Moroka Swallows could surge in among the Premier Soccer League front runners with Saturday night success over Black Leopards, but the club have shown a previous propensity to underestimate so-called inferior opponents.
The club’s setbacks this season have come against newly promoted Pretoria University, unheralded Platinum Stars and bottom of the log AmaZulu just weeks between their success in the MTN8 and their beating of the likes of Orlando Pirates and Mamelodi Sundowns.
It is a conundrum that Birds coach Zeca Marques will be likely to highlight as he prepares his side for the game at the Dobsonville Stadium in Soweto.
“It offers us an opportunity to bounce back with a win and cement our league standing,” Marques said in the wake of his side’s elimination on post match penalties from the Telkom Knockout last weekend.
“Leopards are no pushovers. I admire them for their resilience, they’re always a hard team to play against,” he told his club’s website.
Perhaps with a concern over potential inconsistency and a less than 100 percent approach to the game by his players in his mind, Marques added: “This is the perfect match to show what we are capable of.”
Swallows start the weekend’s programme of matches in third place in the Premier Soccer League standings, five off the leaders Kaizer Chiefs.
Leopards are down in 11th spot and their preparations have been clouded by uncertainty over the future of coach Sunday Chidzambwa, who was handed a life ban by Zimbabwe last week for his part in match fixing when he was still national coach of his home country.It is expected FIFA will rule in the next weeks on whether to extend that ban worldwide, in which case he would have to step down.
|DID YOU KNOW|
- In head-to-head stats, Swallows and Leopards have met in 16 league matches since 2001/02. The Birds have traditionally dominated the fixture, claiming ten wins compared to just one for Lidoda Duvha.
- Swallows have an unbeaten home record against Leopards, with six wins and two draws from eight matches.
- Last season the Birds did a league ‘double’ over their Limpopo opponents, winning 4-1 at home and 5-2 away.
- Moroka Swallows’ second-place finish in the Absa Premiership last season was their best since the start of the PSL in the 1996/97 campaign. They last won the league title in 1965.
- Black Leopards’ best finishes to a PSL season was in 2001/02 and 2003/04 when they finished in eighth place.