Matlaba defends Swallows' record despite lack of goals

Thabo Matlaba of Swallows FC during the DStv Premiership match between SuperSport United and Swallows at Lucas Masterpieces Moripe Stadium on January 30 2021 in Pretoria. He admits the team needs to improve in scoring goals.
GUIDING HAND: Thabo Matlaba of Swallows FC during the DStv Premiership match between SuperSport United and Swallows at Lucas Masterpieces Moripe Stadium on January 30 2021 in Pretoria. He admits the team needs to improve in scoring goals.
Image: GALLO IMAGES/ LEFTY SHIVAMBU

Swallows FC defender Thabo Matlaba has strongly dismissed suggestions from certain quarters that the wheels are coming off for the high-flying Birds after a run of four successive draws in the league.

The last time Swallows won a league match was on January 16 when they narrowly beat Baroka FC 1-0. Their recent run has seen them drop eight points in draws with Chippa United‚ Mamelodi Sundowns‚ SuperSport United and AmaZulu.

The Birds have a relatively tough assignment ahead too‚ against Cape Town City at Cape Town Stadium on Sunday.

“I wouldn’t say the wheels are coming off‚” said former Orlando Pirates and Bafana Bafana defender Matlaba‚ who is part of the leadership group at Swallows, with the likes of captain Lebohang Mokoena and Vuyo Mere.

“To be honest‚ we are not too worried about the recent draws because at the beginning of the season we hadn’t planned to challenge for the league.

“We always go out there to try to win every game. Sometimes we don’t get it right, but we are not worried with what has happened over the last four matches.

“Even if we get another draw in our next match against Cape Town City this weekend‚ we won’t have a problem with that because the most important thing for us is not to lose matches or lose momentum.

“We don’t want to be discouraged by people who say we have too many draws. Look at our position on the log. We are doing great so far at the top half of the log with a team that is new in the PSL.”

During this lean four-match spell‚ the Birds have managed to score only three goals and Matlaba admitted this was an area they needed to improve on.

“In our last match‚ the coach touched on this issue of us not scoring goals. He told us we were doing great in terms of general play but we were not creating enough chances.

“But we are working on that this week in training before our match against Cape Town City. Scoring goals is what is missing and we need to get that right as midfielders and even defenders, so that we help our strikers.”

As one of the senior players‚ Matlaba said he enjoyed helping younger players get used to the rigours of the PSL.

“It’s all about respecting the other players and helping where we can, because we [the senior players] have enough experience of playing in the PSL. We must do everything to help the younger and inexperienced players so that the team can achieve what we want to achieve.

“The responsibility is not heavy on us as senior players. We help for the betterment of the players and the team. We were once helped by senior players when we started‚ so it’s a responsibility that I enjoy.”


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