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Mthandi’s waiting in the wings | News | Sport

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Unlike us, the media and the public, Desiree Ellis has to look beyond the World Cup. While we daydream about the trip to France, the coach knows she’ll be left with the fallout, good or bad.

Ahead of the friendly against Jamaica last Sunday, Ellis waxed lyrical about how many members of the squad had an added desire to fight for World Cup qualification, saying this is their last opportunity because they won’t be around for the next one.

“I think the coach is looking for younger players to be in the team for a long time and to gel with the older players and learn from the older players,” says Amanda Mthandi, herself one such young player.
“Once they’ve retired then we know we don’t have to start afresh with the foundation.
Instead, we can continue where they left off.”

The position Mthandi occupies can be an uncomfortable one — the weight of her promise to excel in the future lingers, but doesn’t eliminate the pressure to perform in the here and now.

The 22-year-old striker is not bothered. She understands that this is part of the journey and her trajectory is still pointed firmly upwards.

That journey began when she was six years old. After being recruited into a kickaround with her cousins, her parents immediately recognised her talent and enrolled her in an academy. For the next six years at Orlando Pirates she found it hard to excel — the teams were mixed and fewer and fewer girls signed up each year. There was no dream to be a footballer because it couldn’t happen.

“My love of football kept me going. It wasn’t until I started playing with the other girls’ teams [that I began to dream]. While I was playing with the boys I didn’t even know if there were any teams [for girls]. But once I got there I said: ‘Ja, it’s time to push myself and see how far along I am compared to them.’”

Mthandi spent the next decade getting her name known in women’s football circles. It was a grind; there was no quick blow-up to success that allowed her to coast on reputation.

“I even played for the U-20s but we never went to any World Cup because Nigeria would always beat us at the crucial stages,” she says regretfully.

Her first chance to revel in the national spotlight came last year when her side, the University of Johannesburg, won the University Sports South Africa football tournament, a competition that earns teams qualification to the national women’s football league. Mthandi was named player of the tournament.

To cap off a great year of personal achievement, a national call-up to Banyana ahead of the Women’s Africa Cup of Nations followed.

Despite eventually coming on to score in her competitive debut in the 7-1 thrashing of Equatorial Guinea, Mthandi had to make do with starting on the bench during the historic run to the final and into the World Cup.

She remained stoic while forced to watch helplessly in the tense final against old foe Nigeria.

“There was one thing I told myself: ‘If I do get an opportunity to play, I’m going to score and be remembered, and the rest will fall into place,’” she says. “I want to show the coach that I’m eager to play and that if I do get the chance to start or I come on as a sub, I will give 110% and prove that I can play in the position.

“It was a bummer that we lost. We could have beaten Nigeria in open play, but unfortunately in went to penalties and we lost.”

The development of a football player is strange. You work for years to become a star, only to find yourself in a new set-up and have to do it all over again. Working in Mthandi’s favour is her ability to play as a winger or a forward, having regularly played both positions at club level. With Ellis nailing down the last few seats on the plane to France, such versatility could be invaluable.

“Everyone is going the extra mile,” Mthandi says of the squad. “We don’t want to go there and make fools of ourselves. We want to go there and show them that we can also play.

“Everyone wants to go so the competition is a bit tough. No one wants to stay behind, we all see ourselves in France. But it’s a good thing because we push each other to the limit.”

That, presumably, is exactly the atmosphere Ellis would like to foster. Judging by her words, Ellis is here for the long haul and has an extended plan that involves blooding the next generation. Just how large Mthandi figures into that vision will be established in the next few crucial months.

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Leeds United 1-0 Brentford: Eddie Nketiah scores winner on home debut

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Eddie Nketiah’s goal was his second in two games in all competitions for Leeds

Eddie Nketiah scored on his Championship debut to earn Leeds United a late but deserved win at home to Brentford.

The 20-year-old, on loan from Arsenal, tapped in from Helder Costa’s square ball within four minutes of coming on as a substitute.

The hosts had the better of the game and victory gave them 10 points from a possible 12, seeing them top the early Championship table on goal difference.

For Brentford, the defeat was their second from their opening four league games and their first away from home, leaving them six points behind the strongest starters.

After a relatively quiet first half, Leeds applied significant pressure in the second and finally found a way past the visitors’ defence thanks to two of their substitutes.

Wolves loanee Costa – who was introduced with 25 minutes remaining – made a good run down the right and played the ball across perfectly for Nketiah to slot home in the middle.

The England Under-21 international, who joined Leeds on a season-long loan deal from the Gunners on transfer deadline day, also scored at Salford City in the Carabao Cup on his Leeds debut on 13 August.

His goal saw pace-setting Leeds add to their early-season away league wins over Bristol City and Wigan, as they claimed their first home victory of 2019-20 after drawing with Nottingham Forest.

The Bees’ best chance arguably fell to Said Benrahma in second-half stoppage time, but he blazed well over the bar after the ball had fallen nicely for him just outside the area.

Sweden centre-back Pontus Jansson – who scored for Leeds in this fixture at Elland Road last term – captained Brentford against his former club following his July move to Griffin Park for an undisclosed fee.

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Sharper teeth for Parliament’s financial watchdog committee as Scopa and SIU agree to work together

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Parliament’s Standing Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa) on Wednesday reached an agreement with the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) to refer various cases to the SIU for investigation.

Scopa is an important watchdog committee which oversees all state expenditure. 

The agreement has the potential to bolster the efforts of the SIU to recover funds lost to the state from corruption or irregular spending, much like the Special Tribunal established by President Cyril Ramaphosa earlier this year.

Scopa spokesperson Faith Ndenze issued a statement on behalf of chairperson Mhluleko Hlengwa, welcoming the agreement.

“The committee and the SIU are currently developing modalities and operating procedures to regulate the process to be followed in such cases.

“Scopa believes that this move will strengthen accountability and consequence management, particularly as it occurs against the backdrop of the amendment of the Public Audit Act, which also seeks to strengthen accountability.

“As Scopa holds meetings with stakeholders, it will find spaces and areas of agreement in terms of what the committee can and cannot do,” the statement reads.

Fin24 reported on Wednesday on some of the successes and forthcoming efforts of the SIU. 

“…the Special Investigating Unit has filed a court application on behalf of Eskom to set aside the Tegeta Brakfontein coal supply agreement to the value of R2.7bn.”

In February, the Sunday Times reported that the SIU was investigating the alleged theft of R139bn from Eskom, related to the construction of the Medupi and Kusile power stations, reportedly part of a broader SIU investigation into the theft of about R170bn from the power utility.

The statement concludes that “having met yesterday with a principal partner, the Auditor-General, as well as the Anti-Corruption Task Team (ACTT) and the National Treasury, it is apparent that Scopa is laying a solid foundation for its work going forward”.

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Two pupils, one other male stab taxi driver to death in Sasolburg

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Two pupils, one other male stab taxi driver to death in Sasolburg


It’s believed the three attacked the driver during a ride to Zamdela on Wednesday afternoon.


Picture: Winnie Theletsane/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG – Two pupils and a 24-year-old man have allegedly stabbed and killed a taxi driver in Sasolburg, in the Free State.

It’s believed the three attacked the driver during a ride to Zamdela on Wednesday afternoon.

Police said the trio fled the scene after the fight, however, they were later arrested.

The police’s Josephine Rani said: “The learners are both 16 years old. They all caught a taxi around Zamdela and during their ride, they stabbed the driver who passed away on the scene.”


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