at the Union Buildings in Pretoria
Asavela Mbekile says Moroka Swallows players have let down Zeca Marques, adding that the coach should not be blamed for their atrocious run of form.
Swallows’ dreadful form, which reads one win in their last 10 games, is threatening to condemn them to another grim relegation scrap, unless Marques can find a solution to their inability to score, defend or win.
But Mbekile feels the players should start taking responsibility for the mess that they’re in, not Marques. The midfielder described tonight’s clash with Platinum Stars at Royal Bafokeng Sports Palace (6.30pm) as a “must win”, as he challenged his teammates to record an unlikely victory in Phokeng.
“If we lose this game then we will be closer to the other teams facing relegation and we don’t want that.
“We as players need to take responsibility for what’s going on.
“The coach has given us everything possible. He plans well and it just does not happen for us on the pitch. We should be taking the flak from the supporters, not the coach.
“When we lose, we are very disappointed, but the coach just keeps encouraging us. Maybe the next game things will go well for us.”
Swallows, who are fifth from bottom on 27 points, have won just twice away from home this season, making their task of trying to mastermind a win in Phokeng seem all the more impossible.
Mbekile says they are out to get a win, but he’d also be happy to pick up a point against Dikwena who have just lost twice at home this season, to Orlando Pirates and Mamelodi Sundowns.
“We are playing away from home and we know that it’s going to be difficult.
“They have good players and they have done well this season, but I believe we can do well there. We have to work hard.
“What’s important is that we should not concede. A point away would be good, but obviously we are looking for three points. If we can’t get the maximum points, then we will be happy with a point.”
Swallows’ struggles have been epitomised by Siyabonga Nomvethe, their most trusted striker who has scored just once for the Dube Birds in the second half of the season.
On-loan striker Edward Manqele has regressed, making life even more difficult for the beleaguered Birds.
“The mood is still great. We just need to convert chances that we are creating.
“We need to make less mistakes at the back, which means we need to remain focused the entire match. If we score, then I think things will start going well for us.”
Mbekile, who joined the sleeping giants from Chippa United at the start of the season, has had a solid first half at the heart of Swallows’ midfield, but it’s been marred by the barren run.
“It’s been great since I joined. I am playing regularly and the coach has been great. I’m enjoying every moment. It’s encouraging to be playing with guys like Bhele (Nom-vethe).
“I also got an opportunity to play for the national team (during Chan), and I want to go back and play for them again,” he said.
Stars, who returned to winning ways with a victory over Maritzburg United at the weekend, are in fifth place on the standings.
Today: Platinum Stars v Moroka Swallows, at the Royal Bafokeng Stadium
Tomorrow: Kaizer Chiefs v Golden Arrows, FNB Stadium
Orlando Pirates v Black Aces, Orlando Stadium
SuperSport United v Maritzburg Utd, Lucas Moripe Stadium
Friday: Moroka Swallows v Ajax Cape Town, Dobsonville Stadium
Saturday: SuperSport United v Orlando Pirates, Lucas Moripe Stadium
Black Aces v Bidvest Wits Mbom-bela Stadium
University of Pretoria v Polokwane City, Tuks Stadium
AmaZulu v Free State Stars, Moses Mabhida Stadium
Kaizer Chiefs v Mamelodi Sundowns, FNB Stadium
Sunday: Bloem Celtic v Platinum Stars, Kaizer Sebothelo Stadium
Maritzburg Utd v Golden Arrows, Harry Gwala Stadium
P W D L F A Pts
Chiefs 22 15 4 3 34 14 49
Sundowns 24 15 4 5 43 24 49
Wits 22 12 5 5 28 17 41
Pirates 22 11 4 7 24 16 37
Platinum 23 9 8 6 26 24 35
AmaZulu 25 9 8 8 24 30 35
SuperSport 22 9 7 6 30 24 34
Black Aces 23 9 7 7 27 25 34
Bloem Celtic 24 7 12 5 30 28 33
Pretoria 24 8 4 12 21 23 28
Ajax 24 7 7 10 21 27 28
Swallows 23 7 6 10 26 30 27
Maritzburg 23 6 6 11 25 33 24
Free S Stars 23 5 6 12 22 34 21
Polokwane 24 5 5 14 24 34 20
Arrows 22 4 1 17 17 39 13 - The Star