Johannesburg - The next 10 days will be significant for Bloemfontein Celtic coach Steve Komphela and his captain Patrick Tignyemb.
Celtic will face Soweto powerhouses Orlando Pirates and Kaizer Chiefs back to back in the Absa Premiership, beginning with a home clash against the Buccaneers at the Dr Petrus Molemela Stadium in Bloemfontein today.
The fixture against Amakhosi on August 29 is probably the one many people are looking forward to as the occasion will mark the first time Komphela faces his former club since his unsavoury exit four months ago.
The game will also mark the 300th top-flight appearance for Tignyemb.
“The two games are a big motivation for me because, if I play in both matches, the Chiefs game will be number 300 for me,” said Tignyemb, who joined Celtic in July 2008.
“The goalkeeper position is not easy and it’s even more difficult if you are a foreigner. I can only thank God for such a big achievement.”
Tignyemb has so far featured in Celtic’s opening two Premiership matches, a continuation from last season, where he played every minute in Phunya Sele Sele’s 30 league games.
The Cameroon-born shot-stopper also shared the secret behind his team’s sudden turnaround under Komphela’s guidance, especially when many doubted his coaching abilities following three trophy-less seasons at Chiefs.
“The coach has been telling us to ‘play like you are playing friendlies’,” revealed the 33-year-old.
“Everyone knows about our problems, but coach Steve has been a big motivator. So much [so that] every Celtic player wants to play for him,” he added, in reference to the well-documented financial problems that have beset the Free State side.
While Komphela is most certainly going to be the focal point in the fixture against Chiefs at FNB Stadium, a good performance by Tignyemb would also be a highlight.
In their two league runs, Celtic claimed maximum points with 2-0 scorelines against Golden Arrows and Chippa United.
This afternoon, they face a Pirates side that has endured an indifferent start and are fresh from a 1-0 defeat to early pacesetters Bidvest Wits.
Wits and Celtic are the only two sides with a 100% record from their opening fixtures.
The Clever Boys accumulated one of their three wins against Chiefs, whom they beat 3-1 away prior to their triumph in Orlando in the middle of the week.
If Wits could do it, Celtic may well fancy their chances of doing the double over the hobbling Soweto giants, warned Tignyemb.
Meanwhile, AmaZulu will host Free State Stars at the King Zwelithini Stadium in the other Premiership fixture today.
Both matches kick off at 15:00.