Users of the Moroka Swallows chat forum have several issues they feel strongly about and which they have raised with Swallows MD, Leon Prins. Read on for his response...
Question 1: May we please get clarity on what is happening with Pitso Lekone, Rufus Mokoti, Peter Rabolele and Albert Kometsi. Sometimes we see them playing with the reserve team, have they been demoted, injured or are they currently lacking match fitness? The reason we ask is because most supporters see them as quality first team material.
L.P: With regard to players such as those mentioned, I feel it's important to state that it would be unfair of me to discuss the strengths and/or weaknesses of any player publicly.
All players are part of our family and important members of the squad. The fact that we have more depth in the squad, effectively keeping these guys on the bench, is good for Swallows. If you look at our current results, 3rd of the log, 2nd semi-final of the second cup competition of the year. these guys must continue to fight for a place in the starting line-up.
Management are often criticised for letting a number of the 'old' Swallows players go. Well, we were fighting relegation in those days. I believe the team is much improved, although not quite where we want it yet. Believe me, nobody wants to win more than we do.
Question 2: Has the Lungisani Ndlela's issue been finally settled to the mutual benefit of both parties? In other words, what is the status with regard to the re-negotiation of his contract? Not the juicy details, but an overview which will leave us with a clear understanding.
The Lungisani Ndlela issue created a very unfair and unfortunate impression. Amongst players in the PSL, Swallows is seen as probably the best club to play for. This has been a major selling point in assembling a squad.
When Ndlela came about as a possible signing, it was after we had assembled our squad and our budget had been allocated. Also, he was a complete unknown.
As he started well we made him a number of offers. The goalposts kept being moved and we just couldn't come right with the boy. Very unfairly also, his bonuses were never really taken into account. Nevertheless, after our last lucrative offer was also rejected, we have to assume that he will leave at the end of the season. Possibly things will change, but not likely.
In the meantime he plays for us, we play to his strengths and we do as well as we can. We have plans and targets for the new season. A major priority is to beef up our strike force.
Question 3: We saw Mark Williams playing for the reserve team last week. What is his position/status within the club?
L.P: Mark Williams was having a run with the reserves more for fun than anything else. He is obviously too old and he will not be signed up.
Question 4: What is the latest with regard to the Swallows majority owner who is based in Germany? Is he still involved with club matters or has he delegated everything to the local management? Does he ever attend club meetings? The latest information we, as supporters, have is that he has been checking club progress on the Internet only without much direct
contact with club officials here in SA.
L.P: The German backer of the club has put substantial muscle into the Club. He is in constant contact with management and takes a very keen interest in the progress of the Club.
This should be obvious to anyone as he has many millions invested in the Club and he has been largely responsible for the Club's turnaround.
He, together with management is committed to the long term growth of Swallows and we are currently investigating avenues to widen the sphere of influence into the Club.
Question 5: Most supporters have been very unhappy with the way in which our PRO, Mr Xulu, has been interacting with them and also the performance of his duties in general (without prejudice). Without trying to compare him with other PROs from other clubs, supporters still feel let down by the manner in which he carries out his duties. He hardly holds meetings with supporters or even just meet them during match days (he constantly avoids them).
What is management doing to improve this situation, either by sending him on training courses or just redeploy him to another position within the club as we know that he is a very committed Swallows person. At the end of the day something must be done about this department of our club, it is lacking big time.
L.P: You are right to say Sipho is vert committed to Swallows and a lot of the good work he does goes unsung. For example, the amount of social responsibility work that the Club does in quite phenomenal, we just don't publicize it enough.
But we all agree, this department will be substantially beefed up for the new season and all staff will receive outside training courses, etc.
Our policy this far has been to put the budget into the team. We still believe that this is correct, but we wish to take the team a step up, we need to market ourselves better. We will target the youth, through schools.
Question 6: Our development structures do not seem to be producing the expected goods because we hardly see any players coming through the ranks to join the senior team. Are we lacking resources to properly nurture our youngsters in house or what is the problem? We read about them doing well on the website, but nothing when it comes to them being promoted to the first team. Please clarify.
L.P: Our development structures are performing very nicely. Four players are part of the first team that came from our youth side this year. They are not in the starting line-up, but play in friendlies and are being groomed. Two or three of them are showing great potential and should break into the starting line up before long.
Question 7: With the closure of Rand Stadium for a an anticipated period of about four to five months for renovations, where are we likely to play our home games until then? Or will it depend on the opposition? If for example, we play the so-called big teams, then will those games be taken to an 'appropriate venue' (Ellis park, FNB, etc) even though these might be home grounds of our opponents?
Fly high Birds fly high!!!
L.P: In terms of the Rand Stadium, we are obviously putting pressure on council to get it sorted out as quickly as possible. We are very aware of our Home Ground advantage at the Rand Stadium.
I hope this answers some of your questions.