Despite cash crisis over pay, Celtic show fighting spirit

Bloemfontein Celtic coach Steve Komphela.
Bloemfontein Celtic coach Steve Komphela.
Image: Frikkie Kapp/ BackpagePix

Bloemfontein Celtic coach Steve Komphela has admitted that his team's pre-season has been a roller-coaster ride, with players threatening to boycott the opening weekend of the league campaign over unpaid wages.

The club's well documented financial difficulties have led to owner Max Tshabalala putting it up for sale.

In early July the entire team went on a week-long strike after a handful of players did not receive their salaries for June.

The players came close to not honouring their league encounter against Chippa United on Sunday but won 2-0.

"Based on the week we have had, we had a terrible time but we had to be resilient. It comes down to mental strength, if you are an athlete you must still perform," Komphela said.

"As a coach you have to come in, without being insensitive, and say the reality is that we have to play, without saying it's okay [not receiving salaries]. You respect that but also feel that you have an obligation to the supporters."

The former Kaizer Chiefs mentor revealed he has had little time to prepare his troops. "We had only one session last week because of our own challenges so we cannot fault anyone for that," he said.

"Personal challenges must not overshadow what must be done. We have to face it [the pay issue] but we hope it is resolved soon."

Reports suggest that Tshabalala has found a buyer, said to be businesswoman Rosemary Leshabane.

While pleased with his winning start, Komphela is wary of their next opponents tomorrow, Golden Arrows at Princess Magogo Stadium.

"We will go into the match with the sweet taste of victory but they are fast and fresh and we are possession-based so there is going to be lots of counter-attacks."