Now coach jumps the sink­ing Swal­lows ship

CityPress - - Sport - DANIEL MOTHOWAGAE dmoth­owa­gae@city­press.co.za

Can it get any worse for Moroka Swal­lows?

Amid the club’s strained fi­nances and in­ter­nal prob­lems, coach Ian Gorowa has ap­par­ently jumped the sink­ing ship.

City Press has gath­ered that Gorowa did not re­turn to the club this week since the team’s 4-1 thrash­ing at the hands of fel­low rel­e­ga­tion can­di­dates African War­riors in Phutha­ditjhaba, Free State, last Satur­day.

The loss was Swal­lows’ sixth straight and the 13th of the cam­paign in 20 games. They re­main at the foot of the 16team NFD ta­ble.

Gorowa’s sud­den de­par­ture could not have come at a worse time for the Birds, who have 10 games left to res­cue their sta­tus in the Na­tional First Divi­sion (NFD).

Sources at the club told City Press that Swal­lows boss Leon Prins rolled up his sleeves this week to help as­sis­tant coach Good­man Maz­ibuko and goal­keeper trainer Greg Etafia to pre­pare the team for to­day’s fix­ture against Mi­lano United at the Dob­sonville Sta­dium.

Gorowa promised to re­spond to City Press about his sit­u­a­tion but failed to do so, de­spite nu­mer­ous phone calls and mes­sages.

Prins said his pres­ence at the team’s train­ing should not be in­ter­preted as in­ter­fer­ing be­cause he was there “to see for my­self on what was work­ing and what wasn’t”.

He re­fused to com­ment on the coach­ing sit­u­a­tion, apart from say­ing there were some strate­gic move­ments within the club. “The coach will be in­volved,” said Prins with­out elab­o­rat­ing.

As for his in­volve­ment at the club de­spite re­sign­ing from his po­si­tion as chief ex­ec­u­tive in Novem­ber last year, Prins said: “I ten­dered my res­ig­na­tion, but I’ve been very much in­volved in the back­ground. I re­in­stated my­self and I don’t care who says what be­cause I have had rep­u­ta­tional dam­age, as ev­ery­body has blamed me in the 16 years I’ve been the CEO of this club. If it doesn’t work, it doesn’t work, but I am here to save this club.”

Prins ad­mit­ted that Swal­lows were faced with a moun­tain of chal­lenges.

“It is very dif­fi­cult from be­ing a [Premier League] team to cam­paign­ing in the NFD. We don’t have the kind of money we used to have [while in the Absa Premier­ship].

Some play­ers told City Press they were still owed about three months’ salaries and al­leged that there was no di­rec­tion at the club.

“We have largely paid full salaries last month [in Jan­uary]. We still owe a lit­tle bit,” ad­mit­ted Prins.

On the field, there are 30 points to play for in the re­main­ing matches and the Birds must start win­ning, as they teeter on the brink of an­other slip to the lower ranks since their rel­e­ga­tion from the premier divi­sion last sea­son.

Swal­lows, who will be with­out sus­pended goal­keeper Aubrey Mathibe to­day, should at least make use of home ad­van­tage, since they have reg­is­tered their only two league vic­to­ries of the sea­son in Soweto.

To­day they meet a Mi­lano side that gave them a hot klap (5-0) in Cape Town last month.

In an NFD fix­ture pit­ting a mid-ta­ble side against one nearer the bot­tom of the pile, strug­gling Vasco Da Gama host AmaZulu at Parow Park in Cape Town.

Both matches kick off at 3.30pm.

PHOTO: SA­MUEL SHIVAMBU / BACKPAGEPIX

AWOL? Swal­lows coach Ian Gorowa is said to have stepped down

PHOTO: CHRIS RICCO / BACKPAGEPIX

RE­TURN­ING BOSS Moroka Swal­lows CEO Leon Prins

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