Celtic’s CEO Ikie Augousti confirmed Da Gama’s appointment during a crisis meeting called by the team’s supporters at Paxnova Hall in Bochabela, Bloemfontein, today.
He added that the current coach Mich D'Avray, who joined Celtic at the start of the season, would sit on the bench for the last time when Celtic lock horns with Free State Stars this afternoon at Seisa Ramabodu Stadium.
“I've been sleeping two hours a night for the past two months because of the situation we find ourselves in at Celtic. Things are bad and we had to come up with a quick solution to save the club,” Augousti told the supporters who attended this meeting in their numbers.
“We discussed our situation with Mich. He said if he was a problem for the poor results, then we must fire him. Many people have criticised him before, Celtic’s management included, about his defensive approach. But he told us not to interfere with his duties,” Augousti said.
“When we appointed Mich during the off-season we didn’t want to go for a local guy. Unfortunately things have gone horribly wrong for him. But having said that, I’m not taking anything away from him as he is a good coach with excellent credentials. He holds a Uefa A coaching license, but he was just unlucky not to get good results,” he continued.
“After our long discussions as the team’s management, we came to the conclusion that we should hire someone who would bring new ideas to this club. Then we decided to appoint Da Gama as a new coach. Da Gama has a proven coaching record and is a disciplinarian. We believe that he will turn things around and save us from relegation,” he added.
Da Gama has been given a contract until the end of the season with an option to renew. If he manages to save Celtic from the dreaded axe, he will discuss a long-term contract with the Bloemfontein side.
The good news for Da Gama is that, unlike other coaches who have come and gone at Celtic, he will be allowed to chose his own technical team.
“We sat down with Da Gama and told him to look for his own assistants. Unfortunately his target is still a player and is contracted to another team. Da Gama might work with someone like David Modise until the end of this term. ” Augousti explained.
KickOff.com can reveal that Da Gama has targeted former Celtic stalward Willem Jackson as his assistant. He worked with Jackson when he was still coaching at Platinum Stars and they have a sound working relationship.
If Da Gama succeeds in his mandate of saving Celtic from relegation, then Jackson will come down to his hometown Bloemfontein to begin his coaching career.
“Tony De Nobrega has had his time at the club for seven years. Unfortunately he’ll be gone after today's match,” Augousti said.
Most of Celtic supporters complained that there was no quality in their team, and that some of the players were not pulling their weight. They think that players such as Moses Spandeel, Petros Mahlatsi and Kleinbooi Taaibos must shape up or ship out. They further stated that Celtic must stop buying rejects from other teams.
“It's not always about quality, but commitment as well. Yes, it’s true we lack quality. But what is happening in South African football is players are not committed anymore. We just need right discipline and balance,” Augousti answered.
He added that they are talking their PRO Sello Nduna into taking up his position full-time from January. Nduna is the team's mouthpiece and doubles it up as a school teacher.
The team manager Khumbulani Konco will act as a CEO until Celtic has found the right man for this position. Augousti did not state which role he was going to play at his club from next year.
The meeting was attended by more than 4000 Celtic supporters.
Celtic self acclaimed No 1 supporter Botha Msila has confirmed with KickOff.com that they had a successful meeting.
“We hope the meeting will mark good things to come for Celtic. The management has told us that win or lose against Free State Stars Mich D’ Avray is gone and Owen Da Gama is going to take over.
“We have supported management’s idea to look for local coach who understands South Africa football and we have accepted