JOHANNESBURG - Winning the Telkom Knockout at Princess Magogo Stadium on Saturday could be the catalyst Bloemfontein Celtic need to make history, captain Patrick Tignyemb says.
Phunya Sele Sele will appear in their first final in five years in their clash with Bidvest Wits in Durban. Tignyemb was there when Celtic won the 2012 Telkom Knockout at the expense of Mamelodi Sundowns, also in Durban. That success pushed them to achieve their joint-best finish in the PSL era of fifth place.
“I told the guys at training that the feeling I had in 2012 before the final in Durban is the same one I have now,” Tignyemb said. “I know that if we keep the same fighting spirit that we have shown this season, we will win it. Wits are a big team. They’ve proven that. But we are also a good team. We are strong and we believe in ourselves.
“We know that if we work and fight hard like we have done, we will beat them. 2012 is a long time ago. I need one more title. If we get this trophy, we will have a lot of motivation to go far in the league. Our main target is to win the Telkom and go as far as possible in the league. As far as possible means winning it (the league). But we must start with this Cup and create a winning culture first.”
Serbian coach Veselin Jelusic has made a seamless transition at Celtic to turn them from a side that was battling to avoid relegation last season to fighting for a trophy within a couple of months since taking over.
“He helps us a lot,” Tignyemb said. “He doesn’t put us under pressure. We play like we are playing a friendly. The coach always tells us to relax and enjoy ourselves because the results will take care of themselves. A happy player is a good player. He allows everyone to make mistakes, but learn from them. If you have a person like that leading you, you want to repay them by doing well. That’s helping us a lot. We are going to approach the final the same way.”
Tignyemb and the club’s leading goalscorer Jacky Motshegwa are the only survivors from the class of 2012. Motshegwa came on for Lyle Lakay who is now in the colours of Cape Town City. Tignyemb’s friendship with Lakay is pushing him to give Celtic their fourth trophy in the club’s history.
“I am one of the last players still here from that campaign,” Tignyemb said. “I am very happy to still be here and having taken Celtic to another final. That’s a big achievement for me personally.
“Yes, it’s also big for the club, but on a personal note it’s very special. It’s not easy to stay at the top for a club like Celtic for all these years and reach the final of a big Cup like the Telkom Knockout twice. I just want to get the second one.
“It will be special, but not only for me but for a friend in Cape Town too. I want to win this for Lyle Lakay (my former Celtic teammate who was here in 2012 because of the pact we have and having failed to win the MTN8 with his new club in Durban).”