Phalane credits Bloem Celtic's form to team discipline on and off the pitch
Bloemfontein Celtic midfielder Lantshene Phalane has credited their impressive start to the season to a unity among the players that was largely absent last season.
Siwelele's stock has improved this season and not only have they managed to climb to fourth place on the table after nine matches under new coach Veselin Jelušic‚ they have also reached the semifinals of the Telkom Knockout.
They have a semifinal date against Polokwane City at the Peter Mokaba Stadium in Polokwane on Sunday.
“This season we are more united as a team and we don’t have players who are doing silly things off the field‚" Phalane said.
"If there are people who are doing wrong things on or off the field‚ we call them to order because they can undermine what we are trying to do.
"We encourage each other on and off the field and what I have seen so far is different from other seasons.
"Coach Jelušic is always calling us individually to talk to us to correct individual mistakes.
"What I have realized is that the things that he is saying are true.”
Phalane did not feature much for Celtic last season due to a variety of reasons but he has started this campaign on a satisfactory note. He has been a regular starter for them in the heart of the midfield.
“Last season I did not get enough game time and as a result I struggled to play consistently in the first eleven‚" he said.
"When last season ended‚ I reflected and decided to come back with a different mentality and what you are seeing this season is a new Lantshene.
"I am working very hard and I want to continue working hard for the benefit of the team‚” he said‚ adding that they want to reward their fans with the Telkom Knockout after their patience with the team.
“As a team‚ we want to get something out of the season and reward our supporters who are slowly but surely coming back to the stadium to support us.
"Polokwane City say they want to progress to the next round of the competition but we also have the same ambitions.
"That makes it interesting and to win we have to do the job on the field‚” he said.
Fellow midfielder Kabelo Mahlasela said reaching the final would be a step closer towards realising his dream of winning his first cup competition in the professional ranks.
“I have never won a cup competition before in my career‚" said Mahlasela.
"I am grateful for this opportunity and I am hopeful because the mood in the camp is very good.
"We are preparing very hard and we will be ready for the match.
"This cup competition means a lot to us and we want to bring something back home to the supporters who have been with us through thick and thin.”