2 minute read
2 Apr 2014
1:14 pm

Swallows end run of bad luck

Moroka Swallows coach Zeca Marques believes his side's run of bad luck has come to an end following their 1-0 Premier League victory over Platinum Stars at the Royal Bafokeng Sports Palace on Tuesday night.

Zeca Marques, former Moroka Swallows coach. Picture: Lefty Shivambu/Gallo Images.

His position had come into question as a result of the side achieving only one victory in 10 previous games.

“The ball has just not been running for us this year and the harder the players have tried, the more the breaks have gone against us,” Marques said.

“Take for example the derby game against Orlando Pirates over the week-end. We outplayed Pirates in the second half, but the ball would just not go into the net and we ended up losing 1-0.”

The creditable success at Stars’ stronghold in Rustenburg, where visiting teams invariably struggle, has elevated the Birds from 12th in the log to 10th position.

The victory left Marques believing the team could still achieve a top-eight finish and qualification for next season’s MTN8 competition.

“We have Ajax Cape Town in a home fixture at the Dobsonville Stadium on Friday night, followed by a game against Pretoria University at the Tuks Stadium on Tuesday night,” he said.

“Six points from these two games will put us right back in line for a top-eight place and I’m confident we can achieve it.

“Most important, I’ve got a squad of players that is a lot stronger than our recent results suggest and, despite the setbacks, the players have not been discouraged or taken on a negative attitude.”

As to his controversial decision to leave Bafana Bafana’s Lerato Chabangu on the bench at the start of recent games, Marques said the pivotal midfielder had been over-worked in recent months.

Chabangu only made an appearance against Platinum Stars as a 55th minute substitute and was always in the thick of things even making several important tackles in defence in addition to his usual attacking forays.

He also missed two sitters in the closing stages that should have made the score a more conclusive 3-0.

Meanwhile, Stars coach Allan Freese believed his players were not showing the relentless approach that earned them the MTN8 and Telkom Cup titles earlier in the season.

“We were also badly hit by the unavailability of key players through injuries and illness against Swallows,” Freese said.

“We’ll just have to go back to the drawing board, analyse the situation and come back with the sparkle we showed earlier in the season, something I’m confident we can achieve.”