TRIBUTES continue to pour for the late founding father of Bloemfontein Celtic Dr Petrus Molemela.
“Whitehead”, as he was affectionately known in football circles because of his aged white hair, passed away in the early hours of Sunday morning at the ripe age of 83.
SAFA president Danny Jordaan relayed a message of condolences to the Molemela family in light of the passing on of the legend, “This is a huge blow for the game of football. Here is an individual who shaped our game and contributed massively before and after the new political dispensation.
“This man was among the giants of football in South Africa. In Ntate Molemela there were no dull moments and when the history of the sport is written, here is one individual whose name will feature prominently as one that played a critical role before and after the dawn of the new South Africa. I want to take this opportunity on behalf of the football family, to comfort his family, friends and football community; because here is a man who influenced the path of the sport in the country. We are all devastated but Dr Molemela’s spirit will live with us forever.”
Phunya Sele Sele confirmed the news on social media, with club boss Max Tshabalala relaying Siwelele’s mourning, “We are saddened by the death of our mentor, leader and father-figure. We are incredibly devastated and emotionally paralyzed by the loss of such a valuable and immensely experienced administrator, who not only made a contribution at Celtic but for soccer, sport and the community at large.
“It is painful losing Ntate at this time when we genuinely needed him for his motivation and guidance towards both the management and players. We will forever cherish his dedication and absolute love towards the team. He has built a legacy that we have to maintain as a brand.”
Sport Minister Fikile Mbalula also spoke of the tragedy through Twitter, “Sad news of the passing of Bloemfontein Celtic founder Ntate Dr Petrus Molemela. May his legendary spirit and soul RIP.”
Molemela is best known for his work at Celtic, where he played an integral role in the development of the club. He purchased and renamed Mangaung United in 1975. After ownership of the club for a lengthy 26 years, he finally sold the club to former Celtic player Jimmy Augousti when the team got relegated from top flight football in 2001. Upon his passing, Molemela sat as the club’s honorary president. Siwelele’s refurbished home ground was in 2015 renamed after the legend from the initial Seisa Ramabodu Stadium.