Swallows are finding their wings
For the first time in a while, Moroka Swallows stand a chance of flying out of the National First Division relegation zone to safety.
For this to happen, Swallows will have to beat their former coach, Zeca Marques, while condemning his side, Santos, to the drop zone.
The resurgent Dube Birds go to Cape Town on the back of three consecutive victories that saw them arrest their declining standards – setting them on course to avoid the drop.
After toying at the bottom of the log since January, the 15th-placed Swallows have found their wings lately, having gone six games without a loss. The last time they lost was at the end of February, to African Warriors. Survival is a reality for the Dube Birds, who, not long ago, seemed destined for the drop to the ABC Motsepe League. But the arrival of former coach Gordon Igesund has given them wings. Igesund has been helping behind the scenes.
For Swallows to guarantee safety, they will have to win their remaining three games as it would mean overtaking Santos, who were in the 13th spot on 25 points before this weekend’s round of matches.
Swallows, who are on 23 points, still have unfinished business with Santos after their first-round clash, scheduled to have taken place in October, did not happen. The People’s Team was eventually awarded the three points after the Birds failed to organise security personnel at their home venue, Dobsonville Stadium.
With their worst goal difference after conceding the most goals – 47 – in the league, only points will see them through.
They host Thanda Royal Zulu next Sunday, before wrapping up the season with an away game against Witbank Spurs.
Marques admitted that things were not going too well for his team, but added that he knew what Santos’ shortcomings were and would rectify them.
“We should have done better than we did in the past few games. We put ourselves in this position and we need to get out of it, starting with the game against Swallows,” said Marques.
He said he knew what to do going forward. “Desperate times call for desperate measures. We have to change not only our attitude, but also how we do things on the field. We have been let down by silly mistakes that we could have avoided.”
He said he knew Swallows were more desperate for points, but was quick to add that Santos needed them too.
“Every point counts, and we will treat this game like a cup final. I know that they [Swallows] have been doing well recently and getting results, but we need to stop them to avoid the drop.”
Swallows caretaker coach Goodman Mazibuko said they knew what was at stake and hoped to continue with their good form.
The former Swallows midfielder conceded that it had not been easy, but said that they were happy with their recent performances.
“Credit should go to everyone for putting in an effort. We are in this together and hopeful of survival. We will fight to the end.”
Every point counts ... I know that Swallows have been doing well recently and getting results, but we need to stop them to avoid the drop
UNHAPPY Zeca Marques is concerned about his team’s poor performance
CONFIDENT Goodman Mazibuko is positive about avoiding the drop