JOHANNESBURG - Independent Media soccer writer Minenhle Mkhize has looked at Bloemfontein Celtic and how they could fare in the Premiership this season.
Key player: Kabelo Mahlasela
He is a player with immense talent, a very intelligent footballer who can score goals, create them and bring his teammates into the game. With Musa Nyatama and Dumisani Zuma having left the club, coach Veselin Julesic can rely on Mahlasela in the playmaker role for Phunya Sele Sele.
Coach: Veselin Julesic
Having formerly coached in Angola and Botswana, he will now make his debut in the South African Premiership. During the Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi Legacy Cup in Ulundi, one could see he is a typical Serbian tactician. - in the mould of former Pirates coach Kosta Papic. Thus expect Celtic to play high-tempo, attacking and entertaining football under Julesic’s guidance. He is a big fan of 4-3-3 system, but the big question is will it work for Celtic? Only time will tell.
Their incredible supporters are always a positive factor - the 12th man if you will - especially at home matches, and they will once again play a key role. Celtic looked solid at the back in the Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi Legacy Cup where they kept two clean sheets in two matches. And they have added to their attack by acquiring the services of Roggert Nyundu and Ndumiso Mabena.
Lack of depth at the back might be one of their major problems this season especially in the goalkeeping department where Patrick Tignyemb doesn’t have competition. And then there’s Celtic’s good old problem of inconsistency, will Julesic sort it out?
Having battled relegation for much of last season, Celtic will be satisfied to get a top eight finish. The coach is still new in the league and it will be too much to ask him to deliver trophies in his first season. A steady season where they are far from the relegation zone will be a good start for the Serb.
A continued fight to avoid the drop down to the National First Division (NFD) will mean the country’s best-supported team has had it rough.
Best: 5th in 2011 and 2013
Worst: Relegated in 2001
Goalkeepers: Patrick Tignyemb and Ayanda Mtshali. Defenders: Wandisile Letlabika, Mpho Maruping, Mbhazima Rikhotso, Vusi Shikweni, Ali Abondo, Mthokozisi Dube, Paulos Kgadi and Shane April. Midfielders: Lucky Baloyi, Kabelo Mahlasela, Given Mashikinya, Victor Letsoalo, Alfred Ndenane, Lentshane Phalane, Sipho Jembula, Jacky Motshengwa and Deon Hotto. Forwards: Ndumiso Mabena, John Mabaso, Roggert Nyundu and Victor Letsoalo.