Disgust expressed

2018-09-26 06:00
Surviving co-founder of Bloemfontein Celtic Victor Mahatanya. Photo: Teboho Setena

Surviving co-founder of Bloemfontein Celtic Victor Mahatanya. Photo: Teboho Setena

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Surviving founding director of Bloemfontein Celtic Victor Mahatanya has express utter disgust with the tug-of-war that has the club and the future of the decora­ted team in jeopardy.

The club’s management under current chairman Samuel “Max” Tshabalala is embroiled in legal battles threatening the future of the club established in 1969.

One of its co-founding directors and businessman, Norman Mathobisa, passed on in 2012. The departed Mathobisa and Mahatanya, with the assistance of other passionate football lovers, established Phunya Sele Sele.

On experiencing financial challenges, the duo of Mathobisa and Mahatanya gave the reins over to the late Dr Rantlai Petrus “Whitehead” Molemela, who transformed the team into the after-sought brand that it is today.

A visibly distraught Maha­tanya spoke exclusively to Express reacting to the club’s complex far-reaching financial woes under the current incumbent. He spoke during the supporters’ urgent meeting held on Thursday (20/09) at the Paradise Hall in Bochabela, Bloemfontein.

“The drama that we witness is pure indictment on the part of the current Celtic management. It shows they have no respect and regard for the rich legacy and heritage of this club which was started by visionaries. Not even under Molemela, who sacrificed so much of his money building this empire, did we see such an embarrassing situation.

“This highlights ambition filled with greed and dire over money, which is the root of the drama,” said Mahatanya.

Known as Oujan, Mahatanya did not hide the fact that he fully supports Leshabane and Mosola to save the soul of Phunya Sele Sele.

“There’s bad blood due to money and the other party not wanting to let go and admit dismal failure to run this club. Celtic is now like a stolen entity given the current state of affairs. We have agreed with supporters and the community of Bloemfontein that we need fresh ideas, like those from Leshabane and Mosola to save Celtic from an ultimate death, like Moroka Swallows,” said Mahatanya.

The club is facing a lawsuit by Standard Bank while on the other hand, a potential legal battle over the alleged breach of contract of the sale deal which proves to have gone sour.

Tshabalala has agreed in principle to sell the club to two front-runners, businesswoman Sinki Leshabane and Dr Moeketsi Mosola, Tshwane’s city manager.

There is talk of an undisclosed amount with the two partners Mosola and Leshabane paying a certain percentage to save the situation.

Mosola and Leshabane were shareholders at Mangaung Unite, a team currently campaigning in the Free State stream of the ABC Motsepe League. They parted with the second-tier club to take the irresistible offer to manage Celtic, one of the decorated clubs in the country’s elite rank.

At Thursday’s meeting, Leshabane did not delve deeper into terms and conditions of the sale deal due to the legal state of the sale deal which seems to have soured.

Mosola and Leshabane, regarded as the lifesavers of Phunya Sele Sele, reportedly made an offer to purchase Celtic for reportedly R40 million after Tshabalala would not get his market price of R65 million.

Sealed as a last-ditch effort, the sale was influenced by among others, a pending application for liquation by Standard Bank. The bank wants Celtic liquidated for allegedly failing to repay six home loans of reportedly more than R4 million.

In court documents, the bank argues it has entered into six home loan agreements with Bloemfontein Celtic in December 2015. According to the bank, Celtic has also failed to adhere to a revised payment plan agreement. The bank resorted taking legal action to recover the huge amount owed, allegedly after futile efforts to have Celtic honour its contractual obligations.

The trouble-ridden management of Celtic have until 4 October to file their papers in the Free State High Court in Bloemfontein. The club’s dire financial state has been notable with the players and technical staff boycotting training, demanding their salaries.

It shows they have no respect and
regard for the rich legacy and heritage of this club which was started by
visionaries. – Victor Mahatanya

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