Celtic to conquer Africa?

2014-08-03 15:00

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Bloemfontein Celtic was in good hands, said new owner Max Tshabalala after he finally put pen to paper to buy the club last week.

This week, Tshabalala told City Press about his ambition for his newly?acquired side, saying that not only did he want to conquer the PSL, but the continent as well.

“The hard work starts now,” said Tshabalala, who acquired the team in its entirety.

“We have to first make sure the team is stabilised and then we can put all our plans into place. We have huge ­ambitions for this club. Watch this space.”

He said he had bought Celtic with a purpose, and his dream was to see the club finishing in the top three and winning at least one trophy this season.

“The structure of the team must complement the ­ambition. Gone are the days when the team would sell

its quality players. It will be vice versa from now on, with quality players coming in.”

He said he had scuppered plans to sell star Gabadinho Mhango, as he wanted to retain talent.

The first thing in Tshabalala’s inbox is to win over the Celtic supporters and assure them that the team is not ­leaving Bloemfontein.

“I’m a local boy and there’s no way I’m going to allow the brand to leave these shores. Celtic is in my blood. I was the club’s chief executive in the 90s. I’ve come full circle.”

He said he would never allow the Celtic brand to die or the club to be lost to the Free State.

“I didn’t plan to buy the club. It was only when I heard that it was on the market that I became interested. I heard that there was an offer from outside the province and I felt it was going to be an insult to the people of the Free State if an outsider bought the club.”

Tshabalala also paid tribute to former owners, the ­Augousti family, for keeping the team afloat after they bought it from club icon Ntate Petrus Molemela in 2001.

He said they had given Celtic a good foundation and saved the brand from obscurity.

Tshabalala said going back to Celtic was like homecoming for him as this was where he had started playing soccer.

“I wasn’t just a player, but a star player for the Colts [the Celtic juniors]. I was promoted to the first team, but I couldn’t go because they were training twice a day and my parents wanted me to concentrate on my studies instead. But I don’t regret that move.”

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