July 23, 2017

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Let’s rebuild Celtic – Tshabalala

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Time to rebuild ... Celtic boss Max Tshabalala calls for collective effort to help return the club to its glory days

Time to rebuild … Celtic boss Max Tshabalala calls for collective effort to help return the club to its glory days

Club owner appeals to supporters to help him grow the team into a formidable force capable of competing for honours

Bloemfontein Celtic chairman Max Tshabalala has appealed to the team’s supporters to help him build a strong and competitive club that will return to its glory days.
Tshabalala made this impassioned plea at the funeral service of former Celtic owner Petrus Molemela in Bloemfontein on Tuesday.

“Please help me, show me the direction; I rely on you, Masele (supporters) to make the team great again. I rely on you now because I lost a father (Molemela), and I want us to start today to rebuild the team,” he pleaded.

Tshabalala told mourners that he once sought counsel from the late Dr Molemela on how best to run the team, and how ‘Whitehead’ – as the flamboyant former Celtic boss was affectionately known in football circles – told him to never forget that the team does not belong to him but the people of the province.

He said it was almost impossible to fill the huge void caused by the death of the late Molemela, a name that Tshabalala said was synonymous with the Bloemfontein Celtics Soccer team.
“It’s only through you Masele that I can emulate what Ntate did with this team, I am counting on you,” he added.

Molemela’s funeral service was also Thulas Nxesi’s first public engagement as new sports, arts and recreation minister.

Addressing scores of mourners, Nxesi suggested that a soccer museum be erected, that will house all the big names such as Molemela, Kaizer Chiefs chairman Kaizer Motaung and Jomo Cosmos owner and Orlando Pirates legend Jomo Sono.

Describing Molemela’s funeral as a “solemn but historic” moment, Nxesi said he was honoured that the occasion also served to celebrate the life of an icon.

“There must be a national museum for all soccer legends, so we do not lose the legacy that they left us in soccer,” noted the minister.

His call was met with cheers of jubilation and approval from the grandstands that were filled with supporters of Bloemfontein Celtics who had also showed up to bid good-bye to the founder of their favourite soccer team.

Turning to Molemela’s business acumen, Nxesi said unlike nowadays, there were no government tenders favouring black people during the times of Molemela and that he made his money through hard work.

He said Molemela was a self-made businessman who had to navigate his way through rough seas to make it in the business world to establish a thriving construction company.

The minister said he was also impressed that Molemela never abandoned the township in favour of the suburbs when he could easily have afforded to do so.
“There were no tenders for him (Molemela); he had to sail rough waters set for blacks during apartheid, but it was his lifelong dedication to sport that would see him on the bench of his team throughout the season. Where else have you seen soccer bosses do that?”

Nxesi said due to being a great soccer administrator, Molemela also commanded a lot of respect from within the footballing circles, recalling that that he was the first club owner in the country to have full-time professional players.

“Today we are proud that he has been immortalised by the naming of this stadium after him, to ensure that his legacy lives on forever.
“Ntate Molemela helped the course of social cohesion in the province with the formation of a soccer team with supporters across colour divides.”

At the same occasion, Premier Ace Magashule promised that the provincial government will continue to financially support soccer in the province.

This would help the teams in contributing to selling the province to the world and putting it on the map.

Magashule said he only recognises four soccer teams in the Premier Soccer League, namely Celtic, Pirates, Kaizer Chiefs and Sundowns.

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