by MTHULISI SIBANDA
JOHANNESBURG, (CAJ News) – AFTER conducting some of the best business, albeit on paper, during the transfer window, Swallows Football Club must now transfer that success attained in the boardroom into the field of play.
Recently-appointed team manager, Elasto Kapowezha, is confident this can be attained and emphasises The Dube Birds have assembled a unique side that is on the verge of achieving “something special” this upcoming season.
The returnees have been one of the sides most active in the market and, on paper, can be said to have staged some transfer coups.
Among the campaigners experienced to leave opponents envious are Wandisile Letlabika, Thabo Matlaba, Thabo Mosadi, Thela Ngobeni, Musa Nyatama and Ruzaigh Gamildien.
Add to the list the exciting prospects like Moeketsi Makhanya, Kamohelo Mahlatsi, Kagiso Malinga, Phetso Maphanga, Sammy Seabi and Daniel Gozar, and Kapowezha believes they (Swallows) have a team capable of building from last season’s “miracle” in the GladAfrica Championship.
Veterans Vuyo Mere and captain Lebogang Mokoena have been retained.
“We have new players and others that got the side promoted. It’s only natural that everyone has a positive feeling. There’s that feeling that something can also happen this coming season,” Kapowezha said.
He believes the fact that coach Brandon Truter’s team consists of players eager to prove a point in the Premier Soccer League (PSL) for different reasons could catapult The Birds to new heights.
“We have different sets of players coming from different scenarios,” Kapowezha told CAJ News Africa.
“There are those that got us promoted. Some have been in the PSL before and might not have enjoyed game time. Others might have left under difficult circumstances. To some, this is about a second chance or to prove a point. It’s old these different individual cases,” he said.
“Now they have come together and looking forward to start the season. There is that anticipation as to what is going to happen. There is great expectation among the players.”
Kapowezha emphasised the need to retain Swallows’ status eternally.
“Five years being absent in topflight football, and looking at how promotion was achieved, it was nothing short of a miracle,” he said.
Swallows were not pundits’ favourites for the title and automatic promotion but attained that on the last day of the lengthy season, ahead of early pacesetters, Ajax Cape Town.
“Our plan is to stay up, not only this season, but to stay for the next 47 years if possible… as long as it may take. So much went into getting the team promoted,” Kapowezha said.
“You wouldn’t want to put all this effort, use every resource available and then set out to fail. So, it’s very important that we don’t reverse the gains that have been achieved thus far.”
The manager rates it being a good omen that Swallows’ return coincides with the league securing a new sponsor.
“It’s exciting times. Last season was the inaugural that GladAfrica sponsored the first division and we won it. It’s new beginnings. Fans -both young and old – can’t wait for the DStv Premiership to start (October 24) to see what Swallows will offer.”
Former Zimbabwe international Kapowezha starred for AmaZulu and the now-defunct Wits University and FC AK among other teams as well as holding managerial positions at some.
He expressed gratitude to Swallows FC chairman, David Mogashoa, and president, Panyaza Lesufi, for the latest appointment.
“They have trusted in my abilities to perform and help the team in its endeavours to compete in the demanding PSL. It’s a special moment to be part of this journey. I’m grateful to be part and parcel of another chapter of history,” Kapowezha said.
– CAJ News