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Ramaphosa grants Free State Stars boss a special funeral

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Staff Reporter

The late founder and chairman of Free State Stars Football Club, Mike Mokoena, who died last week after a long battle with cancer, will receive a special official funeral.

The distinguished football administrator will be laid to rest on Friday, June 26, in Bethlehem, Free State.

A statement from the office of Premier Sisi Ntombela said President Cyril Ramaphosa had approved a request for Mokoena’s funeral to be declared a “Special Official Funeral Category 2”.

“President Ramaphosa has . . . instructed that the national flag fly at half-mast in the Free State province, at all government buildings, on the day of the late Mike Mokoena’s funeral service,” read part of the statement.

A Special Official Provincial Funeral Category 2 is given to distinguished persons specifically designated by the president of the Republic of South Africa.

It includes, among others, elements of police ceremonial honours in line with the Presidency’s State, Official and Provincial Official Funeral Policy.

Better known as Bra Mike, Mokoena has been described in football circles as selfless and the epitome of practicality for the way he dedicated himself to the game.

Mokoena founded the club as Makwane Stars in the rural town of QwaQwa, eastern Free State, in 1977.

The team was to be renamed QwaQwa Stars and it was also nicknamed “Ea Lla Koto” by its multitudes of fans.

“The club most notably won the Coca-Cola Cup in 1994 and most recently in 2018, the Nedbank Cup, before being relegated from the topflight Premier Soccer League to the National Soccer League in the 2018/2019 season,” said the premier’s statement.

Ntombela welcomed the decision of the president saying: “Mike Mokoena has served the Free State and the football fraternity with the highest level of dedication and commitment – may his soul rest in peace.”

Football

End of an era: Bloemfontein Celtic is no more

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Staff Reporter

The Premier Soccer League (PSL) has finalised the transfer of business between Bloemfontein Celtic and the KwaZulu-Natal based Royal AM.

A circular issued by the PSL on Tuesday and addressed to the chairpersons and chief executive officers of all member clubs says the football body has approved the transfer of business and advises of the team’s name change and relocation.

“The club previously known as Bloemfontein Celtic will participate in the DSTV Premiership as Royal AM this season, with its home venue at Chatsworth Stadium,” reads part of the circular.

The sale will bring to an end the team’s colourful 52 years of existence after it was founded by Norman Mathobisa and Victor Mahatane in 1969.

Celtic has been dogged by financial troubles over the past few years with players failing to get their salaries on time on several occasions.

This is said to have forced club owner Max Tshabalala to hand over the team to Durban businesswoman and socialite Shawn Mkhize for R50 million.

Mkhize owns First Division side Royal AM and wanted to elevate her profile in the male-dominated field by buying Celtic’s premiership status.

She has since sold her team to pursue her dream of owning a soccer team in the top-flight league, the PSL confirmed.

“The club previously known as Royal AM will participate in GladAfrica Champioship as Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivhandila, with its home venue at Thohoyandou Stadium,” the circular explained.

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Bloem Celtic believed sold

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Staff Reporter

Unconfirmed reports say the financially troubled Bloemfontein Celtic have sold their Premier Soccer League (PSL) status to Durban businesswoman and socialite Shawn Mkhize for R50 million.

The PSL executive committee is said to have okayed the deal when it met on Friday.

Not much detail is known about the sale of the only DSTV Premiership side in the Free State as all parties involved in the deal have not divulged any information.

Celtic have been dogged by financial troubles over the past few seasons amid rumours that club owner Max Tshabalala was ready to let go of the team.

All that’s left, according to media reports, is for Mkhize – who owns National First Division outfit Royal AM – to pay the R50 million in order to finalise the deal.

It’s believed the move would see Bloemfontein Celtic relocating to KwaZulu-Natal Province and assume a new name.

The team was founded by Norman Mathobisa and Victor Mahatane in 1969.

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Hugo Broos named as new Bafana Bafana coach

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Belgian Hugo Broos has been named the new coach of Bafana Bafana‚ the South African Football Association (SAFA) announced on Wednesday.

Broos, 69, arrives with an impressive CV‚ most notably having won league titles in Belgium with Club Brugge twice and once with Anderlecht‚ and led Cameroon to the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations title.

The announcement was made at the SABC’s Radio Park in Auckland Park.

Broos’ name is believed to have been one of five that SAFA’s technical committee confirmed as their shortlist to an NEC meeting on April 24.

That list‚ sources have said‚ consisted of Portuguese ex-Bafana and Real Madrid coach Carlos Queiroz‚ AmaZulu coach Benni McCarthy‚ Al Ahly coach Pitso Mosimane‚ Kaizer Chiefs boss Gavin Hunt and either Broos or Saudi Arabia coach Herve Renard.

SAFA‚ sources had revealed‚ approached both Queiroz and McCarthy in recent weeks‚ but the association was unable to meet demands from both regarding the fellow technical staff they wanted the association to appoint.

Broos replaces Molefi Ntseki‚ who was released from his contract as Bafana head coach on March 31‚ after the national team’s failure to qualify for the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations.

A 1970s and 1980s defender who earned 24 caps for Belgium‚ Broos’ playing career was spent mostly at RSC Anderlecht (350 appearances) and Club Brugge (161).

He began his coaching career at RWD Molenbeek in 1988‚ and from 1991 to 1997 at Club Brugge won league titles in 1991-92 and 1995-96‚ the Belgian Cup in 1994-95 and 1995-96‚ and Belgian Supercup in 1991‚ 1992‚ 1994 and 1996.

Coaching Anderlecht from 2003 to 2005 he won the 2003-04 league title.

He coached the late former Bafana right-back Anele Ngcongca at KRC Genk in 2008.

Since then his career has taken him to Panserraikos in Greece‚ Trabzonspor in Turkey‚ Al Jazira in United Arab Emirates‚ JS Kabylie and NA Hussein Dey in Algeria‚ and then Cameroon from 2016 to 2017.

Most recently he was sports director, then caretaker-manager of Oostende‚ where Mamelodi Sundowns star Andile Jali played until 2018‚ in Belgium between 2018 and 2019.

Broos was sacked as coach of the Indomitable Lions by the Cameroonian Football Federation in December 2017‚ 10 months after he led them to their fifth Africa Cup of Nations title in Gabon that year‚ reportedly over pay issues.

Cameroon beat Egypt 2-1 in the Nations Cup final on February 5 2017.

They had progressed through the group stage with a win and two draws‚ then beat Senegal on penalties in the quarterfinals‚ and Ghana 2-0 in the semis.

Having coached in North and West Africa on the continent‚ Broos will have an adjustment to make to a different playing style and mental approach in South Africa.

He also must undergo a quick crash course on SA football and the players he has available as Bafana’s 2022 Qatar World Cup group stage qualification campaign begins with the match against Zimbabwe in Harare on the weekend of June 5 to 6. – Times Live

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