The Mpisanes’ NFD grand entrance

2014-08-17 15:00

Wealthy Durban couple Sibusiso and Shauwn Mpisane yesterday announced their arrival as the latest South African family to run a local football club.

The Mpisanes own National First Division (NFD) outfit Royal Eagles, officially launched at the iconic Moses Mabhida Stadium yesterday.

The club was renamed Eagles after the socialite couple bought Sivutsa Stars from Mpumalanga in May, in a deal estimated to be worth between R10million and R15?million.

The couple, famous for their lavish lifestyle, joins a string of other famous families that own clubs in the NFD – the Sonos at

Jomo Cosmos, the Thidielas at Black Leopards and the Madlala’s at Lamontville Golden Arrows, the side Mpisane grew up supporting.

“I was born and bred in Lamontville and my team has been, and still is, Lamontville Golden Arrows, as well as Nylon City, which was

also a Lamontville-based team,” the 43-year-old Mpisane told City Press this week.

On his investment in a soccer club, he said: “KwaZulu-Natal [football] has to go back to the glory days of Manning Rangers, AmaZulu FC and African Wanderers.

[Also] the undying passion for the game and the interest in presenting talented young South Africans with the opportunity to take their soccer talents to greater heights.

“I wish Eagles can play attractive football that will make people come to the stadium in numbers.”

Mpisane has hired Duncan Lechesa as head coach, with a technical staff that includes former Mamelodi Sundowns goalkeeper John Tlale (goalkeeper coach), Mlungisi “Professor” Ngubane (technical advisor) and Sello “Jomo” Ntuli (assistant coach).

The team has just returned from a preseason camp in Nelspruit, Mpumalanga, and has signed 25 new players, retaining just five

from the now defunct Sivutsa, confirmed team manager Richard Makhoba.

“The coach has a three-year plan to promote the club to the Premier League,” said Mpisane.

He added: “I am just keeping my team within the monthly grant [of about R380?000] from the league.

I have a strong belief that the players will just perform on their own without being promised unrealistic bonuses and salaries.”

Eagles kick off their NFD campaign at home against Baroka FC at the King Zwelithini Stadium on Friday night. (See fixtures)

Elsewhere, Abafana Bes’thende, as Arrows are known to their followers, begin life in the second tier after 14 seasons in the elite league.

The new season will also welcome newly promoted sides Cape Town All Stars and Highlands Park, who both ascended to the NFD via the ABC Motsepe League (second division) playoffs two weeks ago.

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