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Birds Fans Must Be Patient 15/07/03
Top South African soccer columnist Lashias Ncube is a guest writer on Morokaswallows.co.za and asks fans of the Birds to be patient as the team build for the new season. The club are on the right track, he says......

One swallow does not make a summer - goes the old adage. Moroka Swallows fans will excuse the pun.

After last season's unqualified success, the Swallows revival appears to be well and truly on course. But that's all it is - a revival and it is in the best interest of process of that process for the fans and club bosses to exercise cautious optimism.

South African fans have got a reputation as very demanding and hard to please, and since the Swallows faithful are only a microcosm of that set, there is no reason to believe they are any different.

A fourth place finish last season was a remarkable achievement for a Swallows side that hitherto had lied dormant and limped from crisis to crisis.

While it is only natural for Swallows fans to expect their team to do one better in the coming campaign, those expectations must be balanced with the reality that the task of restoring the Birds to their former glory cannot accomplished over a season or two.

Thus there is need for perspective and patience. The Birds fans should be made to understand that they cannot expect or demand every trophy on offer, nor should a top five finish be considered a divine right from now on.

The appointment of Gavin Hunt as coach was a masterstroke and there is no doubt that it was the catalyst to the revival. The challenge now for Hunt is to keep the momentum going and build on the wonderful foundation he laid last season.

To do that the Swallows hierarchy will have to give him the space and support to implement his vision, and it is clear he has got one.

Swallows' off-season transfer activity suggests the club is ambitious, and that they are prepared to back Hunt in the transfer market as he goes about the task of turning his fledglings into a competitive unit.

That is the kind of support a coach could ever hope for. Swallows may not have the financial clout of clubs like Orlando Pirates and Kaizer Chiefs, and will probably not be able to compete for the signatures of the best players in the league, but one can never underestimate the Hunt factor.

The prospect of working with a coach of Hunt's calibre is one that every soccer player will find appealing and should work to Swallows' advantage in the transfer market.

There is also the danger that as Swallows continue to play well, their players will put themselves in the shop-window and coveting clubs will come try to prise them away.

Jabu Mendu is a prime example. But while his departure is a blow, credit must be given to the club as they have brought in players who are more than capable of offsetting the loss of a player, who was truly inspirational.

Rufus Makoti, George Hummell, Albert Kometsi and Shaun Permall, are all talented players, who I am sure Hunt will bring the best out of.

Do you agree with Lashias? with your views......

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