Path laid out for Celtic to win

2017-11-08 06:00
Bloemfontein Celtic's head coach, Veselin Jelusic. Photo: Teboho Setena

Bloemfontein Celtic's head coach, Veselin Jelusic. Photo: Teboho Setena

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The Telkom Knockout Cup (TKO Cup) semi-final draw conducted on Sunday (05/11) has laid out a path for Bloemfontein Celtic’s search for cup glory.

The draw paired four teams that qualified. The others semi-finalists are Polokwane City, Kaizer Chiefs and Bidvest Wits.

The draw saw in-form Phunya Sele Sele pitted against lacklustre City, while Chiefs will face off old foes Wits.

The semi-final matches to decide the two clubs to compete in the final will be played on 18 and 19 November.

What seems a rather favourable draw for Celtic against City, marks the Free State club’s search for its fourth major trophy in the elite division. Thus far in Celtic’s cabinet are the erstwhile Mainstay Cup (1985) under Dave Roberts, the SAA Supa 8 (2005) under Paul Dolezar and the Telkom Knockout Cup (2012) with Clinton Larsen – the only South African born coach.

Celtic’s cup glory hunt is entirely on the shoulders of the present crop of the players under current coach Veselin Jelusic, who has lost just twice in 11 official games since taking over the reins. He is unbeaten in nine official fixtures – seven in the Absa Premiership and two in the TKO Cup.

In his ambitious cup glory Jelusic can only hope his warriors emulate the 2012 success when the club won this TKO Cup first time under former coach Larsen.

Phunya Sele Sele narrowly beat Mamelodi Sundowns by 1 – 0 to lift one of the much sought after trophies offering R4 million to the winning team. Jelusic will become the fourth coach to lead Celtic to cup success if the team wins the tournament. It will be his first major trophy on South African soil. Jelusic would achieve the remarkable feat to be the second coach to win a cup within a short time at Celtic after Yugoslavia born Dolezar, who attained this shortly on joining Celtic in 2005.

Celtic current rich-vein of form stood the Serbian mentor Jelusic in a good stead to plot a major cup coup. The team’s impressive run has seen off big giants in SuperSport United by 5 – 4 and Platinum Stars by 2 – 1 to advance to the semi-final stage.

Celtic’s drastic improvement is measured by the gallant battle that saw them fight to overturn the score line and win both cup matches.

In both TKO Cup games Phunya Sele Sele conceded early, displayed dramatic fighting from the back foot of the matches to win.

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