Usuthu hoping for happy homecoming against Birds

Celimpilo Ngema of AmaZulu. | BackpagePix

Celimpilo Ngema of AmaZulu. | BackpagePix

Published Mar 5, 2024


Celimpilo Ngema of AmaZulu. | BackpagePix

Smiso Msomi

AmaZulu midfielder Celimpilo Ngema has revealed how the players have shouldered the responsibility of returning the club to winning ways ahead of the imminent visit of Moroka Swallows.

Usuthu will battle the Dube Birds at the King Zwelithini Stadium at 7.30pm tonight, with both sides looking for a first league win of the year.

The hosts are coming off two tricky assignments for different reasons in which they conceded three goals on their way to back-to-back away defeats to Cape Town Spurs and Mamelodi Sundowns.

Ngema said that their battle against Swallows has risen in importance as they look to put things right and begin collecting points again.

“It’s a game that’s very important for us now after suffering two defeats in a row in the league,” said Ngema. “We’re seeing this as an opportunity to win our first game of the year and keep climbing up the log.”

Usuthu will return to familiar grounds in uMlazi after having won there in the Nedbank Cup two weeks ago against Royal AM. Swallows will arrive in KwaZulu-Natal with hopes of capturing a full set of points having failed to do so in the 0-0 draw against 10-man Kaizer Chiefs over the weekend.

Interim coach of Moroka Swallows Musa Nyatama. | BackpagePix

Musa Nyatama, the interim coach at Swallows, was visibly frustrated after that encounter at the FNB Stadium but promised his team would sort out their shortcomings in front of goal.

The club have also had to manage great turmoil in the last two months, which saw them release 22 players at some point.

Although Martin is confident of his team’s chances at home, he remains worried about the potential for Swallows to surprise them.

“I’m finding the team motivated, and we know that we are playing again at home in a stadium that’s good for us because we got other outstanding performances (there),” he said.

“Also, we know that we are playing a team in our league and that they are coming from playing yesterday (Saturday) and performing very well again. So, that’s also a good thing that we are not in a position to underestimate any opponent, but especially in the short term because maybe we can think that they are weaker because they lost key players, and that’s true, but they still keep the structure.”

Swallows are one of five sides to get the better of AmaZulu this season, having won the reverse fixture at the Dobsonville Stadium.

Both clubs are desperate for points at this stage of the season, although for different reasons. Swallows sit one place above the relegation zone, albeit with a seven-point buffer over 15th-placed Richards Bay.

While The Natal Rich Boyz will hope their provincial counterparts could take points off Swallows, AmaZulu will have their own top-eight ambitions in mind as they occupy 11th place ahead of the match.