Johannesburg - Things seem to be falling apart at Bloemfontein Celtic.
The club has now lost three key players in this transfer window period, which raises questions about their ambitions, particularly after narrowly surviving the chop in the ultimate game last season.
The last time the club lost influential players, they went on a downward spiral and did not recover after losing the likes of Gabadinho Mhango, Lerato Lamola, Wayde Jooste, Lerato Manzini, Vuyani Ntanga and Musa Bilankulu.
They have also lost Thapelo Morena to Mamelodi Sundowns.
Now they have parted ways with Lyle Lakay, Dumisani Zuma and Musa Nyatama, who all played key roles in their survival last season.
Zuma and Nyatama were this week unveiled as Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates players, respectively, while Lakay has been with Cape Town City for a few weeks now.
Celtic were the lowest-scoring team last season with a mere 16 goals and, at the rate they are going, there are already question marks about their prospects of surviving next season.
This was a week of reunions in football circles after Enocent Mkhabela and Lehlogonolo Masalesa went back to Platinum Stars, who have also made Luvolwethu Mpeta’s loan move from SuperSport United a permanent stay.
After re-signing with his first professional club, Masalesa proudly declared that he was “back as a man after leaving as a youngster”.
The lanky midfielder got his professional debut at Stars, where he featured only once, before he was shipped to Bidvest Wits and, ultimately, Pirates.
But he is back where it all started, this time with more experience after his short stint at Greek side AE Larissa.
Mkhabela rejoins from Chiefs, who had loaned him to Stars last season, but has now made it a permanent stay.
Stars are on the look out for a striker to replace Bongi Ntuli, who was on loan from Sundowns.
A top Stars official told City Press they wanted to make Ntuli’s stay a permanent one and would not entertain more loan deals.
“We can’t have him for three seasons on loan and, if we can’t get him on our books, we will look elsewhere,” said the official.
Dikwena are eyeing a Zambian striker as a possible replacement.
SuperSport United have finally flexed their muscles on the market with the capture of Zimbabwean striker Prince Dube and Siyabonga Nhlapo from Wits.
Nhlapo comes in as Michael Boxall’s replacement after the All Whites’ defender’s move to the US.
The two are Eric Tinkler’s first signees since his much-publicised move from Cape Town City.
He also welcomes Dové Womé and Thato Mokeke back from their loan moves.
United have sent out goalkeeper Boalefa Pule on a season-long loan to AmaZulu.
Former United midfielder David Mathebula has found a new home in Baroka FC after impressing during a two-week trial.
Baroka have been busy in the market with no less than five players arriving at the Limpopo side.
Last week, they announced that Abdi Banda, Lucky Nguzana, Brian Mwila and Talent Chawapiwa had signed for the club.
Surprisingly, another Limpopo club, Polokwane City, have also released some players.
A few players have already left in search of new employers.
Sipho Jembula has been unveiled as a Celtic player while Tshepo Tema, Rendani Ndou and Randy Ngobe’s futures still hang in the balance.
Two other former Baroka players – Jacky Motshegwa and Victor Letsoalo – have surfaced at Celtic.