Swal­lows are find­ing their wings

CityPress - - Sport - TI­MOTHY MOLOBI ti­mothy@city­press.co.za

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

PHOTO: ASH­LEY VLOTMAN / GALLO IM­AGES

UN­HAPPY Zeca Mar­ques is con­cerned about his team’s poor per­for­mance

PHOTO: SA­MUEL SHIVAMBU / BACKPAGEPIX

CON­FI­DENT Good­man Maz­ibuko is pos­i­tive about avoid­ing the drop

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