Bloemfontein Celtic legendary goalkeeper Patrick Tignyemb has revealed that he fled South Africa for safety reasons at the end of last year after taking his case against the club to FIFA.
Tignyemb is now back home in Cameroon, while Celtic facing a FIFA imposed two-window transfer ban if they don’t settle the R3 million that is due to him.
Celtic have made promises to make the full payment in August, with Tignyemb – who holds the club record for most appearances after an 11 year stay at the club – already planning to continue with his playing career back home.
"I fled South Africa for safety reasons because a lot of people asked me to leave since my kids were going to school and my wife going to the gym every day," he reveals to KickOff.com.
"I had a lot of people who told me that something can happen, so that is why I decided to leave and I don’t have any plans of coming there anymore. Safety first, because everyone knew which school my kids go to and which gym my wife goes to.
"No one ever threatened me, but I was advised by friends who care and my lawyer to leave because you never know what can happen. I don’t regret leaving because I know something could have surely happened by now. I have four kids to take care of.
"The chairman [Max Tshabalala] was having a lot of wrong people around him who he trusted but were sending him the wrong way in football. All those people are now fired. The truth might take time, but it always comes out and I am glad that it is the chairman firing all these people.
"That man is not a bad person but at that time, he was surrounded with wrong people who were destroying the team but because he trusted them, they were doing whatever they wanted," he reveals – almost in tears – of the treatment he got from unnamed officials at the club when his stay came to an end in 2019.
"My wife had a complicated birth the day we played Kaizer Chiefs in one of my last games for Celtic, but the club still sent Oompie [Abram Modise] to fetch me in Bloemfontein so that I go and play that same evening.
"Everyone was surprised why I left my wife, but a few days later I was being given two days to leave the house [the club paid for] by those Celtic officials, with the same baby that was born the day I sacrificed to go and play for the club.
"Those people were cruel to me and asked me to leave the house with a week-old baby when it was raining. I am not perfect, because no one is, but I will never forget what they did to me. That is a club I played for with a head guard [following concussions].
The veteran keeper adds that he will wait to be paid as promised by Phunya Sele Sele.
"Their lawyers have said they will pay in full by August and so far, they have not paid anything. In February , they sent a proposal of three payments, but we refused because I know that they never respect their word," he adds.
"And with FIFA, if you accept that proposal and going forward, they refuse to pay, you cannot go back to FIFA again. I just want all the money in full. Simple. If payment is not made in August, the next step will come into effect and FIFA knows."
The directive from FIFA on the transfer ban is already with SAFA, who have confirmed to this website that Celtic are indeed ineligible to register any new players until the payment is made to Tignyemb.