Ertugral wary of Swallows’ potential

2008-10-01 00:00

Johannesburg — Kaizer Chiefs coach Muhsin Ertugral has a healthy respect for Moroka Swallows and their head coach Julio Cesar Leal.

The teams met twice in the MTN 8 semi-finals, with Amakhosi going on to beat Mamelodi Sundowns in the dramatic cup final last Tuesday.

The Birds defeated Chiefs 1-0 at the same venue in the MTN semifinal, second leg, in which Chiefs star striker Jose Torrealba was sent off.

Ertugral is hoping to reverse that.

“It is unfortunate we play Swallows a third time in such a short space of time. I rate them as a quality side that I believe will finish in the top five. I also respect their coach, Leal, who has worked all over the world and brings much experience to the PSL. He is going to lift Swallows this season. I know Leal well. He is a very organised coach and that is one of Swallows biggest strengths this season.”

But Ertugral is happy with his players’ recovery after losing their opening two Premiership games. Chiefs showed a lot of character to beat Ajax Cape Town 2-0, thanks to late goals from Siphiwe Tshabalala, and Arthur Zwane last Saturday.

“What impressed me about the win over Ajax was that we became stronger in the last 25 minutes and won,” said Ertugral.

“That was after we went 120 minutes and a penalty shootout against Sundowns. That speaks volumes for the fighting spirit and quality of my players.”

Ertugral said that with Leal at the controls he will plan carefully.

“We won’t be going into the game like a bunch of headless chickens. I have a plan up my sleeve. Swallows do not have individual brilliance and their strength is the way they work as a team. They are well organised and have good tactical discipline.”

Ertugral is still searching for a striker to complement Torrealba.

“But you simply cannot go into a supermarket and buy a striker. However, we are looking and searching and hopefully we will be adding to the squad in January.”

In the meantime, Torrealba will be working closely with Tshabalala and Gert Schalkwyk to find a way past the improved Birds defence.

Ertugral and his players can expect the lion’s share of support.

“That is what I love about Chiefs. It is fantastic for me and the players to play in front of 20 000 fans every week. It gives us all a huge lift.”

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