What now for the Birds?

DEJECTED MAN: Moroka Swallows’ Siyabonga Nomvethe shows his disappointment after the Absa Premiership promotion/playoff match against Black Leopards at Thohoyandou Stadium. GALLO IMAGES
DEJECTED MAN: Moroka Swallows’ Siyabonga Nomvethe shows his disappointment after the Absa Premiership promotion/playoff match against Black Leopards at Thohoyandou Stadium. GALLO IMAGES

Coach left to face the music as chairman ducks media

MUCH of the focus after Moroka Swallows were relegated on Sunday afternoon turned to beleaguered chairman Leon Prins, who had made the five-hour trip to Thohoyandou Stadium hoping the Dube Birds would still be hanging on when they went home.

However, it was left to Craig Rosslee, who arrived at the club with six Premier League matches left, to save Swallows from the drop, to answer all the difficult questions.

What now? Will you stay? Will Prins sell the club? Rosslee did not have all the answers.

The one thing he seemed certain of was that he was not to blame for one of South Africa’s oldest teams being sent to the National First Division.

“I don’t know what the plans from management are,” the coach said when asked whether he had any interest in staying with the Dube Birds.

“I had not discussed anything to say what would happen if we stayed up or got relegated.

“Obviously, if we stayed up I would have loved to be offered to stay, but that is not the case.

“At the end of the day, coaching is my passion, but the NFD is a difficult task.”

While Rosslee was hinting that he might not be willing to continue learning the tricks of the trade in a lower division, Prins walked up and down the changerooms, his mind preoccupied following a narrow 1-0 defeat to Black Leopards.

He did not break his silence and was probably relieved that Swallows met their fate away from home.

The chairman has had volatile exchanges with irate fans who have alternately bayed for his blood or pleaded with him to walk away.

There was no one to speak for the players, who buried their heads in their hands at the final whistle and hurried out of the match venue as what had long been expected to be the outcome of their horrendous season was confirmed.

A man who is still probably learning the ins and outs of the Soweto club was left to paint the grim picture, partly because he was under obligation to speak to the press.

“It’s very traumatic and sad for the players, especially to lose in this manner and go out with one match still to be played,” Rosslee said.

“But if anything, they should have had the experience in the team to see this thing through. Look at Juventus, who are in the [Uefa] Champions League and have seven guys over 35 in their side.

“I had to use a guy like [Siyabonga] Nomvethe, who, at 37, ran around and showed the desire to succeed.

“In this sport, if you are good enough you are old enough.

“The players have to look at themselves and ask: ‘Did we apply ourselves the right way?’

“Maybe it was one game too far for us.”

-Mazola Molefe

Leave a Reply