Swallows set for major test against Benni’ McCarthy’s AmaZulu
JOHANNESBURG – Swallows FC are one of the two unbeaten teams in the Dstv Premiership this season. But that they welcome a highly rejuvenated Amazulu side to the Dobsonville Stadium on Sunday afternoon means they can’t afford complacency.
Swallows have punched above their weight in their first season back in the top-flight, considering that the club’s management, led by chairman David Mogashoa, had tasked coach Brandon Truter and his men to merely save their status with a respectable finish.
But the Birds have soared this season, bagging seven wins and sevens draws in 14 matches. They are third on the standings with 28 points, five behind champions and leaders Mamelodi Sundowns, who've played a game extra.
Swallows, though, will know that to maintain their form they can’t rest on their laurels especially with a tricky encounter looming. Usuthu are seventh with 21 points, but they’ve enjoyed a good outing in recent weeks.
They are unbeaten in their last six matches, after three wins and three draws. Their resurgence, which has put them in good standing to reach a top four finish, has been inspired by the arrival of coach Benni Mccarthy late last year.
Swallows are tied on points with second-placed Supersport United. But with Sundowns busy with the group stage of the CAF Champions League this afternoon – they host Sudanese giants Al Hilal – the two teams will be hoping to close the gap to two points at the top.
Supersport seem to have taken the foot off the pedal in their recent outings. They were bundled out of the Nedbank Cup last 32 by rookies Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivhandila, and a week later fell to struggling Bloemfontein Celtic in the league. They’ll host a wounded Cape Town City at the Lucas Masterpieces Moripe Stadium on Saturday afternoon (5pm kick-off).
The Citizens were defeated 2-0 by Orlando Pirates away on Tuesday. That outing tainted their momentum – they were fresh from a 4-0 triumph over Celtic in the Nedbank Cup, where they are looking for their first silverware in three years.
The Citizens hold the highest scoring record in the league thus far – with 26 goals – but their major weakness has been conceding too many goals. And against Matsatsantsa a Pitori they’ll have to be solid in defence, as they will face the league’s top goalscorer Bradley Grobler.
Celtic have blown hot and cold this season. After reaching the MTN8 final, their second consecutive final after the Nedbank Cup, Phunya Selesele were expected to take their momentum to the league. But they’ve stuttered.
They are ninth with 17 points, a point behind eighth-placed Kaizer Chiefs and eight ahead of rock-bottom occupants Black Leopards.
And that’s why they’ll be eager to keep all three points on Saturday afternoon (3pm kick-off) when they host Chippa United at the Dr Petrus Molemela Stadium.
Chippa, despite winning one game, losing one and drawing one in the last three, have had a breath of fresh air under coach Dan “Dance” Malesela who is in his fourth spell at the club.