Mphela future still in limbo
Johannesburg - The future of top Bafana Bafana and Mamelodi Sundowns striker Katlego Mphela remained in the balance on Thursday after a scoreless 45 minutes for Glasgow Celtic against Wolverhampton Wanderers on Wednesday night.
The Scottish Cup holders slumped to a 2-0 defeat in the warm-up fixture before the launch of the European season and were already trailing by two goals when the transfer-obsessed Mphela was substituted at half-time.
Mphela's removal from the game at the interval by Celtic manager Neil Lennon might appear as damaging to his prospects while on trial with the renowned Scottish club, but this may not be the case.
Lennon had declared before the game that Celtic had several players on trial, from Europe and Africa, and he wanted to see them in action in match conditions before making a final verdict on their suitability for the Scottish League.
Sundowns had granted Mphela permission to spend five days on trial with Celtic, but there had been no discussion on him representing the Scottish club in a game.
However, an urgent request from Celtic before the Wolves game resulted in Sundowns president Patrice Motsepe granting their itchy-footed footballer permission to play against Mick McCarthy's English combination.
"Katlego is absolutely determined to secure a second contract in Europe after a spell in France with Strasbourg a couple of years ago," said a Sundowns spokesperson, "and although we would like to retain his valuable services, we will not stand in his way.
"However," he added, "the new Premier League season is on the horizon and we need to know where we stand in regard to our playing squad."
No doubt Bafana coach Pitso Mosimane will also be sharing concerns over the unsettled Mphela in view of the forthcoming friendly game against Burkina Faso at Ellis Park on August 10 - and more importantly, the African Nations Cup qualifying games against Niger and Sierra Leone which will follow.