Travel puts strain on Bloemfontein Celtic

Neville Khoza Journalist
New Bloemfontein Celtic coach John Maduka will lead his side in the remaining PSL matches, starting on Saturday. / Frikkie Kapp/Gallo Images
New Bloemfontein Celtic coach John Maduka will lead his side in the remaining PSL matches, starting on Saturday. / Frikkie Kapp/Gallo Images

The inevitable fixture congestion has forced Bloemfontein Celtic to travel with more than 30 players to Gauteng, the biologically safe environment (BSE) chosen for the completion of the Premiership Soccer League season.

The club has been facing financial challenges, and new coach John Maduka admitted they had to make sacrifices to take enough players on today's trip. Celtic will restart the season against Baroka FC in the Nedbank Cup semifinal match at Orlando Stadium on Saturday (2pm).

The expenses of being in the BSE range from accommodation to meals and the last round of coronavirus tests. And this could cost each club around R2m.

"We are going with enough players. As much as there are challenges the team has tried its best to make sure that we have a good squad," Maduka said in a virtual conference yesterday ahead of the match.

"The games will be close to each other and we've taken enough players to make sure that we can compete - I think more than 30 players - so we got enough to complete the remaining games."

Maduka has welcomed PSL decision to allow clubs to use five substitutes in a match.

"The five substitutes give us the advantage to know that if players are tired we will have the opportunity to introduce the other players that are fresher," Maduka continued.

"If there are any injuries, we will then be able to introduce players that are still fresh, and that will help us."

It will also be the first time on Saturday that Maduka will lead the team following the resignation of former coach Lehlohonolo Seema, who has since joined Chippa United.

He insists he won't be making many changes to the team.

"I'm very excited to be in this position because I have been a coach before with Seema but now I am alone and I'm looking forward to this challenge. Whatever you saw on those matches where I was a co-coach with Seema, it will be more of the same thing. What we have been doing has been working."

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