Seema eyes top eight spot with Celtic

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Mikia Kalati

LIKUENA legend Lehlohonolo Seema has his eyes set on helping Bloemfontein Celtic finish the season on a high note by securing a place in the top eight of the ABSA Premiership.

Seema took over the reins from Steve Komphela, who resigned in January to join Golden Arrows after Celtic were encountered financial challenges.

The club also recently suffered the wrath of its supporters who protested leading to the calling off of their game against Cape Town City.

Phunya Sele-Sele, as Celtic is affectionately known in the Free State, has since been docked three points from the match and are now staging their home games in the North West Province.

Despite the off the field challenges, the club got huge victories against the high flying Polokwane City and Kaizer Chiefs in their last two matches and Seema told the Lesotho Times that the wins have boosted their chances of finishing the campaign in the top eight.

He said he was grateful for the support that he continues to get from his home country.

“I’m grateful for the support that Basotho continue to give me and Celtic as some even travel to Bloemfontein regularly for matches,” Seema told the Lesotho Times.

“Unfortunately, we recently had problems which landed the team in trouble and we now have to host our games away from home and also lost three points from the Cape Town City match.

“It’s been a tough season that has come with a lot of challenges but God has given us a lot of wisdom in the same way he did to King Solomon to soldier on under all those problems.”

Seema said that being docked three points for crowd problems against the Benni McCarthy coached City had dented the confidence of his players but they picked up the pieces ahead of the back-to-back matches with Polokwane and Chiefs.

“During the recent game with Polokwane, we were hurting a lot after learning that we had been docked of three points but we quickly cheered up the players ensured that they focussed on the game.

“We told them to work hard to win the match as it would help us finish the season among the top eight teams in the league.

“It’s now three seasons that the club has failed to finish among the top eight teams in the Absa Premier League. That’s our main target.

“Luckily, the players listened to our instructions and did their part on the field of play. Polokwane City have played really well this season and they are up there with the top teams.

“They scored first but we fought our way back getting the equaliser and a penalty later. Although we missed the spot-kick we still got another goal to win the match.

“This also boosted our confidence ahead of the Chiefs match which we played away from home,” the gaffer said.

The former Likuena skipper, who spent over a decade playing for Celtic and also had a stint at Soweto giants, Orlando Pirates, revealed that he felt good helping the club get its first win against Chiefs after over a decade and in the process beating his former mentor Ernst Middendorp.

Seema worked as the assistant coach to the German coach during his time in charge of the Bloemfontein outfit.

“Chiefs are a big team but our goal was to win all our remaining matches to boost our chances of finishing our league among the top teams. It has not been easy because here we play both in the midweek and during weekends.

“But the players were well prepared and I also had the advantage of knowing coach Middendorp, who is one of my former mentors who contributed immensely to my growth as a coach.

“I was able to prepare my team for what was coming tactically. Based on their line-up, I could see that they intended to attack from the work go but they are not a team that can take the pressure the whole game. So, I was able to prepare the team for that and in the end it worked in our favour.

“We made sure that we defend well and by the half-time break, they did not have a shot at goal. We had a lot of chances which we missed but we were happy to play well and get the win at the end.

“It was a big win for us because it was for the first time that Celtic was able to beat Chiefs in 10 years and for that we are grateful and very happy. We thank the Almighty for all the wisdom,” he said.

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