Masses show support

2018-11-28 06:02
Bloemfontein Celtic supporters show their love for the club during a march on Saturday (24/11). Photo: Supplied

Bloemfontein Celtic supporters show their love for the club during a march on Saturday (24/11). Photo: Supplied

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Bloemfontein Celtic supporters have sent an SOS to the Free State government to urgently help rescue the club from its looming demise.

The plea for help came in the form of a march.

Thousands of supporters took to the streets on Saturday (24/11) to hand over a memorandum of demands to Sisi Ntombela, premier of the Free State.

Their colourful green-and-white garb painted the picture of desperation to rescue the club.

In their colourful ever-green and white clads they painted the streets of Bloemfontein to present a memorandum of demands to rescue the club to.

The mass mobilisation of die-hard Phunya Sele Sele supporters comes after intense speculation that the embattled club management, led by chairman Samuel “Max” Tshabalala, plans to relocate the team to Port Elizabeth.

The latest action followed protest at the stadium directed at Tshabalala.Owing to debt of R60 million to an established South African bank, the club’s financial troubles sparked the need to develop a rescue plan to save Celtic from possible liquidation.

The rescue plan by Celtic’s management is widely unwelcomed by staunch club supporters, comes in the wake of financial troubles continue to teeter as the wealth of Tshabalala appears to be ebbing away.

Celtic has to contend with a liquidation lawsuit and outstanding payment of the players’ salaries since the 2017-’18 Premier Soccer League.

Mabena Pule, Celtic’s national chairperson of supporters, said they opposed the plan to relocate to Port Elizabeth.

He said they were expecting a response to the memorandum of demands pertaining to Celtic’s future by Tuesday (04/12).

Pule said the supporters were pleased with the immediate response by the provincial government leadership to consider paying R2,5 million to counter the club’s plan to stage games in Port Elizabeth.

“We are also relieved that the provincial leadership has committed to appointing a task team to investigate Celtic’s complex affairs and to advise on what must be done to save the club from its looming demise.”

He said the supporters’ firm stance shows what Celtic means to the citizens of the Free State, adding that it was in the best interest to protect the rich heritage of Phunya Sele Sele.

Given its alleged complexity, supporters also want Sars to investigate Celtic’s financial situation.

Pule said the complexity of Celtic’s affairs made it impossible for potential buyers to buy the team and save it from demise.

Businesswoman Sinki Leshabane and her associate, Dr Moeketsi Mosola, had expressed interest in buying Celtic early in August.

It is understood that they even made payments to show their interest after agreeing to Tshabalala’s terms.

However, the deal has since gone sour due to the complex affairs Pule has alluded to.

It is understood that the complexity includes questions about who the real owner of Celtic is, and if the club is a separate entity from Tshabalala’s business.

Pule said the supporters believed it was important for the provincial government’s task team to investigate the financial and legal implications to make the a sale transaction was possible for interested buyers.

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