Birds inspired after pinching point off Sundowns

Augustine Mahlonoko of Moroka Swallows celebrates a goal with teammates. | BackpagePix

Augustine Mahlonoko of Moroka Swallows celebrates a goal with teammates. | BackpagePix

Published Apr 17, 2024



Moroka Swallows’ coach Musa Nyatama has lifted the lid on the team’s change of fortunes and the points tally they need to ensure their safety this season.

After the departure of coach Steve Komphela earlier this year, with the club in financial upheaval, Nyatama took over the reins. The former assistant coach has brought calm waters in the middle of the storm, as the team is now 14 points clear of basement dwellers Cape Town Spurs.

Augustine Mahlonoko of Moroka Swallows celebrates a goal with teammates. | BackpagePix

With only six matches before the curtain falls on Swallows’ DStv Premiership campaign, form favours the Dube Birds to continue playing top-flight football next season. After all, it would take something miraculous for Swallows to drop all 18 points in the next six games and boost the Urban Warriors’ survival hopes.

Nyatama, though, is not getting carried away, explaining what their target is for the remaining matches in their bid to stay afloat.

“We need 10 points per five games, but I am still happy with where we are,” Nyatama said.

“We managed to collect five points from three matches. We still have two games to play in this block. If we get maximum points from the two games, we’ll be more than happy.”

Swallows will play TS Galaxy and Chippa United in their next two matches, and Nyatama has every reason to be confident that they can come out tops.

On Monday night, they held runaway defending champions Mamelodi Sundowns to a 2-2 draw after coming back from two goals down in the second half. Augustine Mahlonoko and Gabadinho Mhango led Swallows’ comeback after Teboho Mokoena and Marcelo Allende put the champions-in-waiting in the driver’s seat.

Lindokuhle Mtshali of Moroka Swallows argues with the assistant referee over an offside decision during their DStv Premiership encounter against Mamelodi Sundowns on Monday night. | BackpagePix

The point was worth gold for Nyatama and his troops, especially given that they were not expected to get anything from their clash against the Brazilians.

“The point is good for us, but we still need to collect other points going forward. But this was gold for us,” Nyatama said.

“We still have tough matches coming up. We need to play Stellenbosch and SuperSport United. Those will be tough matches for us to play.”

Nyatama is no stranger to being the messiah for Swallows as he didn’t only save the team last season but drove them to a top-eight finish.

So with only four points separating them from the eighth-placed Kaizer Chiefs, Nyatama could still repeat his heroics from last season. But the former Sundowns, Orlando Pirates and Bloemfontein Celtic midfielder is just focused on saving his team’s status for now, nothing more.

“It’s not easy to be down there. We need to always encourage the guys because everyone is fighting for their lives down there,” Nyatama said.

“But I think the point we got against Sundowns will give us some breathing space from Spurs and Richards Bay.”

To get more breathing space in the next few games, Swallows need to score goals, coming out of the blocks quicker from the outset, and win matches. So far, Nyatama has been disappointed with his team’s conversation rate. Hence, he’s urged his troops to start the coming games like how they finished against Downs.

“We are a team that creates chances. We’ll always get chances, but we don’t score,” Nyatama explained.

“It’s a difficult task for us to get goals. But I am happy with the two goals that we scored tonight (Monday). We had a different mentality from the boys in the second half.

“We were pressing high and we didn’t sit at the back. In the first half, we just sat and we allowed them to just come at us. We didn’t pass the ball.”