/ 27 October 2011

Swallows want to keep feet on the ground

Moroka Swallows will aim to keep their feet on their ground after a sterling start to the season ahead of their premiership clash with Ajax Cape Town in Dobsonville on Friday evening.

The Birds are flying high after their resounding first round Telkom Knockout win over Mamelodi Sundowns last weekend, and were on Thursday drawn to face Soweto rivals Orlando Pirates in the cup quarterfinals next week.

The focus is this week on the league for coach Gordon Igesund’s charges, who could top the log standings by the end of the evening by a slim one point over SuperSport United if they beat the travelling Urban Warriors.

“We have got to keep our feet on the ground now, it’s still a long season ahead,” Igesund said earlier in the week.

“At the end of the day, I was very pleased with the performance of my players against Sundowns. The most important point was that we played excellently when we did not have the ball.”

The club’s captain Lefa Tsutsulupa has also hit a personal purple vein in form and wants his side to eliminate unforced errors against the technically efficient Ajax outfit.

“We need to focus on not making silly mistakes against Ajax. Getting three points from there won’t be easy,” said Tsutsulupa.

“They are the custodians of total football and are very organised.”

Return to action
Ajax will see most of their regulars return to action this week with coach Maarten Stekelenburg holding belief that they could halt Swallows’ recent good run.

“I believe that we have the team to challenge Swallows for the points,” said Stekelenburg.

“My players showed great character and fighting spirit to beat Free State Stars in the cup [last Sunday] even though we had to play without a number of first choice players.”

In the evening’s other fixture sees a repeat of last weekend’s cup action with Santos lining up against Maritzburg United at Athlone Stadium.

Saturday evening sees troubled Kaizer Chiefs host Platinum Stars — who eliminated them in the cup last weekend — in Polokwane.

Chiefs have been plagued by signs of internal turmoil with goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune this week named club captain after Jimmy Tau was sacked by coach Vladimir Vermezovic.

However, Amakhosi are well poised in the league standings and are second with 16 points after eight matches — two behind current leaders, SuperSport.

“We are out of the Telkom Knockout now, and have not done well in the two cup competitions so we have to focus on the league,” said Chiefs star midfielder Siphiwe Tshabalala.

“I know Stars will be tough again but we will go to the match looking at reversing last week’s result.”

The often mercurial Stars have struggled in their travels this season, losing all four of their away matches as they embark on a rare streak of beating the country’s Glamour side in successive weekends.

In the day’s other fixtures sees SuperSport travel to play Bidvest Wits at Bidvest Stadium, Free State Stars at home to Golden Arrows at Goble Park, with AmaZulu tackling Bloemfontein Celtic at Moses Mabhida Stadium.

Bottom-placed Jomo Cosmos will want to continue where they left off midweek when they take on Orlando Pirates in a crunching contest set in Port Elizabeth on Sunday afternoon.

Cosmos registered their first win of the season with an impressive 3-0 cup victory over Celtic, with coach Jomo Sono relieved that his young side has got off the mark in the campaign.

“We have been performing like this in our last three games and not getting the ball in the back of the net,” Sono said after the match.

“I always tell my players to hang in there because we have been playing well and luck was this time on our side.”

Loftus sees Mamelodi Sundowns face beleaguered Black Leopards, who fired their coach Sunday Chidzambwa earlier in the week, replacing him with Serbian Vladislav Heric. — Sapa