Lerato Manzini - Fact File

Manzini Staying Put At Celtic To Grow

Lerato Manzini, who was Bloemfontein Celtic`s top goal scorer last season with eight goals, recently returned from injury. But he admits he should have scored more goals last season. Can he repeat the exploits of the previous campaign? How did he react to the news of Clinton Larsen`s departure from the club? What about a report of unhappiness under Ernst Midderndorp?

Personal Information
Full Name:  Lerato David Manzini
Date Of Birth: 14 August 1991
Place of birth: Welkom, Free State
Nickname: Lovers

Position: Striker
Jersey no: 25

Current Club: Bloemfontein Celtic
Harmony Sport Academy
Harmony FC (amateur)
Blackburn Rovers Honours: 
2012 Telkom Knockout winner (with Celtic)

Lerato, Lennox Bacela moved to Orlando Pirates at the beginning of the season. Any pressure on you? 
Bacela was one of the strikers that we relied on for goals last season and he was also a senior player, but you know, life must go on. The pressure is not only on me but on all the strikers we have in the team because everyone is playing well. But all in all, we don`t have any pressure in terms of who left or who is here. The only pressure that we have is to score goals for the team.

It hasn`t been the best of starts to the season for the team as you find yourself lying in the bottom half of the table.
You are right, we have not started the season well and we seem to concede a lot of goals. We also not scoring enough, but as a team and as players we sat down and discussed the matter. We also have a new coach who is settling in well and teaching us his style of football. I think now everything is coming together and everybody can see that there is a lot of improvement in our team.

How did you feel when the man who handed you your debut in the professional ranks (Clinton Larsen) left the club?
When Larsen left us, nobody saw it coming because he was always happy, always there for the team, always motivating the youngsters, and always supporting everyone in the team. It came as a shock to all of us. I remember I was sleeping and then when I woke up, I heard on the radio that coach Larsen had parted ways with Celtic, it was a big shock, but you know, life goes on. This is football, people come and go. There is nothing you can do about it. We have a new coach now and we are happy. I think the difference between Larsen and Midderndorp is that Larsen is still a young coach and you can see from the way Midderndorp does things that he`s been in the business for many years. I think we are going to learn a lot from him. Every day we are doing new tricks and doing passing drills. You can see his coached overseas. Midderndorp is the kind of coach who wants everyone to go onto the field and enjoy themselves. He wants us to play a passing game and that`s why we are doing so many passing drills at training. What he emphasizes is that we must pass the ball around and move as a team when we go to the right and we must move as a team when we go to the left.

Celtic are known to be a selling club, so it came as good news to a lot of the club`s fans when they heard that you recently extended your contract for a further two years. 
I was honoured, you know. When a club renews your contract, it means a lot. Football is a very short career and I felt blessed to be given a new contract by the club because it shows that they recognise my hard work. I am happy and I think the supporters are happy because they want to see the players grow before we take bigger steps in life. I will keep on working hard for the team so that they can reward me again in the future. I must tell you one thing though, being a Celtic player is a special thing. Whether we play at home or away, our supporters are there to support us and lift us up. When we as strikers are missing chances, they are the ones singing for us and motivating us. Playing for Celtic is such a great feeling and a real blessing.

What impact has the team`s move to the Free State Stadium had on the crowd attendance figures? There`s a big difference. Most of our supporters stay in the location, so there is the distance factor. It`s difficult for them to come to the stadium, especially when we are playing at night. The club is working on the renovations at Seisa Ramabodu Stadium and I think it will be available sometime next year.

Bacela believes that you need to stay at the club for two more seasons before thinking of making a bigger move. What do you think?
I think he`s right. This is my second full season. I wasn`t playing regularly the season before last and before making the move. Everything will happen in good time.

Great, thank you for your time.
Thanks man.