The Bloemfontein Celtic attacking midfielder, Thapelo Morena, has denied that he has extended his contract at the club for the next three years.
This comes despite the club announcing last week that they had reached a deal with the versatile player to carrying on playing his football at Phunya Sele Sele.
Although Morena was named in the club’s squad for the 2016/17 season, Voice was informed by an insider at the club that Celtic and Sundowns were still in talks behind the scenes, which would see the player moving to Chloorkop to join the reigning champions, Mamelodi Sundowns.
This was said to be an exchange deal for the Burundian international striker, Fiston Abdul Razak, who was on loan at Celtic for the second half of last season.
Along with getting Razak for Morena, there was said to be a cash incentive for the Free State PSL club as well.
Sello Nduna of Celtic told Voice last week that Morena was staying at the club and it was important to keep the player in order to be competitive in their next campaign.
“It’s obviously good news for us. It’s actually an improvement on his contract to make sure he stays here in Bloemfontein.
“Our intention as a team is to be able to compete, but at the same time retain our best players and this will ensure we have a competitive squad.”
Morena, in his turn, says that he has not signed an extended contract at Celtic yet. The player is on his way to the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and ahead of his departure to link up with the national U23 side for the game, he said it was a shock to hear that he had signed a three-year extension.
“When I saw that, I was shocked, because I haven’t signed anything. I was with the under-23 national team camp and I didn’t sign anything. My manager is busy talking to them and he is asking them what is happening because they released a statement while I was here at the camp. I was not there.”
Morena also expressed his disappointment in the statement sent out by Celtic regarding his future stay at the club.
“The moment big teams want you, you feel you can grow your football and see many things in life. So I was surprised that Celtic signed a contract without my knowledge.”
Meanwhile the Swaziland international striker, Felix Badenhorst. looks set to be offered a contract at Celtic after being on trial at the team for the past two weeks, but Nduna says a deal between the Cosafa Cup top-scorer and the club is not set in stone yet.
“The technical staff is busy accessing him and we might play one or two friendly games for the management to have a closer look at him. Nothing has been set in terms of us signing him, but so far, so good.”
Celtic have made nine signings thus far and the new players to don the green and white next season include Cheslyn Jampies, Khethokwakhe Masuku and Deon Hotto. – MORGAN PIEK