Swallows soar high

2011-06-25 15:50

Moroka Swallows’ managing director and chief executive Leon Prins has promised the club’s long-suffering supporters a fruitful season.

This follows a year in which the tradition-steeped outfit went through what Prins described as “harrowing”, “horrendous” and “disastrous” times as the team was buried deep in the relegation zone until the last game of the season.

“The Dube Butcher Birds” were not guaranteed safety from the chop until the 80th minute on the last day of the Absa Premiership.

“I take full responsibility as the man in charge,” Prins told City Press in an in-depth interview about the club’s future this week.

“I vow it will never happen again. Swallows is an institution in South African football,” he said.

Looking back, Prins said he would have put his house down as a bet if anyone had told him before the beginning of the season that Swallows would have collected a mere two points after nine games.

“I don’t think that even if we had fielded our Under-19 side we would have performed that badly,” he said.

“The coach had blooded some very good young players the previous season and we finished in the top eight.

“We beat SuperSport United and Ajax Cape Town on our way to the MTN8 final.

“When we took Orlando Pirates to extra time and then lost on penalties I told my wife that it was a huge psychological blow for the young squad we had.”

Prins believed his words were prophetic as from then the club went on a nose-dive.

“I want to thank the supporters who stood by us and I think this was because they realised that as the club’s management we were not just folding our hands but were doing something.”

Swallows brought in four-league-title winning coach Gordon Igesund and signed MacBeth Sibaya, Tshepo Ramokala, Bradley Ritson, Koketso Mmotong and Vuyo Mere.

The club extended Igesund’s contract as well as those of the experienced Sibaya and Siyabonga Nomvethe.

It also added former Pirates winger Joseph “Duku Duku” Makhanya, striker Mpho Maleka and defender Rudi Isaacs to its ranks.

“There are still about five more places to fill. We are specifically looking for a goalkeeper, left-back, playmaker and a striker among others,” said Prins.

The club has also extended its partnership with sponsors VW for a further two years.

“We have established another development centre in Soweto that is run by our former players, Patrick Mabedi, Dennis Lota and Goodman Mazibuko,” he said.

Prince said “The Beautiful Birds” were raring to go and would challenge for silverware in the coming season.

Will the club’s war cry of “Don’t Follow Me, Follow The Birds” reverberate through the streets and stadiums once more?

Only time will tell!

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