Swallows FC head coach Brandon Truter is aware of the unique differences between the GladAfrica Championship and South Africa's topflight soccer league the DStv Premiership.
The Dube Birds fought hard for promotion in a season that went down to the final match of the 2019/20 campaign.
After resuming the season due to the coronavirus, Truter and his charges have not tasted defeat since 20 March against the University of Pretoria.
A match that ended 3-2 in favour of AmaTuks.
Fast-forward nearly 12 months later, Swallows are now 24 matches unbeaten and currently hold third place on the DStv Premiership log table.
Speaking to the media ahead of their Nedbank Cup Round of 16 encounter against Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivhandila (TTM), Truter understands most of their matches this season has ended in draws for the Sowetan side.
“We’re one of the defensively sound teams in the league. But scoring and finishing has become a bit of a sticking point for us‚ and we are working on it,” said Truter.
“And at this moment‚ yes‚ the mindset maybe has to change. Maybe with all this talking about this unbeaten run‚ the thinking is about not losing a game – and that shouldn’t be our first point of reference. Our first point of reference should be winning games.
“But that is what we set up for – even the Cape Town City game [a 1-1 draw on Sunday]‚ we scored first and had chances to take all three points but finishing let us down again.
“So, we are a team going out to win. And it’s the opponents who are setting up to stop us doing that. And if you put the draws into perspective‚ they’re away to City‚ away to Pirates‚ away to SuperSport and away to Sundowns.
“So, it’s a bit of an unfair comparison. It’s clubs who season-in and season-out are competing for the title‚ and we are amongst them still‚ and it’s all away games.”
However, despite all the challenges, Truter is enjoying the experience of facing some of the best teams and coaches that the country has to offer.
“I think in the GladAfrica‚ where people do a lot of analysis on teams‚ I started to think this way. I think about how the coaches think. You can read into situations that there are some coaches who do not change,” he said.
“In the GladAfrica‚ facing those coaches week-in and week-out you could see their patterns‚ you see their thinking and you could expect and see what they are going to do next.
“This season I’m learning and seeing new things and trends. And the test with the different coaches week-in and week-out and how they are thinking is of a high standard. Any coach in this league has to be tactically superior.
“If you play [Maritzburg coach Ernst] Middendorp‚ you can use four systems in one match. If you play Sundowns there are three coaches who think differently and all the time tinkering with the system and line-up‚ and even the playing philosophy.
“From that point of view I am growing ... We’re entering the final straight of this marathon‚ where it's always tougher. There are some new things we want to apply differently.
“Because people are seeing our structure – you can see it in in the amount of draws. Tactically it’s becoming very difficult. But it’s nice. You have to think out of the box too.”
Swallows entertain TTM on Friday evening at 18:00.