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Sport - Date: 04 July 2019
Written by: Frank Mavhungu / Viewed: 559
As part of their preparations for the coming soccer season, Black Leopards announced the signing of two vastly experienced players this week.
According to the club’s chairman, Mr David Thidiela, Lidoda Duvha secured the services of the former Orlando Pirates left back, Thabo Matlaba, and a Ghanaian midfielder, Mumuni Abubakar.
Matlaba entered into a two-year contract with the Thohoyandou side with the option to extend it for another year. Abubakar and Matlaba joined their teammates at the training session in Polokwane on Tuesday morning.
Abubakar is not a new name in the Leopards’ camp. He played for Lidoda Duvha for two seasons before leaving for Free State Stars three years ago. He later left the Free State side for the National First Division side, Royal Eagles, early last season. Matlaba and Abubakar are an addition to Leopards’ two new recruits, Thuso Phala and Mogakolodi Ngele. The two strikers were playing for SuperSport United and Mamelodi Sundowns respectively.
When asked whether Matlaba and Abubakar were the last signings for the season, Thidiela appealed to the team’s supporters “to watch this space,” saying much was still to come.
Thidiela further stated that it hurt him most to see the team losing home matches in front of a capacity crowd, hence his efforts to go all out to beef up the squad. He reiterated the fact that they were assembling a squad that would challenge for silverware instead of fighting for survival, come next season.
He also revealed that the team’s top goal scorer, Mwape Musonda, was still contracted to the club. He further indicated that whoever wanted Musonda’s services must be ready to pay. The Zambian sharpshooter scored 16 goals last season.
Leopards recently lost several players to other Premiership sides. Apart from Phathutshedzo Nange and Marks Munyai, who left for Bidvest Wits and Highlands Park respectively, Lidoda Duvha parted ways with Lehlohonolo Masalesa, Eden Nene and Ivan Mahangwahaya. Masalesa has signed a two-year contract with Chippa United, while Nene is said to be negotiating a contract with Polokwane City.
As for Mahangwahaya, negotiations were at an advanced stage with Bidvest Wits at the time of our going to press.
Leopards also announced the appointment of the team’s new head coach, Mr Lionel Soccoia, last week. The Frenchman will be assisted by the former Kaizer Chiefs assistant coach, Mr Patrick Mabedi. Mr Mlungisi Ngubane is the new team manager.
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Mr David Thidiela and Mwape Musonda.
Frank is a Human Resources Manager at the Department of Public Works in Limpopo. He is the longest serving correspondent of the Mirror, having joined us at the end of 1990. He mainly writes sports reports and resides at Tsianda Village. In 2004, Frank won the National Castle League Award, an award for the best reporter in the SAB league in South Africa.