Polokwane City have a lot to live up to in 2019-20 after a superb campaign last time out saw them finish fifth in the Absa Premiership. Zlatko Krmpotić has replaced Jozef Vukušič as head coach after the Slovakian left his job and will hope for similar success.
Vukušič’s departure came with little warning as he cited family concerns as his reason for leaving Rise and Shine.
The Slovakian coach spoke to Kick Off as he was on his way out of the club and said: “The situation with my family is so that I can’t continue with Polokwane City for next season.
“It’s very fresh and for now I only speak to the manager of the club [Bernard] Molekwa and in the next [few] days I will find a way to finalise things with the club, but the decision is final. I spoke to my family and saw the situation with my daughter, so I can’t continue there.
“It was not possible to continue in Polokwane City because in that one year I had some moments I was thinking if it’s right [to be there]. But I wanted to finish minimum first and be professional. Now it was the right time to come home and I came to final decision that it’s not possible.”
Hardly an ideal departure for the club following their record finish in the league. In addition, it has not been the brightest of transfer windows for Polokwane City.
Rodney Ramagalela has departed for Highlands Park, but this was a move long on the cards. The star striker, who shared the Absa Premiership top scorer’s prize with Percy Tau in 2017-18, was frozen out of the first team last season over his decision to sign for the Lions of the North.
This transfer was announced midway through the last campaign as Highlands snapped up the veteran striker on a pre-contract agreement.
Meanwhile, Sammy Seabi has joined Mamelodi Sundowns. Polokwane have not made any big name signings although they have acquired former Jomo Cosmos goalkeeper Mwenya Chibwe. They have also acquired Sibusiso Hlubi and Eden Nene from Free State Stars and Black Leopards respectively.
There have been reports in the press linking Rise and Shine with some new signings. Ayanda Nkosi was one player linked with a move to Polokwane, but the latest on that front according to Kick Off is that he has left the club’s training base without being offered a contract.
In addition, City have been linked with Uruguayan striker Martin Bueno. Kick Off reported in mid-July that he was set to sign.
An unnamed source told them: “He is the typical Uruguay number nine like [Edison] Cavani and [Diego] Forlan. He has physical strength and good technique.
“He has been impressive at training and done well to win a contract.”
There has been no further word since then, although in all fairness, Polokwane City are not known for being particularly forthright in their communication with the media and public.
All things considered, another top eight finish for Polokwane City will be a superb return. They were not expected to battle the big guns last season but the magic of Jabu Maluleke and Mohammed Anas in particular spurred them on to incredible heights.
With Baroka having won last season’s Telkom Knockout, Black Leopards having survived in the Absa Premiership and Polokwane City having exceeded expectations, Limpopo football is in a particularly good space. The battle is on for top spot in the province and Krmpotić’s men are not about to give up without a fight.
It is vital that they get the season off to a good start in their opening weekend derby against Black Leopards at Thohoyandou Stadium.
Polokwane City FC nicknames
Rise and Shine .
Polokwane City FC history
Polokwane City came into existence in 2012 after Port Elizabeth’s Bay United was sold to the Mogaladi family. The club was relocated and renamed, winning the National First Division in 2012-13 despite four of their players having passed away in a traffic accident.
A stable force in the Absa Premiership, albeit one which has yet to reach full potential, Polokwane City have never been relegated since and have qualified for the MTN8 in two of the last three seasons.
The 2018-19 season saw them finish a record fifth and Polokwane City also managed to finish sixth in 2016-17, arguably punching well above their weight on both occasions.
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Polokwane City FC 2019-20 squad
Forwards: Walter Tatenda Musona, Bongile Booi, Puleng Tlolane, Charles Baloyi, Mohammed Anas, Mondli Miya, Charlton Mashumba, Mpambaniso Monde
Midfilders: Jabulani Maluleke, Edgar Manaka, Vusimuzi Mngomezulu, Sammy Seabi, Wiseman Maluleke, Salulani Phiri, Mpho Mvelase, Banele Sikhondze
Defenders: Ayanda Nkili, Simphiwe Hlongwane, Sibusiso Mbonani, Ndivhuwo Ravhuhali, Sibusiso Sikhosana, Teboho Kalake, Nicholas Motloung
Goalkeepers: George Chigova, Harold Ndlovu, Lehlohonolo Phali
Polokwane City FC: PSL season 2019-20 fixtures and results