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Swallows Looking For Cup Glory 31/10/03
The fact that Silver Stars made a winning start in their first-ever Coca-Cola Cup match should come as no surprise to South African soccer fans.

Although the team from the North are yet to register their first victory in the league, they are reasonably-seasoned cup campaigners, having last year, while in the First Division, knocked out Orlando Pirates in a knockout competition.

Thus when Owen Da Gama's side took on Supersport United in the first round of South Africa's premier knockout competition - the Coca-Cola Cup - they certainly did not consider themselves as underdogs.

Far from it - they took the game to their experienced opponents and two goals in the first half were a just reward for their efforts. As nothing changed in the second half, Stars were in the hat when the draw for the quarterfinals of the Coca-Cola Cup was made.
The next team standing between themselves and cup glory is Moroka Swallows - a club who themselves have plenty to prove.

Year in, year out, The Birds keep flying high. Challenging for honours in the league, going on lengthy cup runs and generally being accepted as one of the best teams in South Africa.

At the end of the season, however, there is one thing that stands out: The trophy cabinet remains closed as no silverware is added. This is something that has irked Swallows' fans and officials and it something the team desperately wants to change.

Swallows coach Gavin Hunt, who saw his side perform heroically in the first round to send Sundowns crashing out of the Coca-Cola Cup, is aware of the difficult task facing his side.

He said he was expecting a tough game. "The long distance we have to travel as well as the heat factor always makes playing against Silver Stars a difficult fixture.
"Stars play some good football, but we know what to expect, especially after our recent league victory over them in Polokwane."
The Birds beat Stars by a single goal in a league encounter earlier this month, but they had to work hard to do so. Hunt was disappointed with his side after the match.
"Yes, they had their chances, but so did we. I feel that the team was not on top of their game on the day and I will be expecting a much better performance next time around."

One of their fans compared the side to a wounded lion.

"The time has come for the Beautiful Birds to reclaim their glory days. And, people will start to notice that Swallows is like a wounded lion and whoever wants to invade us will face the baptism of fire.

"We will enter the Polokwane territory at 6pm in the afternoon and at 8pm the grass will be finished and the whole pitch will turn dusty like a Sahara desert. I am looking forward to that game hoping our boys will be
injury free. Please Ngobeni do what you did against Sundowns," a fan, Thisha wrote.
Whether or not Thisha or the Stars fans are cheering in the end remains to be seen, though one thing is certain: South African soccer fans can once again look forward to a game with thrill and excitement in the Coca-Cola

Meanwhile, the coffers of the Coca-Cola Goals for Charity recipients, Hope Worldwide and Starfish, are still empty - will one of the teams score three or more goals to boost their bank balances?

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