Marumo Gallants confirm move to Bloemfontein

17 August 2023 - 16:30
By Marc Strydom
Marumo Gallants chair Dr Abram Sello welcomes new CEO Sinky Mnisi to the club in a press conference at Hotel Sky in Sandton on August 17 2023.
Image: Lee Warren/Gallo Images Marumo Gallants chair Dr Abram Sello welcomes new CEO Sinky Mnisi to the club in a press conference at Hotel Sky in Sandton on August 17 2023.

Marumo Gallants will play their home games in the Motsepe Foundation Championship (MFC) in Bloemfontein, but only once renovations to Dr Petrus Molemela Stadium have been completed, the club says.

The nomadic club said in a statement on Thursday it will use a ground at Vaal University of Technology in Vanderbijlpark until the Free State venue is ready for use.

Gallants also announced the appointment as CEO of Sinky Mnisi, who held the same position at Royal AM until the KwaZulu-Natal club parted ways with him in January after a prolonged “special leave”. 

Gallants were being courted late last season to relocate to Bloemfontein — potentially resurrecting Bloemfontein Celtic — by the Free State provincial government, but that plan relied on them surviving in the DStv Premiership at the end of the 2022-23 season.

The club owned by businessperson Abram Sello finished last and were relegated.

“Dr Petrus Molemela Stadium in Bloemfontein was confirmed as a home ground for the new season, however, maintenance is under way to get the stadium ready for play,” Gallants said.

“Isak Steyl Stadium at the Vaal University of Technology (Gauteng), also confirmed as a home ground alternative, will host Gallants’ upcoming home games in the interim.”

Gallants also confirmed their technical staff for the 2023-24 season.

“Pitso Dladla, former Richards Bay coach, has been confirmed as the club’s head coach. He will be supported by Rodney Moroka as assistant coach, with Stevanus Ekakala remaining as goalkeeper coach.

“Amos Dhlomo will also stay on as fitness trainer and masseur, with Rasikan Moodley joining the club as technical performance coach.”

Gallants announced the players they have retained for life in the second tier are Matome Kgoetyane, Brendon Mokgope, Koketso More, Sibusiso Nkosi, Edgar Manaka, Samuel Nkomo, Tebogo Thangwane, Boitumelo Pheko, Ndivhuwo Ravuhali, Cheick Soumaro and Augustine Ramphela.

Their signings are King Ndlovu, Thato Pheeha, Bareng Ledwaba, Lerato Ntamane, Kutlwano Mzimela, Themba Nobela, Itumeleng Shopane, Tshepo Chaine, Osborn Maluleke, Andy Mboweni, Adson Khumalo, Tshiamo Mashoene, Laudry Mukaba, George Lata and Cyrelle Ngessan.

The Free State government has said it is looking at other options to revive Celtic — the well-supported club that sold its top-flight franchise to Royal AM in August 2021 — after Gallants' relegation.

However, if Gallants manage to be promoted back to the Premiership in the 2023-24 MFC season that deal might also be revived.