Celtic in midst of sale

The buyers of the debt-ridden Bloemfontein Celtic are waiting with bated breath for the approval of the hasty sale deal by the Premier Soccer League’s (PSL) board of governors.

According to a reliable source, a decision is expected on Friday (10/08), confirming whether or not businesswoman Sinki Leshabane and Dr Moeketsi Mosola will be the new co-owners of Phunya Sele Sele.

Leshabane and Mosola, the current city manager of the Tshwane Metro Municipality in Pretoria, are co-direc­tors of Mangaung Unite, which campaigns in the ABC Motsepe League.

Express reliably learnt that the transfer of the Mangaung franchise to new buyers was already in pro­cess – needing approval by the South African Football Association (Safa).

This transfer paves the way for the Leshabane and Mosola era in the elite rank of the Premier Soccer League (PSL).

It is understood that the parties agreed terms on the big deal of R40 million on Saturday (04/08), on the eve of Celtic’s opening fixture of the 2018-’19 PSL season.

Celtic beat Chippa United with 2 – 0 at home, offering a fresh breath to new owners and new coach Steve “Professor” Komphela.

Apparently Leshabane and Mosola will be the majority shareholders after purchasing Celtic from businessman Samuel “Max” Tshabalala.

The reported deal of R40 million is less than the ideal price Tshabalala apparently wanted. It is understood he offered to sell the club for R60 million, at least, having forked out R45 million to purchase the club from Jimmy Augousti in August 2014.

Tshabalala owned Roses United, for which he applied for liquidation in 2015 due to far-reaching financial trouble. He did so after Roses’ failed bid to regain promotion to the Natio­nal First Division.

Mosola and Leshabane would become the third owners of Celtic since the late Dr Rantlai Petrus Molemela sold it to Jimmy Augousti in 2001, reportedly for R500 000.

Due to financial distress, Molemela sold Celtic following relegation via a controversial boardroom decision in 2001. Molemela was the director to have managed Phunya Sele Sele for the longest period, since a despe­rate takeover in the mid-70’s from founding directors – the late Norman Mathobisa and Victor Mahatanya.

Molemela transformed Celtic into an all-conquering team, winning the 1985 Mainstay Cup.

The latest sale is a last-ditch effort to save the soul of Celtic after Standard Bank had applied in the Bloemfontein High Court for provisional liquidation of the team, owing to massive debts in six home loan agreements dating back from 2015.

According to court documents, the bank applied for liquidation as a last resort due to the inability of the authority of the club to pay its debts, approximately R4 million, to the bank.

The loss of financial sponsor MTN at the end of the 2017-’18 season was the last straw thwarting the effort of tender­preneur Tshabalala to keep the team afloat.

The hasty deal to Mosola and Leshabane appears to be a desperate attempt to halt liquidation while the apparent application sequestration by Tshabalala could also be a ploy to buy more time so the new owners raise funds within 30 days to pay debts.