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Sunday Times STLive By Bareng-Batho Kortjaas, 2012-04-08

Angered Celtic supporters vote with their feet


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Jimmy Augousti needs to have his head read.

Or better still, he should stop smoking his socks because they seem to have mind-altering effects.

At face value the Bloemfontein Celtic boss appears an affable fellow. How he runs his team is usually no business of mine as I am not a shareholder of Celtic. But as a stakeholder in football as a soccer journalist, it appears Augousti has developed an uncanny ability to create a not-so-august mood around his team.

When one gets told by several sources that the team travel long distances by bus you begin to understand why their fortunes have taken a turn for the worse this season.

Celtic, insiders inform me, were cooped up in a coach for a trip to Port Elizabeth and were still expected to perform at their optimum.

The same happened for the Kaizer Chiefs game in Polokwane, where they arrived just before it was time for warm-up and were duly walloped 2-0.

Surely I am not the only one who has noticed that the volume has gone down among Celtic fans. They despise the disdain with which their heroes are being treated and are voting with their feet. The sight of concrete stands in Bloemfontein has replaced the sea of green and white bodies dancing, chanting, singing and clapping.

What has caused supporters to turn their backs on their beloved club, the pride of Bloem? The shrinking support base can be interpreted as a statement that fans won't associate with someone who behaves like a bull in a china shop.

That Celtic club masseur Simon Hlakane decided to drop assault charges against Augousti in February does not necessarily put him in the clear.

"I hope the club will find a solution to curb this kind of behaviour from Jimmy because what happened to me can happen to any player or club official," Hlakane said at the time.

One would have hoped that the PSL would condemn Augousti's conduct, especially because the man is allegedly becoming a serial offender.

Former coach Owen da Gama also alluded to Augoustihandling him roughly before his departure from the club.

It is the silence of PSL head of legal affairs Ntsietso Mofokeng that causes my disquiet. The silence of the PSL board of governors can be construed as condoning behaviour that is a throwback to the Stone Age. Many moons ago Paul Dolezar alleged his jaw had met the fist of the son of a former Mamelodi Sundowns employer.

The next time the Bloem bully feels like spoiling for a fight I suggest he picks on somebody his own size. Someone like Screamer Tshabalala, who is known to pack a mean punch.