Coach uses history for cup inspiration

2017-11-29 06:01
Bloemfontein Celtic coach Veselin Jelusic working on a game plan with, from the left, players Deon Hotto, Kabelo Mahlasela and Roggert Nyundu. Photo: Teboho Setena

Bloemfontein Celtic coach Veselin Jelusic working on a game plan with, from the left, players Deon Hotto, Kabelo Mahlasela and Roggert Nyundu. Photo: Teboho Setena

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Bloemfontein Celtic coach Veselin Jelusic has said he drew inspiration from the success of three predecessors who have led the club to cup glory.

He spoke at a media briefing on Tuesday (28/11), ahead of the supercharged Telkom Knockout (TKO) Cup final against Bidvest Wits on Saturday (02/12) at the Princess Magogo Stadium in Durban. Kick-off is scheduled for 18:00.

Jelusic draws from history in his attempt to repeat the feat of three cup-winning predecessors, Dave Roberts, Paul Dolezar and Clinton Larsen. Roberts led Celtic to maiden Mainstay Cup glory in 1985, while Dolezar followed suit in the SAA Supa 8 in 2005.

Larsen continued to make history when he guided Phunya Sele Sele to the third cup success in 2012 by winning the TKO.

“Of course, it is my ambition to win this cup to repeat the feat of my predecessors. I’m counting on the high motivation of the players to help win this cup. Cup experience in some players will be very important. Our team knows how to achieve good results so far,” says Jelusic.

Cup glory beckons for Jelusic, with him having guided the club to its second TKO final and the fourth in history since 1985.

He says as the fourth coach to lead Phunya Sele Sele to their fourth cup final, his ambition is to emulate his predecessors by lifting one of the sought-after championships in domestic football.

“It’s a new one in South Africa for me, but not an entirely new challenge regarding competition.

“Altogether, the players, technical team and management, as well as our supports, are working together to achieve this cup,” says Jelusic.

The new Celtic mentor pointed out that while this will be his first cup final on South African soil, he counts on the coaching experience he gained on his journey to plotting a cup coup, adding that the plus factor was the skill of his cup-hungry warriors, led by long-serving captain Patrick Tignyemb.

Jelusic said that the insight he has about South African football has stood him in good stead.

He gained this insight by watching the South African senior men’s team, Bafana Bafana, while he was coach of the Angola and Botswana national teams.

Jelusic believes a path has been laid for Celtic to achieve cup glory. He pointed out that team effort and fighting spirit would be critical to achieving the cup quest.

“Playing in a cup final is a motivation for our players and for all of us,” he said.

Jelusic said a 1 – 0 defeat by Orlando Pirates on Sunday (26/11) was water under the bridge, adding that mental strength would be needed to face Wits.

“The chances are 50-50 to win against Wits in this cup final. They are league champions, but we are also determined to win this cup.”

Jelusic strongly warned his lads to not judge Wits by the poor league form.

“We must fight hard until the end of this game.”

Tignyemb stated that Celtic’s cup glory was entirely on the shoulders of the players.

“It is a big achievement for me as player to play yet another cup final and my ambition is to win and reward the club. It is a big for my career to win this cup for the second time in my football career,” said Tignyemb.

In all three cup finals, Phunya Sele Sele won by a narrow margin. The score was 2 – 1 against Durban African Wanderers in 1985 and 1 – 0 against SuperSport United and Mamelodi Sundowns in 2005 and 2012.

Winning goal scorers were Ishmael “Litre” Mokitlane (1985), Rotson Kilambe (2005) and Joel Mogorosi (2012).

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