Marc Batchelor: South African former footballer shot dead

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Mark Batchelor
Marc Batchelor played for Kaizer Chiefs, Orlando Pirates and Mamelodi Sundowns in South Africa

South African former footballer Marc Batchelor has been shot dead near his home in Johannesburg.

Batchelor played for Kaizer Chiefs, Orlando Pirates and Mamelodi Sundowns in South Africa.

“He was attacked by two men who were driving a motorbike,” a police spokesman Col Lungelo Dlamini told South African Broadcasting Corporation.

“He was about to drive into his premises. The suspects shot several times at him.”

Dlamini added: “He died inside the car and they drove away without taking anything.

“At this stage, we are still investigating what the motive for the attack was and these suspects have not yet been identified.”

Dlamini also told eNCA news Batchelor was travelling with a gardener, who was unharmed.

“I am shocked to learn about the passing of former Kaizer Chiefs player Marc Batchelor,” said the club’s chairman Kaizer Motaung.

“On behalf of Kaizer Chiefs, I wish to express my deepest heartfelt condolences to the bereaved family, friends and the football fraternity. May his soul rest in eternal peace.”

Analysis

South African sports journalist Mohammed Allie

Marc Batchelor was a colourful and controversial individual in South Africa. He retired from the game in 2003 and by 2007 had lost his job as a television pundit after being involved in a punch-up with a businessman in a restaurant.

He was very close to some well-known figures in the Johannesburg underworld, which is why there is strong speculation about his killing being a hit. Also, nothing was taken from him or his vehicle.

As a player he was one of an elite group to have scored for both Orlando Pirates and Kaizer Chiefs, South Africa’s two biggest clubs, in the Soweto derby which is played in front of 90,000 fans.

Both clubs have expressed their condolences.

In a statement, Pirates recalled Batchelor’s role in helping the team to win the CAF Champions League title in 1995 when they beat Asec Mimosas in the final and chairman Irvin Khoza described him as a “hero”.

Khoza, who is also chairman of South Africa’s Premier Soccer League, recalled that during apartheid years the striker would train in the townships and use the same showers as black players.

Granit Xhaka
Granit Xhaka was booed by fans as he was replaced by Bukayo Saka after his side blew a 2-0 lead against Crystal Palace

Arsenal will offer counselling to captain Granit Xhaka after his angry confrontation with home fans during Sunday’s 2-2 draw with Crystal Palace.

The Swiss midfielder was booed while he walked off the pitch, prompting him to cup his ear, walk past boss Unai Emery and storm down the tunnel.

Emery said: “He is upset, devastated and very sad.

“It is not only yesterday and today. He is feeling the supporters don’t like him.”

The Gunners manager said he did not want to speak about whether Xhaka may lose the captaincy.

“His behaviour was perfect in training [on Tuesday], with the group and with the club. He knows he was wrong. He feels it inside very deeply,” said Emery.

Emery said Xhaka should apologise to fans, but added: “I don’t need his apology. Because I know he is devastated, we can speak about all the situation but first it’s him.

“He is now very down and we need to support him.

“My ideal future is to watch again Xhaka playing and every supporter supporting him. I don’t know if I can or will achieve it but this is my ideal.

Niko Kovac on the touchline
Under Kovac, Bayern won the Bundesliga by two points last season

Bayern Munich have parted company with manager Niko Kovac.

The decision follows Saturday’s 5-1 defeat at Eintracht Frankfurt, which was the German champions’ second in 10 Bundesliga games this season.

Kovac leaves with Bayern fourth in the table, four points behind leaders Borussia Monchengladbach.

The 48-year-old former Croatia midfielder had been in charge since July 2018 and led Bayern to a league-and-cup double last season.

Kovac won 45 of his 65 games in charge of Bayern but Saturday’s defeat was the club’s heaviest in the Bundesliga in 10 years.

Bayern said in a statement the decision had come as “result of a mutual discussion with Niko Kovac on Sunday.”

Chief executive officer Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, said: “The performances of our team in recent weeks and the results have shown us that there was a need for action.

“We had an open and serious discussion with Niko this Sunday based on that and came to the mutual decision that Niko is no longer head coach of FC Bayern.

“We all regret this development. I would like to thank Niko Kovac on behalf of FC Bayern for his work, particularly for last season’s double win.”

Kovac was also quoted in the statement on the club’s website as saying he thought it “was the correct decision for the club at this time”.

“The results and the way we’ve played lately have led me to this decision,” he said. “My brother Robert and I would like to thank FC Bayern for these past 18 months. During that time our team won the Bundesliga, the DFB Cup and the Supercup. It was a good time. I wish the club and the team all the very best.”

Assistant coach Hansi Flick will take charge of Bayern in the Champions League against Olympiakos on Wednesday (17.55 GMT) and Borussia Dortmund on Saturday (17.30).

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