Coach De Nobrega quits Celtic

Mcelwa Nchabeleng

Tony De Nobrega believes his life is more priceless than to coach Bloemfontein Celtic whose supporters have threatened him.

De Nobrega said the threats to his life had become so intense that he decided to resign yesterday.

The 38-year-old mentor, who was surprisingly in good spirit when Sowetan interviewed him, said the problems started after Celtic were elbowed out of the Absa Cup by Ajax Cape Town at Seisa Ramabodu Stadium in Bloemfontein last Sunday.

"Though I was not the only one from the technical staff who was threatened by a section of Celtic's supporters, I think as the head coach I should resign to avoid putting other people's life at risk," he said.

"I think as the one who steers the ship I should resign and spare other people's lives. I don't know my next step from now, maybe I will end up in Soweto," he quipped.

Sello Nduna, Celtic's spokesman, said though their technical staff was approached by angry supporters after the defeat against the Urban Warriors, he said he was not aware of any ongoing threat to their coaches.

"This is news to me and I can't comment about something I'm not aware off," said Nduna.

Assistant coach Benjamin Reed and head of youth development David Modise have been appointed technical coaches until the end of the season.

The duo will be on the bench when Celtic engage Black Leopards in a floodlit Castle Premiership game at Thohoyandou Stadium on Saturday. Nduna also revealed that they had shortlisted five coaches for the job but declined to divulge their names.

But Sowetan can reveal that one of them is Farouk Khan, whom Jimmy Augousti, the side's boss, has been holding talks with him in an effort to lure him to Bloemfontein next season.

De Nobrega, together with Greek coach Iaki Ayiomamitis, steered Phunya Selesele to the Castle Premiership in the 2003/04 season. He was also Paul Dolezar's assistant when Celtic won the SAA Supa 8 title two seasons ago.

De Nobrega has also done enough to ensure that Celtic qualified for the Supa 8 this term as they are currently ninth on the league standings. Remaining matches are against Leopards, SuperSport United and Orlando Pirates (away), Silver Stars and Maritzburg United (home).