celtic on crusade

OPEN ARMS: Celtic manager Khumbulani Konco. Pic. Antonio Muchave. 17/08/05. © Sowetan.
OPEN ARMS: Celtic manager Khumbulani Konco. Pic. Antonio Muchave. 17/08/05. © Sowetan.

Mcelwa Nchabeleng

Bloemfontein Celtic are on a mission to expand their wings to neighbouring Botswana where they are eager to establish a strong support base.

The trendsetters will send Thato Matuka, Pule Mabena and Botha Msila to Botswana tomorrow in a bid to register a horde of Batswana as card-carrying members of Phunya Selesele.

The side's innovative spokesman, Sello Nduna, will be unable to travel because of a family bereavement. His cousin, Paul Seitshiro, will be buried in Bloemfontein on Saturday.

The Celtic trio will return to Bloemfontein on Monday after the club's friendly against Botswana's Township Rollers in Gaborone on Sunday.

Celtic manager Khumbulani Konco said the match was one of many friendlies they intend to play to keep the players fit during the enforced Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) break.

Celtic are taking this friendly so seriously that they intend sending one of their assistant coaches, David Modise to Botswana to spy on Rollers in their local matches on Friday and Saturday.

"David also leaves on Thursday and we are taking a full-strength squad to Gaborone," said Konco yesterday.

"I was in Botswana last week to make arrangements for Sunday's friendly and I can tell you that many people out there just love Bloemfontein Celtic. They also love our supporters, who are always colourful.

"They are keen to be part of Celtic's family and we'll welcome them with open arms."

Konco also took advantage of the interview to wish Bafana Bafana the best of luck in their Afcon opener against Angola tonight.

Celtic will also embark on a membership drive in Kimberley, Northern Cape, where they engage Free State Stars in another friendly on February 2.

The team hosted Sporting Lisbon officials in Bloemfontein last week and their communications manager, Petros Augousti told Sowetan yesterday they were closer to clinching a deal for an exchange programme with the Portuguese giants.