Former Bloemfontein Celtic owner Dr Petrus Molemela has died at the age of 83‚ the club confirmed yesterday.
Molemela had served as honorary life president of the team, having been instrumental in its foundation when he purchased the status of Mangaung United and changed the club’s name to Bloemfontein Celtic in 1975.
Molemela was in charge of the club for 26 years until he sold his shares to former Celtic player Jimmy Augousti in 2001 following the team’s relegation to the First Division.
“We have lost a stalwart and a mentor‚” Celtic chief executive Khumbulani Konco said yesterday.
“Since he was made life president‚ he frequented our offices a lot and remained very interested in our fortunes.
“The reason he would come in would be to talk to us and motivate us. He also spoke a lot to the players‚ which really helped them.
“He was fearless‚ the way he built Bloemfontein Celtic into what it is today. It all started with him. We have lost a great leader.”
Molemela’s death was confirmed by Celtic yesterday and immediately drew sympathy from Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula.
“Sad news of the passing of Bloemfontein Celtic founder Ntate Dr Petrus Molemela. May his legendary spirit and soul RIP‚” Mbalula tweeted.
South African Football Association president Danny Jordaan added his condolences.
Celtic’s newly refurbished home ground‚ formerly the Seisa Ramabodu Stadium‚ was named after Molemela in late 2015.
He was a colourful figure in football‚ known for his outbursts at referees‚ and earned the nickname “Whitehead” because of his white-grey hair.