The Free State Premier Soccer League club, Bloemfontein Celtic, have their sights firmly set on a first piece of silverware in eight years when they take to the field against Orlando Pirates on Saturday in the final of the MTN8 in Durban.
Celtic have not done as well as one would expect of the team in the opening rounds of the 2020/21 PSL season, however, it is in cup football where they have proven themselves of late.
As recently as in September, Phunya Sele Sele appeared in their last cup final, when they were beaten 1-0 by the reigning PSL champions, Mamelodi Sundowns.
While it was heartbreak for Celtic at the Orlando Stadium in Soweto, they do have another bite of the cherry this week, but it is against the Buccaneers; a team that has proven themselves in recent times.
Celtic will also draw on their recent continental experience as they head into the final, and their most recent CAF Confederations Cup tie against Maniema Union of the Democratic Republic of the Congo can prove to be invaluable.
Celtic advanced to the next round of the international competition when they beat Maniema 3-2 on penalties to advance.
Celtic captain, Ndumiso Mabena, told Bloemfontein Courant that they try and prepare for every situation.
“Over the weekend we won through penalties. One expects that we prepare for that during every session, every week. We’ve been preparing for this final the same way.”
The influential Mabena added that they must focus on this week’s game, and not dwell on their defeat to the Brazilians in their previous final.
“We have played in a cup final recently, but that is in the past because that was last season.
This is a new season and we want to make history in the coming game. Hence we know it is not going to be an easy game, but we want to deliver a perfect performance over the weekend.”
Celtic do have a near full-strength squad available, with only Neo Maema and Tshepo Rikhotso ruled out through injury, while the reliable centre-back, Mzwanele Mahashe, is in a race for time to recover from illness.
Saturday’s big final at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban kicks off at 18:00. – MORGAN PIEK