JOHANNESBURG – Swallows FC may have bought their way back into the PSL this campaign but that they are on the verge of returning to top-flight football next season could be potentially earmarked as one of the biggest comebacks in South African football.
Six seasons ago, Swallows fell from grace as one of the big three teams that hail from Soweto, alongside Orlando Pirates and Kaizer Chiefs, after they were abruptly relegated to the second division.
Their situation got worse a season later as they found themselves campaigning on the third tier, the ABC Motsepe League. But such has been the astute leadership of Panyaza Lesufi and David Mogashoa that the Dube Birds can potentially fly high in the elite league come next season.
Swallows’ resurgence has been amazing since buying the status of Maccabi FC and they currently find themselves in pole position in the GladAfrica Championship as they’re in a two-horse race for promotion alongside Ajax Cape Town.
Swallows’ reinvigoration was confirmed on Wednesday following their 2-0 victory over Richards Bay as they took the promotion race down to wire, equalling the Urban Warriors’ 54 points tally after they were defeated 2-1 by JDR Stars in the penultimate round.
But coach Brandon Truter is not getting carried away as he had to remind his troops after their win against Richards Bay that they can’t be complacent when they clash with Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivhandila in their last game on Sunday.
“We are excited that we went up. Yes, the excitement levels also went up from the guys. But afterwards, I had to calm them down and remind them that there’s still 90 minutes to play,” Truter said.
“Yes, we are on top of the log and we’ve never been there after starting from the 14th spot. We are the favourites at the moment but if you look at the game that we’ll be playing it will be the toughest (as TTM are also looking to secure a promotion play-off spot).”
— MorokaSwallowsFC (@Moroka_Swallows) August 26, 2020
Given that Swallows were merely backed to just secure their status in the GladAfrica Championship this season, without many rooting for them to gain promotion, what has it taken for the Soweto-based side to be where it is at the moment?
“The GladAfrica Championship is a tough division because everyone wants to win it.
“So, it’s very seldom to see coaches earn two-year or three-year deals.
“So, if you don’t get promoted or a play-off spot, then the season is seen as failure,” Truter explained.
Meanwhile, Ajax will feel hard-done by that they’ve squandered their lead at the twilight of season but they’ll know that it’s not over yet as three points against Mbombela United on Sunday and loss or draw for Swallows will be enough to gain them automatic promotion.
Whichever team finishes second will get a second chance at promotion in the play-offs against the teams that finish third in the GladAfrica Championship and 15th in the Absa Premiership.