On Saturday, Bay United square up against Moroka Swallows at the Olympia Park Stadium in Rustenburg, their opening home game having now been moved to an ‘away’ fixture due to the fact that the PSL has condemned their home ground pitch at the EPRFU stadium as being unplayable.
However, despite this decision Safa looks set to force Bafana Bafana to play Nigeria’s Super Eagles in a must-win African Nations Cup qualifier at the same venue, and on the same surface, less than a week later.
Bafana Bafana coach Joel Santana and his technical team want the September 6 match moved to a better stadium and reports indicate that Cape Town has been under discussion, however, it appears Safa is determined to put its foot down and continue on a surface that has been deemed not good enough for a Sunday league kick about.
Yesterday, Bay announced their 29-man squad for the PSL season, with the unveiling of nine new signings.
The latest was that of experienced former Kaizer Chiefs and Bafana Bafana striker-cum-defender Patrick Mayo, who returns to his hometown of Port Elizabeth.
According to a report in The Herald newspaper, young up-and-coming striker Sherwin Smith (19), from East London (Riverside), also caught the eye and gained the confidence of United coach Vladislav Heric.
“The boy has plenty of potential and there’s a bright future for him in football and the club,” he told the newspaper.
Heric has retained 20 of his players from last season‘s National First Division.
“I‘m excited about the team; we are keeping about 20 of our players because they are our investment. Those guys already know the system. I can see potential and a good future for them as PSL players. The new signings bring with them a lot of PSL experience and suit the club system,” he said.
Technical committee head Luvuyo Ncandana said the committee was fully behind the squad and coach.
“The new contracts were signed with development in mind, without compromising our PSL status. Our target is to exhaust our resources to remain in the PSL.”
Zambian striker Linos Chalwe is still in negotiations with the club to renew his contract after having to attend to personal problems and returning late for the pre-season preparations.
“We understand his personal situation. He is working very hard to come back. Negotiations are under way. He’ll be back,” said Heric.
The full squad for the 2008/09 season is:
Goalkeepers: Arthur Bartman, Tampungu Dikete, Sheldon Baartjies
Defenders: Lizo Genu, Asanda Mvalo, Duran Francis, Rodrigue Ebongue, Sakhile Makhathini, Tebogo Moloi, Lerato Makhubo, Abednigo Netshodzwe, Cyril Nzama, Patrick Mayo
Midfielders: Vincent Khumalo, Sipho Khumalo, Gareth Ncaca, Zamuxolo Ngalo, David Thwala, Siyabulela Songwiqi, Luntu Mazana, Khayalethu Ngangqu, Jermaine Christian, Johannes Segalo, Ignatius Makobe
Strikers: Jimmy Zakazaka, Adebayo Abeyomi, Mamphelo Galada, Sherwin Smith, McDonald Mukansi.