Cape Town – Ajax Cape Town may be on the verge of a shock return to the Absa Premiership after being strongly linked with the purchase of Bloemfontein Celtic’s top-flight status.
The Urban Warriors narrowly missed out on a promotion playoff spot by a solitary goal after finishing fourth in the National First Division (NFD – behind third-placed Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivhandila (TTM FC) on goal difference.
The Cape side seem determined to return to the top-flight and are being linked to the purchase of Siwelele’s status with the Free State side finishing the 2018/19 season in eighth spot.
Celtic remarkably had a positive campaign despite numerous behind-the-scenes troubles with players threatening to down tools over unpaid wages.
The financially troubled Bloemfontein side has long been seeking to sell the club with owner Max Tshabalala shopping for potential buyers after falling into financial difficulty as well as trouble with the taxman.
Former Kaizer Chiefs mentor Steve Komphela resigned from the helm, pointing to financial constraints while revealing in a stinging resignation letter the chaotic circumstances he had to endure leading to his abrupt resignation.
The players as recently as last week threatened to again go on strike after the club’s support staff were not paid for a number of months – leading to Cameroonian goalkeeper Patrick Tignyemb being released after 11 years at the club.
A PSL club’s status can sell for anywhere between R40-R60 million with an NFD franchise going for around R12-R15 million.
In July 2017, AmaZulu returned to the Absa Premiership after acquiring then newly-promoted side Thanda Royal Zulu’s status for a rumoured R42 million.
NFD side Milano United around the same time became TTM when they were sold to a Limpopo-based consortium for a believed R13 million.
Ajax could look to swap places with Celtic and pay the monetary difference to Tshabalala which would also ease the financial strain of running a club in the financially demanding PSL.
The official Ajax Cape Town Twitter account has in the past few days posted a series of tweets hinting to the potential purchase, with a deal likely to be announced as soon as this week.
Ajax CT CEO Ari Efstathiou returns on Monday morning from Amsterdam after holding a series of meetings with the top brass to discuss a potential purchase as well as other structural changes within the club.
Ajax Cape Town declined to comment when contacted by Sport24.