An­gry fans force Celtic sale

Lesotho Times - - News -

BLOEM­FONTEIN — Bloem­fontein Celtic chair­man Max Tsha­bal­ala has re­vealed that he is ac­tively seek­ing to sell the Absa Premier­ship club fol­low­ing Satur­day’s de­feat to Or­lando Pi­rates.

The match was marred by vi­o­lent scenes in the clos­ing stages of the con­test, with a sec­tion of fans from both clubs pic­tured clash­ing be­hind the goals.

The vi­o­lence left Tsha­bal­ala with a bit­ter taste in his mouth, and he has since de­cided to end his as­so­ci­a­tion with the Absa Premier­ship club.

In a state­ment pub­lished on the club’s of­fi­cial web­site, Tsha­bal­ala said: “I must con­cede my heart is painful at how some sup­port­ers be­haved last night.

“Van­dal­iz­ing the sta­dium, fight­ing and hurt­ing Pi­rates sup­port­ers in the process and clearly the sit­u­a­tion has gone out of hand.

“It was also hurt see­ing a Na­tional Her­itage Site (which is part of the 2010 World Cup Legacy) be­ing ripped apart be­cause of frus­tra­tions against one man (Max Tsha­bal­ala), we need to re­spect and main­tain our in­fra­struc­ture.

“I per­son­ally re­spect hu­man-life and would like to see our peo­ple grow­ing rather than be­ing hurt. I was pained to see in­no­cent soc­cer lov­ing fans be­ing beaten some to a pulp and that led me to the de­ci­sion to sell the team.

“Our sup­port­ers are de­lib­er­ately bring­ing the league into dis­re­pute just to hurt me as an in­di­vid­ual.

“This is not about the per­for­mance of the team but Max Tsha­bal­ala. I had a chat with some of the fans who boldly told me they hate me and want me out of the team with im­me­di­ate ef­fect hence I am call­ing on busi­ness­men in and around Man­gaung to come up with of­fers to buy the team and take Celtic for­ward.

“I love Celtic and if I’m the one stand­ing in the way of its suc­cesses then the best thing is to sell it to those who will be able to sat­isfy the sup­port­ers.”

He added: “I want of­fers ur­gently and will be open and hon­est enough to show who­ever that is in­ter­ested to ac­quire the team what we have spent and the re­quired amount to pur­chase the team.

“This team will never ever be rel­e­gated and I even ad­dressed the play­ers telling them of the sit­u­a­tion.

“We must re­mem­ber that the league has never in re­cent times ex­pe­ri­enced such in­tol­er­a­ble deeds of bar­barism and for that to hap­pen through Celtic sup­port­ers has left me emo­tion­ally par­a­lyzed.”

Tsha­bal­ala also took the op­por­tu­nity to apol­o­gise to the fans who were in­jured dur­ing the scenes of vi­o­lence.

He said: “Lastly to fam­i­lies and friends of the sup­port­ers who were in­jured and threat­ened yes­ter­day, I apol­o­gise from the depth of my heart for what you went through.

“Foot­ball sta­di­ums are a fam­ily en­vi­ron­ment and the game is a sport that is en­joyed by the young and old, I am sorry that peo­ple had to ex­pe­ri­ence such acts of vi­o­lence.”

Mean­while, head coach Ser­ame Let­soaka says he does not re­gret join­ing Phunya Sele Sele and he be­lieves that the only thing miss­ing from his charges is cap­i­tal­is­ing from their goal scor­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties.

The 52-year-old re­signed from La­montville Golden Ar­rows to re­place Clin­ton Larsen at Celtic last De­cem­ber and has found the go­ing much tougher than he an­tic­i­pated at the City of Roses.

When Larsen de­parted from Celtic, they were placed 6th on the log and are now 12th.

“No not at all, I don’t re­gret com­ing here (To Celtic),” Let­soaka told re­porters in a post­match press con­fer­ence on Satur­day.

“This is a good work­ing en­vi­ron­ment and I like it here. We are just go­ing through a rough patch at the mo­ment but we’ll pull through.

“There are qual­ity play­ers in this team, the only thing that we need to do is to find the back of the net be­cause the team has been play­ing good foot­ball since I took over.

“But in foot­ball play­ing well means noth­ing if you are not get­ting the three points and at this stage we are just not get­ting those points.”

Bloem­fontein Celtic club.

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