Despite a statement posted on the club website on Sunday confirming the owner’s intention to sell the Premier Soccer League outfit, it is still unclear whether Tshabalala was overreacting following the unruly conduct of a group of supporters during the 1-0 defeat to Orlando Pirates in Soweto on Saturday night. Contacted by The Star for clarity not long after the statement was released, Tshabalala, a businessman who once owned Roses United and purchased Celtic in July 2014 from Jimmy Augousti, said he would elaborate at a press conference scheduled for on Monday morning.
The loss to Pirates at the weekend saw the team being sucked into the relegation dogfight with nine matches remaining and meant that Phunya Sele Sele had only registered a single win in 15 matches, but that is not the reason Tshabalala wants to cut ties.
“This is not about the performance of the team, but about one man (Max Tshabalala),” the statement read. “Our supporters are brining the league into disrepute to hurt me as an individual. I had a chat with some of the fans who boldly told me they hate me and want me out of the team with immediate effect hence I am calling on businessmen in and around Mangaung to come up with offers to buy the team and take Celtic forward. I love Celtic and if I’m the one standing in the way of its successes then the best thing is to sell it to those who will be able to satisfy the supporters.”
A week ago, following yet another defeat in their own backyard to struggling Maritzburg United, Celtic fans barricaded the entrance of the Dr Petrus Molemela Stadium and were baying for Tshabalala’s blood. They have questioned whether he is indeed the owner of the club or merely fronting for Free State Premier Ace Magashule.
“Yes. I want offers urgently and will be open and honest enough to show whoever that is interested to acquire the team what we have spent and the required amount to purchase the team,” the statement continued. “This team will never ever be relegated and I even addressed the players telling them of the situation.
We must remember that the league has never in recent times experienced such intolerable deeds of barbarism and for that to happen through Celtic supporters has left me emotionally paralysed.”
Tshabalala has in the past revealed that, to date, he has spent at least R100-million in building up Celtic to be a formidable team that can challenge for the league title as well as domestic cups since he took over.
However, the chairman has been at odds with the supporters, the relationship reaching boiling point when Clinton Larsen quit his job as coach in November following an ultimatum from Tshabalala to promote youth coach Duncan Lechesa as his assistant and demote former captain Lehlohonolo Seema or resign. Larsen took the high road and was replaced by Serame Letsoaka less than two weeks later. On Sunday, the chairman blind-sided club officials when he instructed them to send out the statement and set-up a press conference for 11am on Monday, where he is expected to further expand on his plans to sell Celtic.
Original source: Bloem Celtic: Tshabalala wants out