celtic in r80m deal

Mcelwa Nchabeleng

Mcelwa Nchabeleng

Bloemfontein Celtic have new co-owners who have splashed out about R80 million to buy a 50 percent stake in Phunya SeleSele, Sowetan can safely reveal today.

The new co-owners are successful businessmen Professor Itumeleng Mosala, Chose Choeou and Mohodi Mathiba.

The deal, signed a few days before the Christmas break, ended marathon negotiations that started six months ago.

Mosala, Choeou and Mathiba join current directors George Georgiou and Jimmy Augousti, who is also the side's chairman and managing director. Ikie Augousti is the chief executive of the team.

The arrival of the new directors has also ended months of speculation that respected Limpopo businessman Tim Tebeila was close to buying Celtic for more than R50 million.

An excited Mosala yesterday confirmed the acquisition of 50 percent of Phunya SeleSele.

Speaking to Sowetan from Lisbon, Portugal, Mosala said they were happy to be part of a well-supported team like Celtic.

Mosala, the former Azanian People's Organisation president and director-general in the department of arts and culture, is in Lisbon with Ikie Augousti to clinch an exchange deal with that country's giants, Sporting Lisbon.

This will lead to the establishment of a Bloemfontein Celtic Academy. Sporting will invest R100 million in the project.

Up-and-coming Sporting players will join the academy , which will be officially endorsed at a media briefing in Lisbon today.

Celtic players will also have an opportunity to play for Sporting and their experience there will benefit Bafana Bafana and other national teams.

"We are happy to be part of a big team like Celtic," said Mosala. "We are aware of their precarious position on the [Absa Premiership] log, but we have come on board to, in whatever way possible, transform the team.

"I know the majority of Celtic's supporters (Siwelele) will start to get worried when they read that we have bought shares in the team, fearing that we might move the club out of Bloemfontein. That will not happen.

"Choeou and I are from Bloemfontein and we want to plough back into our community.

"We just love the support Celtic have been receiving everywhere they go. They are ever-singing and colourful," he said.

Mosala said they will buy new players if need be to save Phunya SeleSele, who are bottom of the 16-team log.