By ELLIOT MATHYE
The Telkom Knockout has so far been kind to the local Premier League’s fancied teams. All of the “Big Four” – Chiefs, Pirates, Sundowns and three-time league champs SuperSport United are through to the next round.
One team which would argue for a place among the Big Four is Moroka Swallows, which in the years gone by used to be among the country’s Big Three, with fellow Soweto giants Pirates and Chiefs.
Swallows have had a difficult season so far, losing more games than any other team in the PSL, hence their bottom position in the Absa Premiership – one point from five matches!
To add salt to injury, the Dube Birds also lost in the final of the MTN8 to Orlando Pirates. Needless to say, the Birds will be looking for salvation in yet another cup competition as they host Mpumalanga Black Aces in the Telkom Knockout at the Dobsonville Stadium tonight.
However, they will have to soldier on without their key player and captain, striker Siyabonga Nomvethe. Also out is midfielder Shaun Haschick, who also knows quiet a great deal about scoring goals.
Birds are however happy to welcome their regular captain Lefa Tsutsulupa back from injury. Like Nomvethe, Tsutsulupa knows how to raise the morale of the team. He says Swallows will try hard to regain their confidence tonight.
“We have to buckle down and start winning. We are lacking confidence and maybe the inexperience of our youthful squad is showing,” he said.
“The best we can do against Swallows is to work hard as a team, and minimise on technical errors in all departments – from the back to the front.”
Meanwhile, Black Aces defender Marco Da Silva warned Swallows to be cautious of them.
“We have nothing to lose; our confidence is high. They are not doing too well in the league and I am sure they will come at us looking for a win,” said Da Silva.
“So far they have done well in cup competitions, but this time their journey ends here as I don’t see them flying over us.”
Aces are more confident after their good performance in their last league match, in which they gave Orlando Pirates their first league loss via a 1–0 defeat.