READ: Steve Komphela’s frustrated resignation letter to Bloemfontein Celtic

The experienced coach wrote out a laundry list of complaints reflecting apparently poor ownership decisions and management at the Free State club.

On Saturday afternoon, the letter that appears to reveal the many reasons former Bloemfontein Celtic coach Steve Komphela stepped down as coach on Friday emerged, showing his deep unhappiness with the club.

Komphela in effect felt severely disrespected by the club, and his appeals for change and improvement were allegedly ignored.

His letter suggests financial problems at the popular club, and he says even his own DStv account was not kept up to date by Celtic administrators. He had to allegedly personally pay for things like fixing the club’s grass cutting machine and the cost of hiring buses.

In his letter he further complained about the poor state of the training grounds; players on strike due to nonpayment of salaries and bonuses; lack of training equipment; his own contractual needs allegedly not being met; poor communication from owners; bad hotel choices; that he had to pay certain expenses, including petrol from his own pocket; and that there was chaos around missed flights and travel arrangements.

Read the full letter below:


I have tried my utmost best to remain silent and focused on my responsibilities but I get a feeling, I’ll be failing you if I did not write you this letter.
Kindly allow me to bring to your attention a few things I have experienced since my arrival here on the 20th June 2018 which I thought we could have done better and we should:

Our training grounds are in the worst condition ever for a professional club. They are untidy and need maintenance(fields, toilets, offices, walls cracking, floors untidy, the yard, parking areas and premises extremely untidy)

We had a terrible Pre-season if any at all
We didn’t have training kit and equipment till lately.
Players had been on strike three times for a total 13 days this year because of non payment(02-07/07/2018, 01-03/08/2018, 19-21/09/2019)

Players bonuses still pending
Some staff members still owed salaries
A lot of my own personal needs and stuff agreed upon and contained in the contract have never been met and NOBODY says anything. The DSTV at my house is consistently shut down.

It is so embarrassing to me to request for basic necessities and items agreed upon before I resumed my service at the club when the club is not even bothered. I get a feeling that we are not open and honest to one another.

The worst imagination in this situation is extremely unsettling.
We were on the verge of not honoring the Maritzburg Utd fixture till we forced the players to go and play that match without having prepared for a full week.

As if that was not enough, the club has decided to sell Ndengane and let him go straight away after we had been told that he would be leaving end of the season. It is also worth noting that Gordinho is going back to Kaizer Chiefs in December and that leaves us very weak in Defence where currently we are the best in the league.

In preparation for the Sundowns match, surprisingly, we have now been moved to camp at another hotel and this hotel is far below the standard of a premier league club. No meeting room, no projector, no sound, Dining area substandard, very poor service. This has a huge psychological impact on the players. It looks so bad and unprofessional. We could not do our usual final prep of looking at the opponents profile.

Even this profiling of the opponents I pay from my own pocket to get all that information from independent ANALYSTS.

I’ve been paying from my own pocket since Chippa UTD, Golden Arrows, Orlando Pirates, Kaizer Chiefs, Black Leopards, Maritzburg Utd and recently Mamelodi Sundowns. It is painful to put so much effort and still see a lot of disregard and disrespect.

All above points are so crucial but at Bloemfontein Celtic we treat them so casual as if there’s nothing wrong. My humble request is to change how we are currently doing things, if we expect players to be professional and respecting and respectful, we need to change drastically.

Our failure to change how we see and do things, sooner than later we shall have serious problems and the team will suffer severely. We work with these players on a daily basis and their regard for the club has deteriorated to levels I had never seen in any club environment.

At the beginning I thought our players lacked respect but I’m starting to realize that we hardly show respect to them and the club. I urge all at the club to be more respecting and highly professional. We cannot go on like this.

It is such a bad reflection on us and slowly causing irreparable damage. Recently I’ve had to intervene and talk to players about being disrespectful. Our players have lost respect for us. They’ve lost trust, credibility in us.

I am in serious TROUBLE of keeping them focused. It’s just a matter of time before things go wrong. Please I beg EVERYONE, LET US DO SOMETHING because we have a unique environment and special supporters who love this team. We cannot accept abnormal as normal. We cannot allow wrongs to be treated as right. We have huge PROFESSIONAL and BUSINESS responsibilities at our different portfolios.

We have accepted wrong things and are behaving as if everything is normal and we doing NOTHING about it. We are facing great danger yet we are so oblivious of these circumstances. IT IS WRONG. IT IS DANGEROUS. WE NEED TO TO TAKE PRIDE AND ACT NOW!!!

I had hoped something happened before it was too late. Unfortunately nothing was done about my advise and did not look like anything was going to be done about the situation at the Club.


In my letter addressed to you on 03/10/2018 I stated a few concerns and warned you against a possible negative consequence as a result. Today as I write to you, what was stated in that letter is happening. All the grievances I put forward, none has been addressed instead our situation has moved from bad to worse.

On several occasions I had been forced to use my own money to address club problems and struggled to get it back:

Money for Petrol for the grass cutting machine because the fields were in bad conditions and it would affect our training.

Money for fan belt of the grass cutting machine
Money for the busses to transport players both males and females teams.

The last straw was the most recent incident that I could not comprehend was before we went to play Cape Town City.

We couldn’t train because, yet again, players went on strike, for the fourth time this season totaling 16 days, because the bonus deal we had agreed upon was not met and as a result players went on strike Thursday and Friday when we had a crucial match away on the Saturday.

We almost missed the flight to Cape Town because players said they would only go to Cape Town when the agreed amount of bonuses had been paid.

To my surprise, the money was paid on Friday so that we could travel to Cape Town. My bemuse was that, if the money was not available a day before, where all of a sudden did it come from. A sign that preparation at Celtic is not important.

On top of that, everybody received partly their bonus and I didn’t receive mine and beyond that, no one communicated to me anything, regarding the player’s’ status nor my own personal circumstance.

This to me can not be normal at all. I find it very careless, disrespectful, not courteous, unprofessional and undermining. Abnormal can never be normal.

I see no hope or possibility for change and sad as is, I could not continue to work under such conditions. It would be very disrespectful to the Celtic supporters and Coaching as a Profession.

Apart from the documented preparation problems, most of what had been agreed.

Komphela will soon start the latest chapter of his managerial career with KZN outfit Lamontville Golden Arrows.

This came a day after the Durban side announced the departure of head coach Clinton Larsen, who left after three years at the helm, and with the team in 11th position on the table, four points above the relegation zone.

Komphela had been in charge of Bloemfontein Celtic this season after having had his previous position at Kaizer Chiefs terminated a couple of months before the end of the 2017/ 18 campaign.

The 51-year-old had a very good spell at Phunya Sele Sele – despite the financial difficulties the club has been going through – and managed to steer them to seventh place at the mid-point of the season.

However, a new challenge down in Durban with a more stable club, was too much for Komphela to turn down, and after rumours of his Celtic exit emerged on Friday morning, by Friday afternoon Arrows had confirmed the arrival of the former Free State Stars, Kaizer Chiefs and Bafana Bafana defender.

Known for his elaborate and colourful way with words, the Durban outfit had a bit of fun when announcing Komphela’s arrival.

“Get your dictionaries out!! Class is in session. We can now confirm that we have appointed Steve Komphela as our new head coach. We welcome him and look forward to the remainder of the season,” the club stated on Twitter.

There has been no indication yet of the length of Komphela’s contract, or who he will work with on the technical bench.

Abafana bes’Thende’s next fixture is a home match with Maritzburg United on January 6 at the Sugar Ray Xulu Stadium.

Komphela also worked at Maritzburg previously, and also had stints with Platinum Stars, Free State Stars, Manning Rangers, Dynamos and as the Bafana Bafana caretaker coach.

– Additional reporting, ANA

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