How Veselin has smoothed the path to stability for Bloem Celtic

Veselin Jelusic, head coach of Bloemfontein Celtic chat to Ndumiso Mabena of Bloemfontein Celtic while he receives treatment during the Absa Premiership 2017/18 game between Ajax Cape Town and Bloemfontein Celtic at Athlone Stadium, Cape Town on 21 October 2017.
Veselin Jelusic, head coach of Bloemfontein Celtic chat to Ndumiso Mabena of Bloemfontein Celtic while he receives treatment during the Absa Premiership 2017/18 game between Ajax Cape Town and Bloemfontein Celtic at Athlone Stadium, Cape Town on 21 October 2017.
Image: Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix

Bloemfontein Celtic coach Veselin Jelusic has engineered a remarkable turnaround in fortunes for the club in his short four-month stay at the club‚ but first and foremost he has brought stability‚ according to CEO Khumbulani Konco.

Jelusic will lead Celtic in their Telkom Knockout semifinal at Polokwane City on Sunday‚ a tough away game but one that will certainly be viewed as winnable‚ especially as the side has already claimed a 2-1 league success in Limpopo this season.

Jelusic has also guided Celtic into the top four in the league and has the team playing attractive football with largely the same group of players as last season‚ when they finished just a single point above the relegation playoff position.

“He has brought stability to the team and that has bred confidence among the players‚” Konco told SowetanLIVE.

“Bar one game where he made six or so changes‚ he has been very consistent with the team selection and that shows in the way the side is performing.

“You can now see the belief in the boys‚ walking around the club they are oozing confidence and that is a big change from recently.”

Celtic might have won on their last two visits to Polokwane City‚ but with their opponents also with their tails up‚ Konco is expecting a vastly different proposition this time round.

“It’s obviously going to be tough – any cup semifinal is and nobody likes to go and play at Polokwane‚ where they have a very good team.

“But there is a good feeling in Manguang about this cup‚ people are getting excited about it and for the players it is just about going there‚ rolling up their sleeves and getting stuck into the job.”

Jelusic‚ who was named Absa Premiership Coach of the Month for October recently‚ agrees that it was more of a mental shift that was needed by the players from last season rather than there being a lack of ability in the Celtic squad.

“I had to improve the players psychologically first‚” Jelusic said when accepting his award last week.

“It started in the friendly games we played to prepare for the season. The players gained confidence with each win‚ which led to the good start that we have had. As our confidence rose‚ the better we played.

“I think we are still going to reach a higher level because the more positive results we get‚ the more confidence they will have.

“I am happy that our players have the confidence to fight until the end. It comes from training and preparation. They feel that they are ready in all aspects to be a force in the country.

“Our goal was just to be ambitious and improve from last season by going as far as possible. We will continue with this approach.

“So we are on the right path. I am excited that we are one match away from the [Telkom Knockout] final. But before we can start thinking about the final‚ we have a difficult match against Polokwane.”

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