SOWETO, SOUTH AFRICA - SEPTEMBER 20, Lefa Tsutsulupa and Zeca Marques during the Moroka Swallows and SuperSport United joint press conference at Orlando Stadium Auditorium on September 20, 2012 in Soweto, South Africa Photo by Lefty Shivambu / Gallo Images

In the wake of his side's first taste of silverware since 2009, Moroka Swallows coach Zeca Marques heaped praise on the experienced players in his squad.

The Birds defeated SuperSport United 2-1 in the MTN8 final at Orlando Stadium on Saturday night, to lift the top-eight trophy for the first time in 23 years, and the Swallows boss said the balance between youth and experience was critical.

“You can't change a winning formula and you can't buy experience and this is what we got today,” Marques said.

“We won it because of experience. Youth is great, but it's got to be balanced.

“Today we proved that with experience we can achieve things.

“There's a vision with the club, and we know the older players won't last forever, so we're building them (the younger players) up slowly.

“We give them their moments that they deserve and there's a game-plan for them.”

Marques took over from Gordon Igesund, who was called up to coach the national team ahead of the new season, and the former Swallows assistant coach said his knowledge of the game had helped him achieve the club's first trophy since they won the Nedbank Cup three years ago.

“I'm on a learning curve as a head-coach but I'm not on a learning curve as a coach,” Marques said.

“I've been involved for many years and it's just decision making.

“Now I've got to make the decisions, but the decisions are the same.” Marques believed his former position at the club had played a big role in laying the foundation for the top management post.

“Sometimes as an assistant coach you have more input than a head coach, so I've learned from the mistakes of the previous coaches,” he said.

“I do a lot off TV, a lot of analysis, and it's all about decision making and at the moment I've been quite spot-on with the decision making.

“Coaching is coaching. It doesn't matter if you start today or last week, if you know what you're doing, if your qualities are there, there's no problem.”

The Swallows coach said the title would spur on the resurgent outfit to new heights.

“It's a new lease on life,” he said.

“People tend to forget about Swallows.

“Swallows has a lot of history and they deserve a bit more than what they've had in the past.

“I think with this trophy, the players can start believing we are capable of achieving.

“We're a team that can compete with anyone and we're on par with the best teams in the league, and we've got to believe that.

“I thought today (Saturday) we proved that and today is hopefully not the first one (trophy).

“I think it's a positive step in the right direction.” – Sapa