Chippa United kick off in Bay

TESTING GROUND: Chippa United's Ugonna Uzochuku, left, and Skhumbuzo Mshweshwe of Subs during their pre-season practice match. Picture: FREDLIN ADRIAAN
TESTING GROUND: Chippa United’s Ugonna Uzochuku, left, and Skhumbuzo Mshweshwe of Subs during their pre-season practice match. Picture: FREDLIN ADRIAAN

PORT Elizabeth’s Premiership League side Chippa United defeated semi-professional football outfit Swartkops Valley United Brothers (Subs) 1-0 in a disappointing pre-season practice match at the Gelvandale Stadium last night.

A goal by United midfielder Sipho Mthule in the second half separated the two teams after they went into the break without any goal scored.

The match was billed to be played at the Zwide Stadium, but United’s officials changed the venue in the last hour before the game started after they were not satisfied with the condition of the pitch.

United used the match against Subs to gauge their players’ state of readiness ahead of their big friendly game against Kaizer Chiefs on Sunday at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium.

United gave the new players game time to find a right combination before the season begins. United have acquired the services of five former Orlando Pirates players, including the midfield duo of Joseph Molangoane and Manti Moholo.

The Chilli Boys’ owner, Chippa Mpengesi, had identified the other three players as defender Siyabonga Zulu, Bheki Nzunga and midfielder William Twala. Moholo and Zulu have each signed one-season loan deals with options for them to be bought permanently, while the other three were offered three-year contracts.

Mpengesi reached a deal for the release of the five players, with Pirates chairman Irvin Khoza following their meeting in Johannesburg on Wednesday. He said yesterday the five players would be part of the team when they played Kaizer Chiefs on Sunday.

“They have already joined the team at a camp in the Eastern Cape. There will be some other experienced players we will also be bringing on board to beef up the team. We will name them once we have signed them.”

United players will be introduced to supporters on a two-day bus tour, starting today, around metro areas like New Brighton, Kwazakhele, Zwide, KwaNobuhle, Langa and Walmer. The team will sign autographs at the Pier 14 shopping complex in Port Elizabeth tomorrow.

“Taking the team to the people is what will characterise our public relations activities in Port Elizabeth and the surroundings. We believe the people of the metro should have a sense of ownership and truly identity with us from day one and in this fashion we will slowly write our name across their hearts,” United chief operations officer Thabiso Makuto said.

Meanwhile, Kaizer Chiefs beat NMMU Madibaz 3-1 in a behind-closed-doors practice match held at the university’s main campus stadium yesterday morning.

Both teams ended the first half without any goals. – Mthetho Ndoni

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