claim that no current generation Nigerian footballer can win the CAF player of the Year gong insinuating, they lack consistency.

Nigeria produced four past winners, last winning it 1999.

In Egypt, Chairman Mansour Mortada have asked Zamalek SC gaffer Mohammed Helmy to decide whether or not to stay with The Knights. Hemly lost the Cairo derby to Al Ahly in the final game of the Egyptian premier league first round.

Mortada has already lined up three candidates as Mohammed’s possible replacements should he opt to leave the side.

Of course there’s no forgetting about the Africa Cup of Nations set to start soon.

Teams are busy sealing the finer details to their preparations.

Cameroon, champions Ivory Coast, DR Congo and Uganda have had test games recently.

Meanwhile, newly crowned Africa player of the year Mahrez is buoyed of winning the Afcon with Algeria. The Desert Foxes will be out to end a 26-year barren spell after last winning it in 1990 against Nigeria In Algiers.


Featured Photo: Ivory Coast players celebrate after scoring their winner against Sweden in a tune-up friendly ahead of the African Nations Cup(Courtesy of espnfc)

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