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MTN8 champions Moroka Swallows must refocus on stuttering start to League campaign

Moroka Swallows will have to come down from the high of winning the MTN8 on Saturday when they return to league action with an away trip to struggling AmaZulu on Wednesday.

The Birds defeated SuperSport United 2-1 in the MTN8 decider, winning themselves R8-million in the process, but will have to put that to the back of their minds as they seek to address a stuttering start to the Absa Premiership campaign.

Swallows were runners-up in the League last season, but despite their good cup form in this campaign have been disappointing.

They have so far suffered surprise defeats to Platinum Stars and University of Pretoria, to go with wins over Ajax Cape Town and Orlando Pirates.

Coach Zeca Marques will be seeking more consistency from his side to match the high standards of the last campaign and they now come up against an Usuthu side who have taken just one point from their opening four games, and who have not even managed a goal in more than 550 minutes (over nine hours) of football.

Coach Roger Palmgren has temporarily returned to his native Sweden after a family bereavement and the side will be led for this game by his assistant coach Fani Madida.

AmaZulu fans will be hoping that the change of personnel brings with it a change of fortune too.

Free State Stars can move up to second in the table if they secure a home win over Lamontville Golden Arrows.

Ea La Koto managed a top-six finish last season and coach Steve Komphela believes they should have done better – perhaps even lifting the championship trophy.

They have since lost a number of their top stars, the likes of Edward Manqele, who left for Mamelodi Sundowns, as well as the trio of Ayanda Gcaba, Manti Maholo and Mpho Makola, who have joined Orlando Pirates.

But despite this they remain unbeaten in the new campaign and will be expected to continue that run on Wednesday.

Golden Arrows secured a 1-0 home win over Mamelodi Sundowns last time out but even that performance was below par. They were fortunate that their opponents were simply worse than them on the day.

That result eased the pressure on coach Muhsin Ertugral to some extent, but he remains under the cosh.

Newly-promoted Chippa United are still looking for their first win of the season having played two draws in their last two matches. They come up against a Bloemfontein Celtic side that has traditionally battled in Cape Town, but whose record in the Mother City has been improved of late.