Cele was confident of lifting United out of trouble

2016-01-27 06:00
PHOTO: gallo images  Mondli Cele of Maritzburg United after his goal during the Absa Premiership match between Maritzburg United and Orlando Pirates at Harry Gwala Stadium on Saturday evening, hours before his death in a car accident on the Dusi River embankment.

PHOTO: gallo images Mondli Cele of Maritzburg United after his goal during the Absa Premiership match between Maritzburg United and Orlando Pirates at Harry Gwala Stadium on Saturday evening, hours before his death in a car accident on the Dusi River embankment.

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MONDLI Cele was not happy seeing his club at the foot of the table, especially as he was unable to contribute, missing three months due to injury.

In his final interview with The Witness last week, Cele said not being able to help the side through their difficult league campaign was particularly hard for him.

“I’m not happy because the team is not doing well, and I’ve been injured for three months. It’s tough when you’re injured and the team is not doing well, and you know what you can do to help them.

“But, I’m happy I’m back, and coach [Ernst] Middendorp believed that I can do the job for him. I think we’re going to be good and we’re going to climb up the league,” Cele said in the build-up to Saturday night’s game against Pirates.

Since returning to the side, the 27-year-old has been in sparkling form, finding the back of the net twice in respectable draws against Gauteng giants SuperSport United and Orlando Pirates.

With Kurt Lentjies suspended for the game against Pirates, the diminutive Cele took the burden of being the side’s attacking lynchpin on his shoulders, and dictated how the game went in the early exchanges.

Cele, it seemed, was hell-bent on making sure the club would remain in the Premier League next season.

“The way we’re playing, we can see where we’re going. The way the coach is coaching us, you can see what he wants us to do, and it’s positive for us. And, sooner or later, we’re going to be out of where we are,” he said.

The Durban-born Cele went from playing third-tier football on the South Coast to a Bafana Bafana call-up in a mere six months after being discovered playing for Gamalakhe United by Mandla Ncikazi, who at the time was assisting former United coach, Steve Komphela.

“My mom told me I was too old now and that I should give up on football,” he was quoted as saying by KickOff after breaking into the United team and getting his national team call-up.

“I spoke to her on the phone [after the Bafana call-up] and she couldn’t talk because she was crying,” he said at the time.

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