BLOEMFONTEIN Celtic coach Veselin Jelusic says there is no time for his players to sulk over their Telkom Knockout final defeat to Bidvest Wits on Saturday.
Vincent Pule’s solitary goal in the 90th minutes broke the hearts of Phunya Sele Sele fans who had painted Princess Magogo Stadium in green and white on the night.
Jelusic admitted that it was painful to lose in the manner they did, but said they would need to dust themselves off and get ready for yet another trip to Durban on Wednesday (7.30pm).
Celtic visit AmaZulu for an Absa Premiership clash at King Zwelithini Stadium in Umlazi midweek.
Said Jelusic: “Losing a game in the first minute or with a last-minute goal will always be painful.
“Yes, we are all heartbroken. Players have feelings and they are feeling this defeat. But they must try to forget about it as soon as possible. On Wednesday we have another big match against a strong AmaZulu team and players will need to be ready.”
However, the Serbian coach admitted it will be difficult for him to get his players motivated ahead of the Usuthu match.
This will be an interesting clash, considering that only two points separate the teams. Celtic occupy eighth position with 16 points from 11 matches, while AmaZulu are two behind them, with 14 points from the same number of matches.
Explained Jelusic: “This is a psychological task but I think our players are mature enough to overcome the setback. It won’t be easy but we will work on them to ensure they forget the defeat as soon as possible. AmaZulu are a good team and my players need to approach the match with clear minds. I hope they will be over the Telkom loss by the time the match rolls round.”
Jelusic also explained the TKO absence of want-away midfielder Kabelo Mahlasela. The 26-year-old has been strongly linked with a move to Kaizer Chiefs and has yet to sign the contract extension the club has offered him.
Said Jelusic: “Kabelo is injured. His absence is only because we didn’t want to risk him and make his injury worse. We don’t want him to be sidelined for a longer period. We have given him more time to recover properly.”