HAVING gone as many as eight matches without a single win, Bloemfontein Celtic get the opportunity to show that they still know how to win matches.
It is not going to be a stroll in the park, though, as they face Kaizer Chiefs in the Absa Premiership fixture at the Free State Stadium on Sunday (17/01).
Kick-off is scheduled for 15:30.
Phunya Sele Sele, having had a great start to the current season, have stuttered in the league. Four wins from 13 matches sees them positioned seventh on the table with 17 points and coach Serame Letsoaka would love to register his first victory since joining Siwelele from Lamontville Golden Arrows in December.
Letsoaka lost his first match in charge of Celtic when his troops went down by 2-1 to Chippa United, before playing to a goalless draw against Ajax Cape Town last weekend.
“Celtic’s games against Kaizer Chiefs have for years produced sparkling performances and the atmosphere experienced even days before the game forces players to be upbeat and ready to contest,” John Maduka, Celtic’s manager, told his club’s official website.
“I recall one cup game we played against them during the era of Paul Dolezar as our coach. There was a fierce battle on and off the field. After we had scored the winning goal their supporters started removing seats with anger and clearly they hate losing to us,” said the former Celtic skipper.
Maduka admits that Sunday’s clash is going to be tough for both sides and he urges Celtic players to rise to the occasion against Chiefs.
“The odds are stacked against us, looking at the stats, but the positive spirit reigning in our camp since the arrival of Serame Letsoaka gives me confidence,” he said.
“My advice to our players is to relax and play their usually pressing game without fear. Showing respect to a team like Chiefs will work against you. Wishing them all the best for this must-win encounter,” he added.
Having already met in the MTN8 Cup semi-final earlier this season, this match sees South Africa’s two most popular and supported sides adding yet another chapter to the history of their fierce rivalry.
The first leg of the competition ended 1-all in Bloemfontein, but Chiefs defeated Celtic by 1-0 in a return match in Johannesburg.
Amakhosi will surely want to prove to the hosts that their previous win over them was not a fluke by beating them again in the league.
On the other hand, Celtic will see this match as an opportunity for them to settle the score against the Soweto giants. The hosts need to collect three points to avoid dropping down further on the log.
While Chiefs will rely on Siphiwe Tshabalala and Bernard Parker to win the match, Celtic will pin their hopes on Lerato Lamola and Vuyani Ntanga.