A warm welcome to all our Swallows supporters!! I'm writing this with only six games left, and I wish that I could be writing this at the end of the season so that we can see how this incredible campaign will end. And what a season it has been so far...
By Gary McNab
First of all I would like to say that it has been my privilege to be Captain of one of the oldest and distinguish soccer clubs in this country.
At the end of last year we saw Victor Bondarenko leaving us and being replaced by Gavin Hunt, who won Coach of the Year from the previous season with Black Leopards.
As with every season there are player personal changes. The players who left us in the off season were former skippe, Peter Matshitse, Wendell Robinson, Warren du Pont, Ace Ntsoelengoe, Dingaan Masanabo, Naughty Mokoena, Junaid Hartley, Sisa Nombe, Fumo, Salie and Mgaga.
The new players that joined the Swallows nest are Adam Ndlovu (from Zimbabwe), Jemaine Christian, Francois Adams, Warren Lewis (from Orlando Pirates), Jabulani Mendu (from Amazulu), Japhet Zwane (from Manning Rangers), Gavin Manuels, Greg Etafia (from Nigeria), Brendan Wardle (from Santos), Conrad Hendricks (from Black Leopards), Augustine Mabuya (from Black Leopards) Rafique Hassim, Sibongakonke Ndlovu (from Sundowns) and Papi Mbele (from Sundowns).
All these players have fitted in and settled down into the Swallows family!
Pre-season started with a trip to Plettenburg Bay, and it was no holiday. We worked hard with training sessions once and twice-a-day with a couple of friendly games, which gave all the players and management the opportunity to get to know each other.
We were there for eight days and got back just in time for the Charity Spectacular and the start of the new season. Our season got off to a rough start with a new team of players and a new coach who was trying to instil his own tactics and strategy to the team.
With indifferent results against Orlando Pirates and Cosmos, the fighting spirit in the team would finally show when we went to Venda and beat Black Leopards 3-1.
But in my opinion the turning point in our season was when we travelled to Durban and played against Manning Rangers. At half time we were down 3-0 and managed to fight back and draw the game 3-3! With one or two slip-ups, especially against Wit University, we slowly made our way up the league table.
At the beginning of December we were lying in eighth place and started our unbeaten run that lasted for two months, gaining victory over teams like Super Sport United, Hellenic, Orlando Pirates, Golden Arrows and Dynamos.
The run came to an end in February when we lost to Kaiser Chiefs, but we were still on top of the league.
March had its up and downs. We beat Sundowns and drew with Bush Bucks and Ajax. Currently we are lying in third place, only a couple points off the league leaders. Our last six matches of the season will be tough. We still need to play against teams like, Wits University, Kaiser Chiefs, Jomo Cosmos, Santos, Golden Arrows and Dynamos. All the players are feeling positive for the next game and believe we can go all the way and win the league. Time will tell...
With us doing so well in the top-flight, we are very disappointed about our Cup matches this season. Firstly, the Coca Cola Cup when we lost to Kaiser Chiefs 1-0. It was an exciting game with end-to-end chances but at the end of the day we didn't take ours and they scored that lucky goal. We were knocked out in the first round!
Our second and most recent knockout exit, was in the ABSA Cup. We had a difficult and tricky trip to Thohoyandou. The weather conditions were unbearable with temperatures reaching as high as 37 degrees. We didn't play well and lost 3-0. Things would have been different if we had converted some of our early chances, but we didn't.
Everyone was very upset and disappointed.
With the transfer window open in the month of February, management strengthened our squad by enquiring new signings. These include; Edzai Kasinauyo, Kerryn Jordan, Japie Motale, Arthur Bartman and Alois Ngwerume. Unfortunately a couple of our players left us, Japhet Zwane, who went to Russia, and Rafique Hassim.
Moroka Swallows players and management believe that it is our responsibility to give back to the community. We are involved with organisations such as Men Against Women and Child Abuse, The Teddy Bear Clinic and visiting schools and orphanages.
I would like to thank Total for their hard work sponsorship and everything they do for us. Birchwood Executive Hotel for our accommodation and for looking after us.
Last but certainly not least is to you, our faithful supporters. Thank you for your positive encouragement and loyal following.
And on a personal note, I would like to thank our coach, Gavin Hunt, management and my fellow teammates for your brilliant support!