Cracking Free State derby on cards

Ramatsiyi Moholoa

Ramatsiyi Moholoa

A great soccer display is in the offing in Mangaung on Sunday when Bloemfontein Celtic welcome neighbours Free State Stars in a top of the table Castle Premiership match.

This eagerly-awaited Free State derby, which is bound to attract a capacity crowd judging by the support enjoyed by the two clubs, will take place at Free State Rugby Stadium, starting at 3pm.

Celtic are topping the log with six points from two games, with Stars lying second on four points.

It will be the third clash featuring the two Free State giants in six weeks after meeting twice during the off-season, with both matches won by Ea Lla Koto, who are under the watchful eye of Malawian coach Kinnah Phiri.

Stars beat Celtic 2-1 in a friendly match in Bohlokong and went on to win the second one in Bloemfontein on penalties during a one-day tournament featuring four clubs.

But Celtic manager Khumbulani Konco, a former Orlando Pirates player, warned Stars to forget about grabbing even a point.

"We are not reading too much into the two friendlies against Stars, we were still assessing some of our new recruits. Sunday's game will be a league one, there is no way they will go away with even a single point.

"We will still be unbeaten after the match," he said.

Celtic, the only unbeaten side in the league so far, were scheduled to play a warm-up match against National First Division League side African Warriors in Mangaung last night as part of their final preparations for the big one against Stars.

After mobilising support in various towns, townships and villages in the past two weeks, Stars' communications manager Louis Tshakoane intends using Sunday's game to prove that their support base is gradually increasing.

With former Stars player Patrick Malokase and Carlos Scott seemingly having regained their scoring form, Stars' defence of Sipho Nkosi and company will have to be on the alert throughout to avoid tasting their first defeat of the season in the league.