It’s the clash of the Celtics

2015-02-22 14:00

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Some have dubbed today’s Nedbank Cup last-32 clash between Bloemfontein Celtic and Roses United a father-and-son battle or “Celtic vs Celtic”.

This is due to the controversy surrounding the ownership of the ABC Motsepe side, Roses United.

It was not so long ago that Max Tshabalala, Bloemfontein Celtic’s current owner, was the boss of the second-division side.

It was also not too long ago that Celtic coach Clinton Larsen was in charge of Roses United.

Although Tshabalala says he has severed ties with the club, Celtic defender Keegan Ritchie last week let slip in an interview that Tshabalala was still the owner of United – a statement he later retracted and apologised for.

But Ritchie is not the first person to make such a statement.

Roses appointed Duncan Lechesa as their new coach last month, which was confirmed by Tshabalala.

“I can confirm that we have appointed Duncan Lechesa head coach of our feeder team Roses United FC as from today,” Tshabalala was quoted as saying by the Sowetan last month.

But earlier this week, when City Press contacted Tshabalala, he laughed off suggestions that he was still involved with Roses.

He said his only crime was that he was the founder-owner and the club had new owners.

“I spent money buying Celtic and why would I still be involved in an amateur team?” asked Tshabalala.

Interestingly, of all the ABC Motsepe clubs campaigning in the Nedbank Cup, United are the favourites to cause an upset this afternoon, as they are a formidable side.

Larsen this week acknowledged that he had left a good team, saying he expected a tough encounter this afternoon.

He said Roses’ players were motivated to cause an upset and make a name for themselves.

There is additional motivation too, as their progress in the tournament is tied to financial incentives.

Larsen has cautioned his players against complacency and underestimating the second-division side.

He has been preparing them for a while, which is evident in the team’s 3-0 win over bottom-of-the-log AmaZulu, and is happy with their response.

“Sometimes players tend to switch off and choose games, but we told them we are not going to tolerate that behaviour. Roses is not your everyday second-division side and are capable of competing in the first division.

“They have got a lot of ex-PSL players and are well organised,” said Larsen.

The experienced coach does not think a lot has changed since he left the club in December.

Lechesa is equally optimistic about his team’s success this afternoon.

Although the team’s first priority is to be promoted to the national first division, a win would be a bonus.

“Anything is possible and we want to be the giant killers, but we must not lose focus on what we want at the end of the season,” said Lechesa.

He mentioned that the experience of former PSL players, such as Postnet Omony, Lethola Mofokeng and James Madidilane, would help in guiding the youngsters in the team.

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