Vaselin Jelusic comforted by Bloemfontein Celtic improvement from 2016/17 season
Posted: 12 May 2018 Time: 21:41
Bloemfontein Celtic coach Vaselin Jelusic admits disappointment over missing out on the top-eight, but finds solace in the club’s improvement from last season.
Celtic narrowly missed out on qualification to next season’s MTN8 as they were held to a goalless stalemate at home to Absa Premiership champions Mamelodi Sundowns on the final day of the season on Saturday.
Phunya Sele Sele needed all three points to sneak into the top half of the table, but instead ended in 10th-place – just a point shy of eighth-placed AmaZulu, who were aided by their narrow win over Cape Town City in Durban.
However, though conceding that they missed out on their target from the start of the season, the Serbian tactician was pleased that they improved on their points tally and log position from last term.
“It was quite an exciting season, if we compare this season to the previous one when Celtic just avoided relegation after the last game with 29 points,” defended Jelusic.
“This season we have eight points more, but with this game [against Sundowns] we wanted to come into the top-eight and, as you can see, one point wasn’t enough for us to make it.”
Jelusic pointed to the injuries suffered to key personnel as one of the main reasons for their struggle to retain their promising start to the campaign, in which they were as high as third at one stage.
“It was our objective [before the season] and, without any excuse, in the second half of the season we had a lot of injuries and unfortunately didn’t have good replacements,” he added.
“For example, [Wandisile] Letlabika [Alfred] Ndengane, [Ronald] Pfumbidzai, and some players got red cards, which is part of the game, but we couldn’t have the best team all the time.
“You can see Ndumiso Mabena was also absent. He’s a very important player for us, and even in today’s game, our players really tried hard to get a better result but unfortunately, we didn’t have opportunities to score and couldn’t get more points from the match.”