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Edward Manqele notable absentee from Free State Stars's big reveal

By Mark Gleeson | 2017-08-15 16:08:30.0

Edward Manqele was the notable absentee on Tuesday when Free State Stars unveiled seven new signings for the new season but the former Bafana Bafan striker is still training at the club.

Stars have yet to make their mind up about Manqele who had been warned to loose weight when he started trials at the club last month if he wanted any chance of being offered a contract.

The 30-year-old has still to convince the club’s management of his potential to shed‚ and keep off‚ the kilograms after having a promising career dogged by his battle with the bulge.

Stars are also still assessing former Orlando Pirates and Kaizer Chiefs striker Siphelele Mthembu‚ once the hottest property in the domestic game when the two Soweto giants squabbled in court over who owned him but who has failed to live up to his potential.

Stars have signed Nigerian midfielder Mumuni Abubakar‚ once of Mamelodi Sundowns and last at Black Leopards‚ plus got Sello Japhta back from Orlando Pirates.

There are two international goalkeepers new to the club in Olivier Kwizera from APR in Rwanda and Badra Ali Sangare from the Ivory Coast.

Stars’ own website on Tuesday spelt both players’ names wrong in a post announcing their unveiling.

New to top flight football will be Sibusiso Hlubi from Mthatha Bucks and Bathusi Aubaas and Mpho Mathekgane from the amateur ranks.

Manqele came to prominence at Stars six years ago when he scored 14 goals in his first season and was immediately snapped up by Mamelodi Sundowns.

After a season at Sundowns‚ Manqele was loaned to Moroka Swallows before going back to the Brazilians‚ who were horrified at his size and immediately sent him on a six week 'fat attack' programme.

Manqele fell out with the club over the issue and was later allowed to leave for Chippa United.

Kaizer Chiefs signed him in mid-2015 but in two seasons he spent at Naturena Manqele started just 12 games and scored a single goal.

He was among a bevy of players culled by AmaKhosi at the end of last season‚ only to be given another opportunity to prove himself at his old club.

Manqele has won four full international caps for South Africa – his first in early 2012 and last near the end of 2013.

Mthembu‚ now also 30‚ was let go by Chiefs at the end of last season after starting just three games in the previous campaign.

Mthembu has scored 29 goals since his debut in 2009.  - SowetanLIVE