“The team has not been sold, it’s unfortunate that a certain newspaper made false reports last Friday. The team is still in Bloemfontein and it still belongs to Max Tshabalala.” These are the words of Bloemfontein Celtic Public Relations and Media Officer, Sello Nduna. Nduna added that although the team was still up for sale, it has not yet been sold.
Reports that emerged over the past weekend, which claimed that the football club, Bloemfontein Celtic, had been sold to an anonymous business man in Kimberley, has caused chaos and anger among residents and supporters. Following the news that the team would be relocating to Kimberley, angry supporters blockaded the streets, opposing the reported sale of the local team.
“This thing now creates a lot of animosity because normally people believe what they read in the papers. Once a false story is out, when they rectify it, the new article won’t be as large as the previous one. It will be a smaller, less significant article. I will not be granting interviews to any media house that misquotes me going forward,” added Nduna.
Follwing a meeting held on Sunday, 27 May 2018, at Pax NovaHall in Bochabela, the concerned supporters had agreed to write a petition to the team owner, Max Tshabalala, and they were planning to march to Siwelele Park as part of their #Save Siwelele campaign.
Spokesperson for the concerned supporters, Nico Seutloali, explained that the protest action allegedly occurred due to a quarrel between the supporters and Pule Mabena, the Chairperson of the National executive committee of the concerned supporters.
“The meeting went well, it ended peacefully with the agreement that there would not be any protests taking place. When we left the venue, the chairperson of the concerned supporters national executive committee (NEC) arrived. Unfortunately he was late and missed the meeting. He was standing at the gate with other supporters, so they had some engagements that we don’t know about and apparently during this engagement a quarrel began. People started fighting and by then we had already left,” said Seutloali.
“When we heard about the protests we went back, we spoke to the supporters tried to stop them. We even went the extra mile by clearing the road and with the assistance of the ward councillor, we called the police. Once they arrived, we then dispersed,” he added.
Seutloali said that they are now awaiting the outcomes of the meeting held between the Executive Mayor Olly Mlamleli, Bloemfontein Celtics management and the Free State business community. The meeting was held on Monday 28 May 2018 in hopes of mapping a way forward, and details regarding this will be further explained at a press conference which will be held on Wednesday 30 May 2018 at the Bram Fischer Building.
Tshabalala reiterated that if there are any new developments regarding the sale of the team or if they have found another possible solution, they would inform the public and supporters.