Zondo back under pressure


Following a series of poor results, Zondo was relieved of his coaching duties following Celtic’s 3-1 Absa Premiership defeat by Moroka Swallows on March 2, after which assistant coach Benjamin Reed and David Modise were put in charge.

But pressure from the Celtic fans brought about the reintroduction of Zondo for the past three matches – which have all ended in defeat for the Free State side.

_quoteSince Zondo’s return to the post, Celtic have been eliminated from the lucrative Nedbank Cup 3-2 by Cape Town-based First Division side Ikapa Sporting, and have also suffered League losses at home to Platinum Stars (2-0) and Santos (1-0).

“The club management will meet later this week to discuss matters relating to the fortunes of the Celtic side,” said club CEO Ike Augousti.

Such is Celtic’s woeful form this term that club captain John Maduka is top scorer with three goals, followed by Mark Amofah, Darryl Smith and Moses Spandeel, who have each scored twice.

While the club languishes in 13th spot on the Absa Premiership table with 26 points from 23 outings, their home record of just three wins and four draws from 11 matches tells a sad tale.

“I don’t think the fans who called for Zondo’s return to the coaching post will apologise or admit to the club management that they were wrong, but they had better realise that if things don’t change soon, they could be facing the possibility of watching Celtic play in the First Division next season,” said a source at the club.

The source went on to say that several fan bases have communicated further ‘pressure’ to management, in reaction to Celtic’s loss to Santos at the weekend.

The squad has not changed much since Zondo’s predecessor Tony de Nobrega had the side firmly entrenched in the top six places in the League last season.

A patch of inconsistent League form and a home exit from the Absa Cup at the hands of Ajax Cape Town, led to death threats being made towards De Nobrega, who then decided that life is more important than PSL soccer.

De Nobrega now spends his days coaching in the youth ranks at Celtic.

The bottom line is that Celtic cannot get the goals. Last season, Petros Mahlatsi scored six goals with his attacking flair, allowing for his call-up for several Bafana Bafana matches.

While injuries have taken their toll on Mahlatsi this season, his recent failed-drug test as a result of alleged medication taken to sort out a knee problem, could be the straw that broke the camel’s back of a stressful 2007/08 season for chairman Jimmy Augousti and his board.

The Celtic coaching seat is a hot one, requiring a mentor with nerves of steel, but while club CEO Augousti would not be drawn on the matter, he remarked: “The dice is not rolling for us, but it better roll soon.”