Birds fly high again

2011-10-01 21:23

This time last season, Moroka Swallows were rooted at the bottom of the log with only two points.

The results so far in the 2011/12 season are a far cry from those nightmarish days.

The changes point to a group of once dejected players whom coach Gordon Igesund brought into the Birds’ aviary prior to the start of this soccer run.

The four-time league winning coach had the task of uplifting crestfallen players such as David Mathebula, Joseph Makhanya, Lerato Chabangu and Bennet Chenene.

The foursome spent seasons warming benches, but Igesund was willing to give them a second chance. And they have repaid him with good perfor-mances on the field.

Igesund said: “I had to instil confidence in them. I knew they were good players. I made them believe in themselves. I don’t know why Joseph spent so many years sitting on the bench. He is a brilliant player.”

Swallows are back inside the top eight bracket of the Absa Premiership table. In seven matches they won four, drew once, lost twice and are placed fifth on the log.

“It was not easy to take over a team that had only collected two points. I had to build on that and make a positive contribution. Right now, we’re just looking at this season, trying to achieve the goals that we set before the season,” said Igesund, who inherited the team from Rainer Zobel.

The German-born coach managed only two draws in a nine-match winless run.

Makhanya said Igesund had injected new hope into his soccer career.

“I am happy that I’m reviving my career here. I never lost hope. The good thing about this move is that the coach ­­­­head-hunted me and he knew what he was looking for from us,” added Makhanya.

Mathebula believes not everyone is afforded a second chance in life.

“I’m so grateful and my confidence is back. The team spirit is amazing here. We are all playing as a team,” he said.

For seven months, Igesund endured the pressure to produce results and save the tradition-steeped club from campaigning in the National First Division.

When the season ended, the once glamorous outfit survived the chop by beating Mpumalanga Black Aces in their last league match to survive going to the play-offs.

And this season, the Birds are up there among the big guns.

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