Bloem Celtic begin life under Middendorp

Bloemfontein Celtic will begin life under new coach Ernst Middendorp when they host Moroka Swallows at the Free State Stadium on Tuesday evening, kick-off at 19h30.

While action on the field has been non-existent over the course of the past three weeks, Celtic have had plenty going on at Siwelele Park.

Middendorp has since taken over from Clinton Larsen as the club’s new coach, while Boebie Solomons has departed for Polokwane City, welcoming former player Lehlohonolo Seema as assistant to the German tactician.

It has all filtered in as a distraction from Celtic’s last fixture, a 4-0 defeat to Mamelodi Sundowns in the Telkom Knockout, and midfielder Lyle Lakay insists that things in the camp are onside.

“Things are good in camp. The guys are prepared and ready for the Swallows game on Tuesday,” he says.

“This past week Middendorp focused more on the structure and formation of the team as it was his first week with the team.”

Middendorp was already spotted doing his homework as he was present in Swallows’ Telkom Knockout loss to SuperSport United on Saturday afternoon, where the Dube Birds were eliminated 3-1 after extra-time.

“Middendorp got back from the Swallows game [versus SuperSport United] this morning [Sunday] and we’ll have a training session later this evening to see what he has planned after watching them,” added Lakay.

“Will Swallows be fatigued after going into extra-time? It all depends on how they recovered in the two days before Tuesday’ s game but, then again, they have a lot of older guys in their squad… so yeah…”

Head coach Zeca Marques blamed a lack of clinical finishing as their area of default against the Matsatsantsa as he heads into the midweek game having had little time to prepare.

Marques also went on to add, that despite Celtic’s questionable form which leaves them 11th on the log, they will be motivated to do well when Middendorp makes his debut on the bench.

“The preparation these past few days has just been about rest and recovery basically- it is not much of anything...” Marques expressed in the build-up to the game.

“We travel on Monday and that is always difficult and tricky but it has got to be done.

“Thankfully there has not been much time between the two games so the players won’t lose much ahead of this game.

He continued: “Celtic have a new coach and they will want to put out a solid performance to impress him, but that always happens and then that fizzles out. I call that the diamond phase.

“Celtic are a solid team. This year we have been solid defensively and we are better at creating chances. The guys who missed the chances against SuperSport would have scored it on another occasion.

“Sometimes the players feel the pressure of the occasion and we just hope Celtic continue with the form they have and that we manage that well.”