South Africa

Door still open for Tokelo Rantie as Celtic prepare for semifinal

Bloemfontein Celtic have decided against signing former Bafana Bafana striker Tokelo Rantie.

But the door has not been slammed in his face as Celtic coach John Maduka said the nomadic former Mamelodi Sundowns and Bournemouth attacker would be allowed to continue training with the Free State side until the end of the season.

“He is still with the team and he is working hard‚” Maduka said. “We hope he will continue doing that and we will make a final decision [ahead of] the coming season. We are not going to sign him for the remaining games of this season but he is training well.”

Maduka is preparing to face Baroka FC in the semifinals of the Nedbank Cup at Orlando Stadium on Saturday and has used the past few weeks to run the rule over the resources at his disposal. He took over recently after the departure of his predecessor, Lehlohonolo Seema, to Chippa United.

Rantie has been training with Celtic since February but comes with a lot of baggage, which includes the termination of a lucrative three-year contract at Sundowns late in 2019. He has a long list of off-field problems, but Maduka wants to give him another chance.

“Tokelo is still training with us. Unfortunately, because of the lockdown, we had to release players and that affected him‚” he said.

Maduka added that it has been difficult to prepare for the resumption of the season without having any friendly matches.

“Friendlies give you a chance to focus on players you want to sign. You have to put a player in a game situation to see how they do. But due to Covid-19‚ we have not been able to play any friendly matches.”

Celtic were one of the first teams to check into the “bio-bubble”, and Maduka said they have enough players to complete the season.

“We are going to the bubble with enough players and thanks have to go to the management, who tried their best to ensure  we have a big squad because games will be close together. We are taking more than 30 players and that is enough to complete the season.”

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