Bloemfontein Celtic suffered a 4-2 defeat to Golden Arrows in an entertaining pre-season friendly in Pretoria on Sunday.
The Free Staters were the first to break the deadlock through their last season’s top scorer Luyanda Bacela. However, Arrows drew level as the match progressed and they went on to score another goal to take a 2-1 lead into the halftime. After the break, The KwaZulu Natal side increased their lead when they scored a third goal.
Phunya Sele Sele had their own chances to score more goals but their forwards failed to convert them into goals. The new signing Siyabonga Nontshinga looked bright and he seemed to be gelling well with his teammates. The former Jomo Cosmos man is expected to form a deadly striking partnership with Bacela in the new campaign.
Celtic started to pile on pressure to the opponents and they were awarded a penalty much against the run of play. Nontshinga stepped up and calmly converted it. Nonetheless, Arrows shocked Celtic when they scored their fourth goal, and that turned out to be enough for them to seal victory.
John ‘Dukes’ Maduka, Celtic manager, told bloemfonteincelticfc.co.za: “This was a very tough game for both clubs and it was tightly contested. The coach (Clinton Larsen) gave almost all our contracted players a chance in the match. He used two different teams in both halves to try and find the best combination ahead of the new season. He also gave a few trialists some game time. Although we lost the practice match, we are happy about the way our players performed. They are slowly but surely regaining their fitness levels,”
Celtic will wrap up their Johannesburg training camp with two friendlies before returning home this week. They will square off against Moroka Swallows in Johannesburg on Tuesday. In another game, they will face the University of Pretoria in Tshwane two days later.
“Obviously, those will be another good practice matches for us. We are also planning to play against our neighbours (Free State Stars) before playing against Orlando Pirates in the MTN8 Cup next month. We want to play tough matches so that we can see how ready we are for next season,” Maduka said.
Meanwhile, Celtic have opened a Twitter account to improve their communication with the supporters.