Moroka Swallows can chirp from top branch with Mamelodi Sundowns win
JOHANNESBURG - Moroka Swallows didn’t in their wildest dreams imagine it would get this big. That they are at the neck of the DStv Premiership, level on 26 points with champions and leaders Mamelodi Sundowns, wasn’t part of the initial script.
Early in September when the Birds achieved the improbable, winning the GladAfrica Championship to return to the elite league, all they wanted to achieve in their first season back in top-flight was to save their status by finishing in a respectable spot.
But such has been their never-say-die-attitude and non-complacent demeanour, the Soweto giants have punched above their weight to be among the pacesetters from the outset, thanks to an unbeaten streak in their first 12 matches where they won seven and drew five.
Their resurgence has received plaudits from the media – coach Brandon Truter won his second successive Coach of the Month accolade for December/January this week, while on-form striker Ruzaigh Gamildien who has chipped in nine league goals, took the Player of the Month gong.
On Wednesday night, the Birds had a chance to climb to the summit of the standings. But Kurt Lentjies scored the equaliser for Chippa United after Gamildien put Swallows ahead.
But perhaps Swallows were waiting to achieve that feat in style as they’ll visit Sundowns in a top of the table clash at the Lucas Masterpieces Moripe Stadium in Atteridgeville, Tshwane, this afternoon (3pm kickoff).
The latter are enduring a slump in form after firing blanks in their last two matches, drawing with SuperSport United and Bloemfontein Celtic respectively. Three points against the Birds will consolidate their spot at the top.
One of the teams that hasn’t had problems with scoring lately is Kaizer Chiefs. After an underwhelming start to their campaign, Amakhosi have won three games on the trot to climb to seventh on the log.
That run – which has seen them score six goals and concede one – has been inspired by Samir Nurkovic, Nkosingiphile Ngcobo and Happy Mashiane. They’ll hope to build on that momentum against Stellenbosch FC this afternoon (5pm kick-off).
Stellies welcome Chiefs at the Danie Craven Stadium having blown hot and cold in their last three matches after two draws and one defeat. They are ninth in the standings with 14 points, two adrift of Chiefs.
Out in Naturena and Dobsonville it’s been a prosperous week for the people of Soweto, but for Orlando residents things went further pearshaped as local side Orlando dropped five points in a space of three days.
On Sunday, they lost to strugglers Black Leopards away from home, while on Wednesday they were held goalless by Golden Arrows, dropping to sixth on the standings with 18 points.
This afternoon (5pm kick-off), the Bucs will hope for redemption when they visit Maritzburg United who were hammered 3-0 by TS Galaxy in their last outing, at the Harry Gwala Stadium in Pietermaritzburg.
Fourth-placed Arrows and fifthplaced Cape Town City will have a chance to add to their 19-point tally when they square off at the Cape Town Stadium tomorrow (3.30pm kick-off). The former are unbeaten this season after four wins and seven draws.
But City will be confident, following their midweek 2-0 away win against Leopards.