Whether or not Bloemfontein Celtic win the Nedbank Cup trophy this coming Saturday, when they go up against Mamelodi Sundowns, their spot in next season’s Caf Confederation Cup is guaranteed and Downs coach Pitso Mosimane is very much excited on behalf of Phunya Sele Sele.
The winners of the Nedbank Cup get a spot in the continent’s second tier inter-club competition but since Celtic are going up against the league champions – who will play in the Champions League – Masokolara inherit the qualification even if they finish as runners-up in the Nedbank Cup.
A month ago, when the finalists were confirmed, Mosimane mentioned that he would love to see Celtic welcoming African teams at their Dr Petrus Molemela Stadium which is usually vibrant with song and dance by the Celtic faithful.
“I said earlier how exciting it would be to have opponents from Africa playing at the Dr Molemela Stadium, that noisy stadium. I said I would love to be part of that if possible and witness the history. It will be difficult for teams to go to that stadium and I hope that by the time they play, football will be normal and the supporters will be back,” he added.
“Masokolara are a difficult team, those guys are enjoying themselves, they are a happy and free spirited team. They play good football and they pass well, I saw their game against Bidvest Wits… oh, they can pass the ball. They have nothing to lose but they will give everything, that’s how I see the game going,” Mosimane added.
His opposite number, John Maduka is equally excited about guiding Celtic to their first venture on the continent next season. However, the extra motivation for his side is the financial incentive that comes with winning the cup as the winners walk away R7-million richer. Celtic’s financial struggles are well known and Maduka, who took a diplomatic stance, knows that the millions will go a long way.
“We are happy that we will be representing South Africa on the continent and it is an opportunity for exposure for so many of the players … it will be good for the team. When it comes to the financial problems, the management and the players are aware of the situation and they have to dig deep and make sure everything goes according to plan,” said Maduka.