forget the cup

Ramatsiyi Moholoa

Bloemfontein Celtic should forget about the Nedbank Cup and channel all their energies into the war against the big drop to the National First Division next season.

This is according to their number one supporter, Botha "Shower Cap" Msila, one of the most visible Celtic fans, who is more concerned about the team's inconsistent form in the Absa Premiership.

Phunya SeleSele qualified for the last-16 round of the tournament after a 4-2 win over Mpumalanga Black Aces on penalties in Witbank on Sunday.

"I'm happy with the win, but I'm sorry because it does not make me feel better considering that we are deep in the relegation quagmire," said Msila.

"Can you imagine how terrible it will be for us to win R6 million cash and bring the Nedbank Cup to Free State with the team relegated to the First Division?

"I foresee serious challenges if we are involved in the league and cup. For me, we should prioritise the league, period."

Another Celtic supporter, Pule Malebo does not see a problem, but he has other worries.

"We are not going anywhere, but the problem for me is that our performance is still appalling. There is an element of consistency too."

Celtic coach Owen Da Gama believes they have to win four of their seven remaining Premiership games to escape relegation.

The campaign begins on Sunday against Lamontville Golden Arrows at Welkom Stadium with Seisa Ramabodu Stadium being renovated for the 2010 World Cup.

The other remaining games for Celtic will be against Bidvest Wits, Platinum Stars, Bay United, Orlando Pirates, Santos and Free State Stars.

"For us the plan is to take each game as it comes. The problem is that we have been badly affected by injuries," said Da Gama. "There is no doubt the league is more important, winning a minimum of four games will definitely help us end the season on a more respectable position."

Celtic manager Khumbulani Konco is equally confident that the electrifying atmosphere of Siwelele will still very much be part of the Premiership next season.

"When you look at us [Celtic in 15th] and Bay United [16th], we have a two-game advantage. We are planning to get back to our winning ways, starting against Arrows."

Captain John Maduka is still confident that Celtic will not be relegated, adding that they won't even feature in the Platinum playoffs.

With the team finishing 16th being relegated automatically to the First Division, the one ending 15th will take part in the playoffs with three clubs from the lower league.