Fans of FS Stars nurse broken hearts

2016-07-20 06:00
NO MORE: Free State Stars supporters during one of the league games at the Goble Park Stadium in Bethlehem.

NO MORE: Free State Stars supporters during one of the league games at the Goble Park Stadium in Bethlehem.

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BETHLEHEM. – The hearts of the Free State Stars supporters are bleeding and they feel the management of the team has betrayed them.

The supporters of the Bethlehem-based outfit and football lovers in the Free State were shocked to hear the news of the selling of the team to an unnamed consortium which is led by the Gauteng MEC for Education, Panyaza Lesufi.

Reports has it that the management of Free State Stars (FSS) have sold the team for R80 million and that they were just waiting for a final approval from the Premier Soccer League (PSL).

The team would relocate to Gauteng during this week after they had been involved in an annual Uthukela Cup tournament in KwaZulu-Natal.

It is the second time that Ea Lla Koto was sold by its management. The team was sold to the PSL in 2002 , with Ria Stars.

Express Eastern Free State found out what people say about the selling of the team:

Felleng Masoeu: It is a selfish decision by the management. Mike Mokoena did not think of the players or the supporters. As for the PSL: How can they allow a team that has failed to buy its way up? It is disgusting. I respect teams who work hard to be where they are.

Thabo Khessah: Football is big business and like in any other business, profits come first. But for a team that many people have sacrificed so much – supporters, staff and players – the management was selfish and should have been considerate, noting this is happening for the second time. The Thabo Mofutsanyana District will be much poorer without FSS, especially at this time when hunger and unemployment are so rife.

I doubt if the management has ever even made an informed assessment of how important the team was to the region. It is clear that it was an overnight decision that was influenced by money as they had just signed a new coach. How do you sign a new coach and sell virtually the following day?

Pule Cole Patsa: As an FSS card-carrying member, I am not happy with the way the chairman and management handle things by not consulting supporters. We now feel like we did not mean anything to the team. We heard the news from the media. Until now, they have not bothered to come to the supporters to inform them. We love the team, but the way they do things is not acceptable.

Stiga Mkhwanazi, branch chairperson in Johannesburg: FSS is not the only team that does not have a sponsor in the Premier League. Jomo Sono has been running Cosmos from his pocket for many years now and he has never even once complained about sponsorship.

Another example would be Golden Arrows. They also do not have a sponsor and one wonders how these teams survive, because Arrows hardly ever sell their star players.

Bonitas left Stars, because even with sponsors, this team kept selling players.

Stars Academy was not among the best and Eastern Free State young stars never really benefited from Stars. Sponsors will rather stick with teams with the best youth structures, such as Ajax Cape Town and Bidvest Wits.

Six months after Bonitas had left, Mike Mokoena decided to take the easiest route.

Did management try hard enough to get another sponsor? Supporters or management never had campaigns to ensure that the Eastern Free Staters support the team.

We are all aware how the economy in the Eastern Free State is. It is the responsibility of management to ensure that we as fans get value for our money.

If you do not win games or silverware, you must forget about attracting fans to the stadium. Supporters have a role in ensuring that the team attracts sponsors. If you do not value the fan base you have, you will not easily attract new members.

We as supporters have been failed big time, because this season we had to invest in new Umbro merchandise. We even had to invest in membership cards, transport to games and we even went as far as Port Elizabeth. All this sacrifices and in return we get a slap in the face.

Matshidiso Nelly Tshabalala: The management did not do justice to us.

They have done a bad thing to us soccer lovers. We are going to feel a big pain when the season starts. I wish the PSL could have a close look at this selling team thing. I am disappointed.

Gcini Tshabalala: I am very angry at the management who sold the team again. As we speak, we were busy doing the final touch-up on the third album, but we see no need to continue with it. In one of the meetings in the 2014-’15 season, the management made it clear to the supporters that they would not sell the team again.

How can we trust them? I loved the team with all my heart, but that heart is bleeding now. They have broken my heart and I should make it clear that I will never support Stars the way I used to.

I am not going to support any team in the PSL. I will wait for them to come back.

  • The Free State Stars management could not be reached for comment.

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