Bloemfontein Celtic could be solf off to the highest bidder. Photo: Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

BLOEMFONTEIN – While Free State Stars' short-term future is looking a lot rosier, provincial rivals Bloemfontein Celtic could be sold off to the highest bidder.

This is according to club boss Max Tshabalala, who says the financial burden is becoming too much.

Tshabalala also revealed that there is already at least one offer in place and says he hopes to find new owners who will continue to run the club as it is.

"I can't be stubborn and say no if there is an offer," he told the Sunday Times. "I will take it with a very heavy heart to make sure Celtic is in good hands. It doesn't help me that I keep the team when I'm struggling financially. I'm not going to deny that it is difficult now. Running the club is affecting my company income."

"Whoever brings the offer to save the team, I would have no other alternative. We are anticipating that by next month there must be movement. I want this thing done way before the start of the new season."

Tshabalala conceded there had been cash flow problems last season, and says his club's monthly expenses totalled R4.3-million. He also admitted that players had to wait for signing-on fees, but says that in the end R9.2-million was paid out.

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The Phunya Sele Sele boss, who took charge in 2014, did hint that he could still change his mind; provided finance can be secured.

"This coming Tuesday I'm meeting with the executive committee of the supporters to discuss with them the problems and to map the way forward.

"We are talking with different companies for sponsors and three municipalities for hosting rights just to make sure we have an income, the same way that Chippa [United] did going to Port Elizabeth and [Kaizer] Chiefs by going to Durban."

While some club sales result in a change of team - such as when Cape Town City was born out of the Mpumalanga Black Aces acquisition and AmaZulu bought Thanda Royal Zulu's franchise, this is not always the case. And with Celtic's strong brand and support base, potential new owners may elect to take over the team rather than start a new one.

Free State Stars boss Mike Mokoena also admitted recently he was thinking of putting the club on the market, but he was able to have a change of heart after Ea Lla Koto won the Nedbank Cup last weekend and with it a R7 million winners' cheque. Celtic reached the final of the Telkom Knockout at the end of last year, but lost to Bidvest Wits. 

African News Agency (ANA)


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