Former Orlando Pirates defender Innocent Chikoya is one of the most recent additions to the Birds nest, and the Zimbabwean-born left-footer is determined to make his stay at the team a successful one.
Moroka Swallows journo Anthony McLennan chatted to the naturalised South African (Chikoya holds an S.A. passport after having been in the country for 10 years) about his move to Swallows.
A.M: How did you join the Dube Birds?
I.C: I was not happy at Pirates, as I was not featuring in the starting line-up. I play soccer for the love of the game, and I was not happy just to be collecting a salary at Bucs without even doing any work, which is playing soccer.
I therefore decided that I needed a fresh challenge after my five seasons at Pirates, and contacted Swallows. It was arranged that I train with the team for three days, in which I did enough to convince them to sign me on a one year contract.
A.M: Have you settled in well at Swallows?
I.C: Yes, I am very happy here. Apart from joining up with three of my former Pirates team-mates, I also knew some of the Swallows players from playing against them, as well as having socialised with some of the guys outside of football.
A.M: Have you adapted to the Swallows system, and to coach Gavin Hunt's training methods?
I.C: Yes, I am quite comfortable with the way the team plays. I am happy to be playing under Hunt - one can learn something new from each coach that one plays under, and I have learnt a lot of new things about the game from the Swallows coach.
A.M: Can the Birds bring home some more silverware this season?
I.C: Yes, I believe that we have a very good team. There is a great mix of youth and experience, and we have depth in the squad. Already this season we have reached the semi-finals of two cups, and we are third in the league, so things are looking good. We just have to keep working hard - the season s a like a marathon, and we have to perform throughout.
A.M: Which of your team-mates has really impressed you at training?
I.C: Alfred Phiri is one player who has really stood out for me. Now that I am playing with him and he is passing to me and communicating with me on the field, I can see what a good player he is. He is also a fantastic leader.
A.M: What do you think is the reason that so many Zimbabwean players are now making such an impact on the PSL?
I.C: I can't say for sure, but I think the main thing is that we simply love the sport. We love playing football, it is in our blood, and if you have a passion for what you are doing, then the rest usually follows.
A.M: Thanks for your time Innocent, I hope that your stay at the Beautiful Birds is a successful one,
I.C: My pleasure, I am sure that it will be.