High-flying Swallows make a clean sweep in the Dec/Jan monthly awards
JOHANNESBURG – Swallows FC continued to prove that they are not back in top-flight football to add numbers after they bagged a clean sweep at the DStv Premiership Coach and Player of the month awards for December and early January respectively.
Coach Brandon Truter bagged the Coach of the Month award for a second time in a row since the start of the season in October, while striker Ruzaigh Gamildien scooped the Player of the Month gong for his adept scoring spree in the last few weeks.
In the last few weeks, the duo carried out their duties to the tee. Such that the Birds are unbeaten in their 11 league matches this season as they are second on the standings with 25 points, equal with leaders and champions Mamelodi Sundowns.
Upon their return to the elite league, after winning the GladAfrica Championship, few had tipped Swallows to hit the ground running – their naysayers bemoaning the lack of top-flight experience from Truter who had previously coached in the second-tier division.
But the Capetonian born coach has shut up his detractors on the pitch by churning out the results, especially after getting the management’s backing. But he’s not getting carried away thinking they can pull a rabbit out of the hat by claiming the league title.
“For the naysayers, keep on doubting,” Truter said. “Swallows have been in the league before and they’ll continue to be. We’ll try to maintain the standard. But the pressure is on Sundowns, SuperSport, the big teams, and not really us.”
But with Swallows a handful of wins away from saving their status and ensuring that they qualify for a top eight spot next season, hasn't the team flirted with their idea of pursuing for the championship, instead of merely merely staying afloat?
“No, the mandate hasn’t changed, to be honest,” Truter said. “From the last time that I spoke, there’s nothing that has changed. Even from the chairman’s perspective, there’s nothing that has changed because there’s been no pressure for any other thing.”
After being abruptly released by Chippa United at the end of last season, Gamildien will get an opportunity to torment his former employers and possibly increase his tally of eight league goals when the two team’s square off at the Dobsonville Stadium this afternoon (5pm kickoff).
“Ya, that’s our game. But firstly, what will be important for us is the result. And then after that we can focus on how we could have done better,” said Gamildien who’s a journeyman in top-flight after also playing for club’s such as Bloemfontein Celtic and AmaZulu respectively.
Gamildien’s impressive rich vein of form has put him in a steady position to challenge for a Bafana Bafana, considering the national team has a congested calendar year as they’ll play in the 2022 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers in March and 2022 World Cup qualifiers from June.
“That’s one of the goals that I've set for myself this season. So if possible I’d like to put myself in the pool of players that will be selected to represent the national team this year,” said Gamildien who’s two goals shy of the league’s current top goal scorer Bradley Grobler.