Fri Oct 21 13:18:44 SAST 2016

Club to fly fans to away games

By unknown | Jan 19, 2007 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

Michael Tlhakudi

Michael Tlhakudi

They are still referred to as "Masokolara," - those who just get by - but boy, oh boy, this Bloemfontein outfit has class and verve.

Local soccer historians will record that Bloemfontein Celtic had the most vocal and passionate fans in soccer.

They will state that they won the inaugural supporters' award.

Now they are destined to become the first team to fly their supporters to a soccer match, something unheard of in local and, probably, global soccer.

Celtic will embark on a four- day trip to Durban where they will face KwaZulu-Natal's Lamontville Golden Arrows on February 18 at King Zwelithini Stadium in a Premiership match - and their fans won't be cycling to the coast.

The team's fans, "Siwelele", as they are affectionately known, will fly Mango for the encounter.

And the team that usually fills the stadium to capacity whenever they play in Bloemfontein intend to bathe Durban in green and white for the duration of their stay in the Banana City.

The team have clinched a deal with the airline on behalf of the fans, with the hope of flying fans to their away fixtures.

At first, the fans were supposed to fly to the Mother City, where Celtic were to face Ajax Cape Town on February 3, but Ajax shifted the game to Kimberley.

The Siwelele will leave Bloemfontein on February 16 and visit Durban Harbour, Pavillion Mall, Blue Lagoon beach, Umlazi and other attractions.

One of the fans who has already booked her seat on the plane could not hide her excitement when Sowetan spoke to her.

Kelebogile Rantho, 31, a passionate Celtic fan, said she has never flown.

"It has always been my dream to be in Durban, on the beach in particular. Flying there will be the cherry on top," she said.

"I love the team with all my heart and I will be there to support them and explore Banana City."

Ida Kobedi, who is arranging bookings for the fans, said the flight was almost fully booked.

The normal booking fee is R960, but last-minute fans will have to pay R1 500 for the privilege.

How many fans have booked is not yet known.

When asked if the fans would be allowed to sing on the flight, as they do at stadiums, Kobedi said: "No!"

She added that no alcohol would be permitted on the airplane and anyone who arrived for the flight tipsy would not be allowed on board.

All the standard restrictions on airline passengers would apply.


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