BRIAN KIAUTHA: After a three-month hiatus the Barclays Premier League is back. During the break, Germany won the World Cup, beating a Messi-led Argentina 1-0. The impact of the German players, such as Mesut Özil and André Schürrle, will soon be felt as the players and fans alike prepare for the new season.
Manchester City made it two league wins in three years at the end of the 2013/14 season, with Liverpool finishing two points behind the champions. Manchester City has had a quiet transfer window so far, but they have brought players like Bacary Sagna and Frank Lampard into the squad as they aim to retain the title.
DEAN HORWITZ: Just two months after winning the Golden Ball at the FIFA World Cup, Lionel Messi is back in the headlines, except this time it’s for all the wrong reasons. Messi and his father, Jorge, stand accused of tax evasion to the tune of 5.3 million dollars, an allegation both of them deny. If found guilty, the player and his father could face up to six years in prison and a hefty fine of up to 32 million dollars.
Messi and his father were officially charged with tax evasion by the Spanish government in September last year. They, together with Messi’s former agent, were all charged with creating an elaborate scheme to conceal his finances using banks and shell companies in the UK, Uruguay, Switzerland and Belize. The charges allege that false tax returns were submitted in an attempt to defraud the Spanish Government of more than three million dollars between 2006 and 2009.
ABONGILE SKOSANA: AmaTuks open the 2014/2015 Absa Premiership campaign on 9 August against newly-promoted Polokwane City. Perdeby spoke to AmaTuks head coach Steven Barker about their upcoming season.
AmaTuks did not finish in the top eight of the Absa Premiership last season. How are you planning to up your game this season?
Compared to what many people think, I don’t think it was a poor season and often the log position doesn’t determine the performance that we put on last season, but yeah, it was a tough season for us, having lost a number of key players. I do think that the team played well last season and there were a lot of games that we never really lost [but] we were unfortunate not to have got more out of those games. This season we are far more settled in terms of the squad and the pre-season preparations. We’ve got the majority of the squad from day one as compared to last season. So, I think that would be a big bonus for us this year and a lot of our young players were the youngest players in the league last season ... and I think that extra year [of] experience will help us this coming season.
NQOBILE DLUDLA: Bivest Wits advanced to the semi-finals of the season’s first big tournament after trashing Bloemfontein Celtic 4-3 on penalties at the Bidvest Stadium on Friday night.
Wits goalkeeper Jackson Mabokgwane won the game for the Clever Boys by saving an attempt from Celtic’s Limbikani Mzava with the game at 3 each in the MTN8 tournament. The match ended goalless after 120 minutes of play.
ABONGILE SKOSANA: UP-Tuks coach Evangelos Vellios told Perdeby that his team is committed to defending their Varsity Football title this season.
“It  was a wonderful year knowing that we have accomplished something great and we are the champions,” he said. “I have to make sure that the trophy comes back and stays here at the University of Pretoria. We have to fight to keep it.”
NQOBILE DLUDLA AND LUTHO MTONGANA: Bloemfontein Celtic walked away with the spoils at an inaugural pre-season event hosted by Bidvest Wits in Johannesburg on Saturday.
Celtic won the inaugural Charity Showdown at Bidvest Stadium following well fought battles over fellow premier league sides Bidvest Wits and AmaZulu. Mpumalanaga Black Aces also participated in the four-team tournament.
LUCA KOTTON: Nine new players have joined premier league side Bidvest Wits ahead of the start of the season in August.
Gavin Hunt, Bidvest coach, appears to have gone with a mix of youth and experience, with five of the new signings over 30-years-old.
MICHAEL REINDERS: Germany beat Argentina 1-0 in extra time to claim their fourth World Cup. Substitute Mario Götze scored in the 113th minute to ensure a German victory at the Maracanã Stadium in Rio de Janeiro.
There was a lot of hype prior to the game given Germany’s 7-1 drubbing of Brazil. Because Argentina had to go to penalties to win their semi-final against Holland, they were seen as the underdogs and Germany were seen as the favourites to win the match.
MICHAEL REINDERS: Argentina beat Netherlands 4-2 in a dramatic penalty shootout to book their place in the World Cup final against Germany on Sunday after a tight game that ended 0-0 after normal and extra time.
The first half showcased both teams’ defensive talents. The high-scoring Brazil v Germany match on Tuesday night seemed to have made both the Netherlands and Argentina cautious as they played a slow and calculated game.
NQOBILE DLUDLA: Wits Football Club (Wits FC) players, Mahle Mtabane and Brylon Petersen are among the 18 players selected on Wednesday to represent University Sports South Africa (USSA) Football in the upcoming under-21 national championships.
Mtabane and Petersen were two of three players sent by Wits University for selection from among 31 players representing 11 institutions across the country.