MAKING AN IMPACT: Katlego Mashego has starred as an impact player coming off the bench. Photo by Lefty Shivambu / Gallo Images

Johannesburg - Katlego Mashego revealed on Tuesday that he does not mind being used as an impact player at his new club Moroka Swallows.

After all, he has excelled in the role thus far, coming on in the second half to make a difference, and says sitting on the bench would only be a problem if the players playing ahead of him were not performing.

The 30-year-old striker has come off the bench for the Dube Birds twice since signing for the club late last month from Golden Arrows and has scored two goals already, including that cleverly worked one against his former club Orlando Pirates in the 3-0 victory at Orlando Stadium a couple of weeks ago. His impressive start though, which saw him rattle the net on debut against Ajax Cape Town last month, will not guarantee him a place in the starting XI that boasts a number of talented players in attack.

“You have to take into consideration that I did not have the best of pre-seasons. I did not train for about three months. Now I’m just catching up and doing extra work. I’m okay with coming on from the bench and the coach has talked to me about it. I do not have a problem with that,” he said yesterday.

“It would be a problem if the players playing ahead of me were not doing well, but they are. Competitions for places at the club is tough. There are a lot of players in the team, some will contribute and some won’t. We just have to put our faith in the coach. You just have to be positive,” Mashego added.

Of course, he would want to start matches and play an even bigger role for the club as the season progresses, but knows winning that one place up front in Zeca Marques’ 4-5-1 formation will be a tougher challenge than many would expect. And to think last season former Dube Birds coach Gordon Igesund was complaining about the lack of depth that the squad had.

Mashego has to compete with Bafana Bafana striker Siyabonga Nomvethe, who was last season’s top scorer in the league and is the regular starter, and Mpho Maleka, a potent striker who is a superb finisher.

Bafana returnee Lerato Chabangu is another player who can play up front if need be. Competition is no doubt going to be tough for the former Bafana Bafana player.

“Competition brings the best out of me. However, you can’t change a winning team and if ever my chance comes I will work hard for the team, Mashego said.

Swallows have made a great start in the league, continuing from where they left off last season. But Mashego says they should not get carried away because they have not won anything yet.

“We have not achieved anything. We have to have something tangible to show how serious we are.”

Mashego could get to start his first match for the club when the Dube Birds take on Pretoria University (Ama-Tuks), who are yet to lose a match this season, as the league resumes this weekend.

Nomvethe is a doubt for the clash on Friday night after sustaining a toe injury in the match against Pirates and will have a late fitness test to see whether he can play against AmaTuks.

The Star