Sunday World

Free State Stars ‘is not up for sale’

Saleng sold to keep the club running

- By Kgomotso Mokoena

The 2018 Nedbank Cup champions Free State Stars’ bosses are forging ahead with their plans for the new season, denying the club is up for sale.

News reaching Sunday World is that the Qwa-qwa club were finalising a deal with potential buyers and it was just a matter of crossing the t’s and dotting the i’s.

But general manager Rantsi Mokoena has moved quickly to quell talk of the club putting up the for sale sign.

The Gladafrica Championsh­ip side that finished fifth on the league table have beefed up head coach Duncan Lechesa’s coaching staff by adding the highly recommende­d Milton Dlamini as part of the technical team.

To keep their coffers running, they sold their star player and Gladafrica Championsh­ip top goal scorer Monnapule Saleng to Orlando Pirates for a handsome fee.

“There’s no such thing. We are not selling the club. For some reason that we are not aware of, the club has been up for sale since we were negotiatin­g with Panyaza Lesufi’s people about five years ago – those signs are not going away,” said Mokoena.

“I heard that another club in our league was sold for R12-million. I do not know if there are people out there with a spare R12-million. But selling has not crossed our minds and we have not discussed that.”

In 2016, the club confirmed it held talks with a consortium led by Gauteng MEC for education Lesufi, who had the objective of reviving then defunct Moroka Swallows.

But the negotiatio­ns fell through. Nonetheles­s, Mokoena has admitted that running the soccer club had been a nightmare financiall­y.

“We have had to dip into the family businesses to sponsor and to run the club. It is no secret that it is difficult for owners to fund the clubs.

“We have had financial assistance from our Dihlabeng municipali­ty and also from the Free State province,” Mokoena said. “It is even tougher with Covid-19 becoming part of the economy. Football is like a drug and it is addictive, but without a main sponsor, you are going to struggle.”

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 ??  ?? The 2018 Nedbank Cup champs are struggling financiall­y.
The 2018 Nedbank Cup champs are struggling financiall­y.

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