Celtic wary of wounded Dikwena

The Bloemfontein Celtic forward, Victor Letsoalo, watches on as the Richards Bay loan-player from AmaZulu, Njabulo Ngcobo, executes a bicycle kick during the Nedbank Cup round of 16 fixture at the Dr Petrus Molemela Stadium. The team from KwaZulu-Natal brought their A-game on Sunday and could easily have upset the much more fancied PSL opponents. PHOTO: MORGAN PIEK

Bloemfontein Celtic will take a lot of confidence out of their win of 3-1 over Richards Bay on Sunday that secured their place in the quarter-finals of the Nedbank Cup.

On a day which saw four seasons in one day at the Dr Petrus Molemela Stadium, Phunya Sele Sele managed to beat the minnows from KwaZulu-Natal in a game which could have gone into a penalty shootout.

With four minutes to play, Celtic, still led 1-0 courtesy of a 40th minute Mpho Maruping goal. Neo Maema assured the homeside of a win thanks to a brilliant long-range effort, which found the opposition goalkeeper off his line.

On the stroke of full time, Ronald Pfumbidzai found the back of the net for a second time in a week to seal the deal, however, Thabiso Nkoana managed to find a consolation goal for the visitors.

It truly proved to be a matter of the substitutions making an impact on the day. It was hardly a surprise as the coach, Veselin Jelušic, opted to rest the majority of his senior players and the ones who did play were mainly on the bench, apart from Alfred Ndungane, who led the team in the absence of the suspended Patrick Tignyemb.

Jelušic told Voice that he was delighted and his subs made the difference, something that had eluded the team in recent times.

“The players that came off contributed to improve the game in the second half and to score two goals, so that was important. We managed to take care of the pace of game.”

The Celtic team is in a position where the Premier Soccer League game on Sunday against the relegation threatened, Platinum Stars, has now indeed become a crunch match for both sides. This is due to the team’s shock 2-0 loss to Polokwane City in midweek.

It is simply a game Celtic cannot afford to lose, but Jelušic maintains that they have the upmost respect for the struggling Dikwena.

“We have the highest respect for Platinum Stars, they are unfortunate to be in the position that they are. They remain a great team. They are very good, with a great coach and we know that we are going to have a very tough game. We will have to work very hard to get the result we need.”

Sunday afternoon’s game at the Dr Petrus Molemela Stadium kicks off at 15:30.
Meanwhile, the draw for the Nedbank Cup quarter finals will be made in Johannesburg on Thursday evening. – MORGAN PIEK