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Have Orlando Pirates made Bloemfontein Celtic weaker?

09:18 EAT 01/08/2019
Bongani Sam, Orlando Pirates, July 2019
Goal discusses whether Siwelele have been weakened following the departure of three key players

Bloemfontein Celtic are coming into the new season having lost three important players during the current transfer window.

Phunya Sele Sele were forced to sell Bongani Sam, Kabelo Dlamini and Tshegofatso Mabaso as they tried to address the parlous financial state of the club.

Their Premier Soccer League (PSL) rivals Orlando Pirates indirectly came to their rescue as they purchased three players from the 2012 Telkom Knockout Cup champions.

The Buccaneers signed the trio for an undisclosed fee, but the deal is reportedly worth millions of rands.

Celtic have since been pitted against Pirates in their opening 2019/20 PSL encounter,  scheduled to be played at the Orlando Stadium on Saturday.

But here is the question which lingers under the surface: Did Bucs weaken Siwelele by signing the talented trio? The answer is an affirmative YES.

Mabasa is widely considered as the reason why Siwelele secured a top-eight finish despite their financial problems last season.

The bulky forward was one of Celtic's most important players as hit the back of the net nine times in 23 league matches, which helped propel the team to an eighth-place finish on the PSL standings.

At the age of 22, Mabasa can only improve and working with Pirates' finishing coach Stephane Adam will help him unluck his full potential.

Goals from midfield are very important, especially when the forwards are failing to deliver in front of goal.

Dlamini, 23, proved to be a reliable source of goals from midfield for Phunya Sele Sele last season, as he found the back of the five times in 29 league matches.

The left-footed player, who is an attacking midfielder, was also the team's free-kick taker, further underlining his importance to the team.

His impressive displays for Celtic caught the eye of the biggest clubs in the country and Pirates won the race for the former Stars of Africa academy player's signature.



Furthermore, the Free State giants lost a very promising defender in Sam, who had established himself as the club's first-choice left-back - relegating experienced Zimbabwean full-back Ronald Pfumbidzai to the bench.

The 22-year-old player was a consistent performer for Celtic and his displays did not go unnoticed after he was included in the Bafana Bafana team which participated in the 2019 Cosafa Cup in Durban.

Pirates moved swiftly to sign Sam after the left-footed player made 24 appearances for the team across all competitions last season and contributed two goals in the process.

Celtic have been very active in the transfer window, signing 10 new players as they prepare for the new campaign, but they will need time to adjust to life at the financially distressed side.