sigh of relief
Despite not meeting their goal of finishing in the "R1 million (top eight) bracket", Bloemfontein Celtic's management duly acknowledged their warriors for the job done for the season.
Celtic were among the relegation candidates at one stage, but pulled off a dramatic fightback, as was the case when they beat maiden Absa Premiership champions SuperSport 2-1 on Sunday.
Guests at the awards function on Sunday night included representatives from the team's sponsors and Free State government.
The joy that prevailed at the occasion overshadowed the on and off the field challenges the team contended with during the Absa Premiership.
Prolific striker Moses Spandeel took home a double, the top goal scorer and the players' player of the season awards.
Affected by injury during the season, the stocky forward had been instrumental in the team's last games, scoring vital goals that helped Phunya SeleSele ascend the log.
He got R10 000 in prize money plus a R1 000 voucher from the team's technical sponsor for top goal scorer and R40000 for the players' player award.
The underrated yet hard-working Kleinbooi Taaibos was a deserving recipient of the player of the season award and collected a trophy, R40000 plus R1000 voucher.
Taaibos' highlights were in matches against AmaZulu and Thanda Royal Zulu, when he was twice voted man of the match.
DRC international defender Cyrille Mubiala was named the sportsman of the season and got R20000 and a R1000 voucher.
Rising rookies Kamohelo Mabuya and Mark Mayambela shared the award for most promising player of the season.
Mabuya started with the team while Mayambela was signed in January this year.
Neville van Niekerk, Vodacom's managing director for Free State, commended the players and team management for securing Celtic's status.
"We are happy that the management and the players did their best to save the team. It was a hard and demanding season. We are hoping to see the impressive form shown in the closing stage of this season sustained in the new season," Van Niekerk said.
Celtic's Jimmy Augousti said the new season would see a major shift, indicating the need to challenge for top honours.