giants clash in free state

Ramatsiyi Moholoa

Ramatsiyi Moholoa

The Free State provincial government has organised an off-season soccer tournament, which will feature Orlando Pirates, Kaizer Chiefs, Free State Stars and Bloemfontein Celtic.

The tournament is scheduled for July 5 at Charles Mopeli Stadium in Namahadi .

Ace Magashule, MEC for sports and recreation in Free State, is expected to announce full details at the launch of this event next week.

The tournament comes at a time when the Premiership and First Division clubs are preparing for the start of a new soccer season.

It will also be a great opportunity for the Premiership clubs to unveil some of the players recruited ahead of the start of the season.

Pirates have already signed deadly striker Thulasizwe Mbuyane, the former Stars striker who will also be seen in the Vodacom Challenge.

Irvin Khoza, chairman of Pirates, was true to his word; he had said they would have a new coach by June 25 when the team starts with pre-season training.

Jean-Paul Akono, who guided Cameroon's Under-23 side to a gold medal at the 2004 Olympics in Greece, was believed to be one of the top coaches in the running for the job.

Former Pirates coach Owen da Gama is expected to be interviewed for a similar job by Phunya SeleSele boss Jimmy Augousti this week.

Celtic chief executive Ivan Augousti and manager Khumbulani Konco were also in Portugal last week to interview three coaches with the help of FC Lisbon.

On the other hand, Chiefs are chasing their former striker and Zambian international Collins Mbesuma to end their goal drought.

Ghanaian Duncan David, the new Ea Lla Koto coach, has already recommended two players from Ghana to beef up their defence.

The two players are expected in Bethlehem next week but will only be signed after being assessed by the entire technical staff.

David arrived in Mzansi last week to begin his new job after replacing Malawian Kinnah Phiri, coach of the Flames for the 2010 World Cup-Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers.