by MTHULISI SIBANDA
JOHANNESBURG, (CAJ News) – BLOEMFONTEIN Celtic believe Tokelo Rantie has turned over a new leaf as the former national team striker aims to revive his career at the club from his home province.
The Free State side confirmed the Parys-born forward was still under assessment, and, like any other player, keeping fit at home owing to restrictions imposed by authorities to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
With no end in sight to the recess of the elite league, and the player’s reputation based on his recent past, there might have been fears Rantie had let go the opportunity.
However, Celtic coach, Lehlohonolo Seema, confirms the formerly overseas-based striker is on the straight and narrow.
“He is under the same training programme as all other players,” Seema said in an interview with CAJ News.
Phunya SeleSele has taken a gamble on the 29-year-old who has not played for the past couple of seasons.
After a stint in Turkey lasted in late 2017, Rantie failed in an attempt to revive his dwindling career at Cape Town City.
Mamelodi Sundowns threw him a lifeline last September but terminated his three-year contract in January this year.
Alleged personal problems were cited as the reasons on both occasions. His time overseas also ended unceremoniously.
Celtic are aware of these issues and Seema explains why they gave Rantie a chance.
“Obviously when we gave him a chance to train we asked him what he wanted. He wanted to revive his career,” the coach said.
“He (Rantie) saw his mistakes of the past, and, if somebody has seen and learnt from his mistakes and where he went wrong and wants a chance, why not give him a chance?”
Nonetheless, Seema said the technical team was not in a position currently to conclude on its assessment of the player they offered a trial shortly before the COVID-19 enforced recess.
“We were still working on his conditioning since it was long since he played,” Seema said.
Rantie, capped 40 times by Bafana Bafana, previously underwent special training at the provincial Sports Science Institute.
Meanwhile, Seema sang the praises of ageless midfielder-cum-striker, Ndumiso Mabena (32), after another inspirational campaign. He is Celtic’s top scorer with seven league goals and three assists from 21 appearances.
“I worked with Mabena at Orlando Pirates when I was still playing,” the former Pirates captain recalled.
“He then went to Platinum Stars, where he did well. He has been a leader that’s why we have made him captain. We are happy with the way he is going,” Seema said.
The Celtic mentor revealed one of the reasons the player from Groblersdal has been evergreen.
“We need to manage him well. He is not young anymore. We give him enough rest so that we can utilise him in the games. That is why he always has the energy,” Seema concluded.
– CAJ News