I need to be calm, says AmaZulu’s Pablo Martin after Moroka Swallows snatch late equaliser

Riaan Hanamub (left) gave AmaZulu the lead against Moroka Swallows, but they couldn’t hold on for the victory. Photo: BackpagePix

Riaan Hanamub (left) gave AmaZulu the lead against Moroka Swallows, but they couldn’t hold on for the victory. Photo: BackpagePix

Published Mar 7, 2024


AmaZulu coach Pablo Franco Martin has expressed his worry regarding his side’s inability to maintain a top-eight spot.

Usuthu conceded a goal in stoppage time on Tuesday night against Moroka Swallows and were forced to share the spoils in a 1-1 draw at the King Zwelithini Stadium.

Riaan Hanamub opened the scoring in the 73rd minute for the home side, only for Augustine Mahlonoko to grab a 92nd-minute equaliser for Swallows.

That result meant the KwaZulu-Natal-based outfit failed to move from 11th position in the DStv Premiership, whereas they would have risen at least four places with a win.

AmaZulu’s inconsistency this season has seen them ‘yo-yo’ in the standings and remain far from the top-four spot they had targeted at the start of the campaign.

Spaniard Martin, who is in his first season in South Africa, admitted he was content with the strides his team is taking every week.

However, speaking to the media after their draw against the Dube Birds, he also expressed his concern about his team’s failure to capitalise on the various openings they’ve created to cement their place in the top eight.

“The top eight is a problem we’ve been having the whole season, and every time we have an opportunity to be in there, we don’t take it,” he said.

“We were so close today and conceded late after controlling the whole game. We are getting better as a team, but in the end, this game is about goals.

“I don’t know what position we’re in now on the log, but it’s a pity because we could’ve jumped up to seventh position (with a win).

“We had this chance weeks ago as well, but this will be our fight from now on, and we already have our heads turned to the next game against SuperSport (United).”

Loyal supporters of Usuthu have been left unsure whether the club is making any progress over last season.

Under former coach Romain Folz, AmaZulu were in mid-table for the majority of the season, only to get sucked into a relegation battle in the final weeks of the campaign.

The club has recorded just one victory (a Nedbank Cup win over Royal AM) in four games in all competitions in 2024.

Martin revealed that he was not feeling any pressure, and instead shouldered the expectations and urged his men to do the same.

“This is football. Pressure is for people who can’t feed their families or the ones who are fighting in a war. This is an amazing job. We are doing everything we can, and I need to be calm,” he said.

“This is a matter of responsibility, and we all share that responsibility. Today we should’ve won because we were leading past 90 minutes, but we didn’t, and this is what we have.”

Usuthu will have an opportunity to quickly put this disappointment behind them as they travel to Pretoria to face SuperSport United on Saturday.