Celtic co-founder Mathobisa mourned

LEADER : The legendary Norman Mathobisa
LEADER : The legendary Norman Mathobisa

THE football fraternity in Free State is mourning the death of one of Bloemfontein Celtic's founding directors and legendary player Norman Mathobisa.

Mathobisa died on Sunday.

Messages of condolence have been pouring in as scores visit the house of one of the great community leaders to emerge from Mangaung.

Mathobisa (72), will be remembered for his immense contribution in sport and business as an entrepreneur.

At the time of his death he was the chairman of the revived Mangaung Sports Council in Bloemfontein after being elected to the influential position last year.

"Bra Norms", as Mathobisa was affectionately known, was also involved in politics, having been the first black mayor of the city.

He played for teams like Bloemfontein Fighters and later Aces in his heyday, facing off several legends including former Kaizer Chiefs midfielder Jan "Malombo" Lichaba and Amakhosi boss Kaizer Motaung.

Mathobisa's passion for sport inspired him to form soccer giants Celtic in 1969 alongside Victor Mahatanya, who became co-director and chairman of the team. The duo administered the club until the early 1970s when financial challenges forced them to hand over the reins to Petrus "Whitehead" Molemela.

"Our dream was to see Celtic campaign in a professional league and the dream was realised under Molemela's leadership," said Mahatanya.

Molemela expressed shock: "That's the man who introduced me to football. Mathobisa deserves to be honoured for the role he has played.

"I don't think I would have been well-known in football if it was not because of Mathobisa."

Mathobisa will be laid to rest on Saturday at Phahameng Cemetery in Mangaung.

The service will start at 8am at St Peter's Methodist Church.

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