It’s a done deal

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The Marumo Gallants head coach, Dylan Kerr, has committed to developing the game in Bloemfontein as well as the Free State. PHOTO: LEFTY SHIVAMBU

It’s a done deal – football fans in Bloemfontein will get to experience Premier Soccer League action again for the first time since 2021 with a team based in the city.

Marumo Gallants are officially relocating to Bloemfontein and all of their home games will be played in the city at two venues. There is a catch – the team will not be renamed to Bloemfontein Celtic as previously hoped, and this doesn’t sit well with the supporters. The supporters want the team to be renamed, however, at this stage it is not possible as Max Tshabalala owns the right and Celtic does play in the ABC Motsepe League.

Gallants did, however, not rule out the possibility that the situation regarding a name could change.

“In terms of the club’s name, the name has been registered for the PSL as Marumo Gallants FC for the current season. Should anything change in this regard, the club will update accordingly.”

Regarding the team itself – who played in the National First Division in 2023/24 – they have to bulk up their squad and 13 former Moroka Swallows players have already been contracted. This includes the former Bloemfontein Celtic striker, Gabadindo Mhango who was a crowd favourite in his Phunya Sele Sele days. Some players who competed for Gallants last season will continue to play with the team, while others were sold along with their NFD status. The club is actively still contracting players.

The Maltese-born English coach, Dylan Kerr, has been re-appointed as the head coach of Gallants after previously having coached the team. He arrived back in South Africa on Friday. The former Sheffield Wednesday player indicated that he has big plans for the club and this involved development in the region.

Gallants will make use of the Dr Petrus Molemela Stadium in Rocklands for their home games, while the Toyota Stadium will also be used for matches against the bigger teams such as the champions, Mamelodi Sundowns, Orlando Pirates, and Kaizer Chiefs.

Meanwhile, football fans in Bloemfontein are in for another treat with Kaizer Chiefs set to face the Tanzanian giant killers, Young Africans, on 28 July at the Toyota Stadium in the inaugural Toyota Cup. This match will be preceded by a curtain-raiser that will be played between legends of the Amakhosi and Bloemfontein Celtic. – MORGAN PIEK