The Free State Department of Sports and recreation in conjunction with Free State Sports Science Institute have injected R2 million towards funding two Free State Premiership clubs.
Free State Stars and Bloemfontein Celtic were the recipients of the substantial cash injection at the gala dinner that was held at the High Performance Centre Sports Science Institute of South Africa in Bloemfontein on Monday evening.
Mathabo Leeto and Ace Magashule, the MEC of Sports and Premier of the Free State respectively revealed the source of the funding backed the struggling Premiership sides for survival this season – while revealing a link with super agent Jorge Mendes, who represents Cristiano Ronaldo.
With lack of sponsorship for the Bloemfontein sides, the pair mentioned their desire to increase their resources in a bid to unearth local talent in the province.
Mathabo Leeto (MEC for Sports)
“We as the department of sports in the Free State saw a need to support our very own PSL teams in the province by injecting money into their clubs, as part of giving back and to help the club sustainability as they are going through a very rough patch.
“I must say we are very jealous of the two teams they bring tourism within the province. Some of the money injected will help the club to unearth talent within the province.
“Yes the teams are going through the rough patch but we are confident that they will remain in the PSL comes next season. They need to focus, work harder and everything will be okay.”
Ace Magashule (Premier)
“These are the two teams that markets our province throughout the country the other one carries the province name and the other team carries the capital city of the province.
“We saw a need to give funds to them as the other teams that are competing against are better resourced, but we will make sure as the province that we help our very own teams – that they are able to compete with the best in the country financially. And we will knock in the business sectors and make sure that Free State Stars gets sponsorship.
“We have gone as far as Portugal to make a partnership with one of the best team in that country to help the two teams with their development,” he added. “The province has a good relationship with Jorge Mendes who is Cristiano Ronaldo’s agent is also willing to come on board and help the two clubs.
“We will further make sure that we make transport arrangements for both clubs supporters to go watch their respective teams when they play. The supporters play an important role in the success of the team and we need to take care of them.
“I am optimistic that none of these two clubs will be relegated, they are too good to be relegated.”