Swallows’ Thibedi misses the game but social-distancing is for the best
JOHANNESBURG – A little act of selflessness during these trying times could go a long way in Swallows FC gaining promotion to the PSL when the league resumes. This was the view of midfielder Given Thibedi, amid the club suspending training due to the outbreak of the coronavirus.
Following a brave fight for promotion to top-flight football as they are second in the GladAfrica Championship with 41 points, seven behind leaders Ajax Cape Town, Swallows recently hit a halt in their aspirations.
This follows after the PSL suspended all forms of domestic football as a precautionary measure against the spread of the coronavirus.
The Dube Birds heeded to the message of awareness, suspending all training sessions until they get the green light for the resumption of the league.
The break could either hinder their momentum or give them regeneration. Thibedi, however, is preaching behavioural control from his peers, urging them to be faithful to the dietary and fitness programmes they have been asked to follow.
“I don’t know how whether the other players are adhering to the proposed programme or not. This break might kill the momentum that we have had, but that will depend on the player’s behaviour and their burning desire to win,” Thibedi said.
“I, for one, have been hard at work, ensuring that I follow the programme to a T. But I miss football because it’s like a drug to me. So, having had to stay at home and not see my teammates on a regular basis has been really tough.”
Thibedi knows about keeping his eyes on the prize. When the 22-year-old joined Swallows from Kaizer Chiefs, many bemoaned the depreciation of the standards - going from a top-flight side to a team that’s new in the second-tier division on loan.
To say Thibedi has grabbed the opportunity with both hands would be putting it mildly. He has played 19 out of 24 league matches for Swallows, scoring three goals as they climbed to the top of the standings.
That was an overwhelming return for a player who was a bench warmer at Chiefs at the end of last season, having inspired Amakhosi’s reserve team to the Diski Shield crown the previous campaign.
“I didn’t take the loan deal slightly at all, although other people were complaining about it. I am growing as a player and I am getting an understanding of what it takes to become a professional footballer,” Thibedi explained.@Mihlalibaleka