Pretoria - Max Tshabalala on Monday expressed his delight as it was confirmed that the club he supported growing up, Bloemfontein Celtic, had been sold to his family - ending weeks of speculation regarding the Free State outfit’s future.
The new owners, who take over from the Augousti family, officially begin their reign on Tuesday, with plans to make Phunya Sele Sele a powerhouse in South African football.
“This has been a dream of mine. Not only was I a supporter of Celtic, but I also played for them during the period of the NSL. I also worked for the club when it was under the leadership of Petrus Molemela. This is great. Celtic has been sold to the Tshabalala family, so the family will decide who runs the club,” said Tshabalala, who still owns ABC Motsepe League outfit Roses United.
“It was a long process. We started about a month ago. We are happy that the deal has gone through and we would like to thank the Augousti family for helping us through the whole process.
“We also agreed that the Augousti family will still be with us till the end of the month so that they can help us understand how things at the club are run. They will help us with the contracts of the players and many other things. This just shows that we bought the club from people who are our friends.
“We start tomorrow (Tuesday). I am excited about being in the PSL,” an ecstatic Tshabalala said on Monday.
He added that he wants to see Celtic - a side accustomed to just competing for a top eight spot and winning a trophy once in a blue moon - competing for league honours in future.
“Celtic has been doing very well in the league, but we want it to go to to the next level in future. Celtic is a big brand in South African football. Celtic needs to compete for the league. We have not set any targets yet. We first need to sit down and start planning for the future.”
He added that he will not make too many changes at the club right now.
“For now we are not going to make any big changes. Tomorrow (Tuesday) we are starting and we will meet with everybody in the team.
“We are going to make sure we stabilise team. The team is for the people. We want to maintain what the club was doing. The Augoustis did a good job.
“Also, I must say that Celtic will be playing in Bloemfontein. We are not going anywhere.”
Celtic, who won the inaugural Charity Showdown competition at the weekend after beating AmaZulu in the final, have signed defenders Bevan Fransman, Ruben Cloete, Musa Bilankulu and striker Tshepo Chaine, but Tshabalala was not able to reveal if the new owners will be making any more signings during the transfer window.
“I cannot say anything at the moment. I will speak to the coach (Ernst Middendorp) and the technical team and then we will take it from there,” he said.
These are some exciting times for Celtic, who announced B3 Funerals and Insurance as one of their sponsors ahead of the new season.