Preview - Swallows v Golden Arrows
Super-sub Norman Smith will be the key player when a resurgent Golden Arrows take on Moroka Swallows in a Castle Premiership match at Germiston Stadium on Saturday afternoon (kick-off 3.45pm).
Smith is fast, strong and direct, and is becoming an expert at running onto through balls normally supplied by wonderboy Papi Zothwane.
On a day when an out-of-sorts Kaizer Chiefs were having one of their more disappointing games, it was the 25-year-old striker, whose trademark of hanging on the shoulder of the last defender and using his exceptional pace, destroyed Chiefs, thus ending their championship dream a month ago.
With revenge firmly on their minds, Chiefs once again felt Smith's presence when his penalty saw the KwaZulu-Natal outfit into the second round of the 2006/07 Absa Cup, leaving 'Amakhosi' speechless once again.
"It was very painful when playing well, but the results were not forthcoming. But things have changed for the better now," said Smith.
He added: "It was not the technical team's fault that we were losing matches, but it was us. Previously, we took our opponents lightly and got punished badly but after realising the dreadful relegation facing us, we had to do something positive.
"I am glad that I have been scoring crucial goals at the time the team is climbing up the ladder. Things are going nicely for me and I am not perturbed as being used as a substitute because the coach knows what he is doing.
"Swallows are a respected customer and it requires a team effort, not individuals to win. They want to finish as high as possible and we want to move away from relegation, so both teams have something indispensable to play for. Scoring again is top on my agenda."
Since returning to what he, himself, terms "home", veteran winger Japhet Zwane has shown signs that could see him regain a place in the national team and his jinxing runs down the flank are bound to catch the eye of national coach Carlos Alberto Parreira.
"It's still my dream to play for my country and I'm using my games at Swallows to prove that I am far from finished," said Zwane.
"Returning to Swallows has done a world of good for me and by playing well to win is the only way to thank to coach Gavin Hunt who always believed in me."
He concluded: "Arrows are doing well at the moment and their victory over Chiefs has indicated how talented and versatile the team is. They might be my former team, but I have nothing to prove. All I have to do is to play well and ensure that I supply crosses to the finishers to claim a win."
2006/07 Castle Premiership Statistics:
Current league position: Seventh
Biggest victory: 2-0 v Santos (H), December 17, 2006 and v Ajax Cape Town (H), February 11, 2007
Biggest defeat: 0-4 v BidVest Wits (H), November 8, 2006
Leading scorer: Mame Niang - five goals (3 PSL, 1 SAA, 1 Telkom)
Current league position: Twelth
Biggest victory: 3-0 v AmaZulu (H), January 28, 2007
Biggest defeat: 1-5 v SuperSport United (A), November 25, 2006
Leading scorer: Mabhuti Khanyeza - seven PSL goals
Match preview by Patrick Baloyi/Backpagepix