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Football | Absa Premiership

Thabo Nthethe © Backpagepix

Celtic, Swallows hope to end dry spell



Moroka Swallows and Bloemfontein Celtic will look to end their dry Absa Premiership spells when they turnout at the Botshabelo Stadium on Sunday afternoon, kick-off at 3:30pm.

The Phunya Sele Sele made history when they lifted their first ever Telkom Knockout trophy in late November, but have failed to turn the fruits of that outing to their domestic form.

A draw to SuperSport United and a loss to Free State Stars has left Celtic winless since Thabo Nthethe lifted the trophy at the Moses Mabhida Stadium, but their star midfielder Ruzaigh Gamildien believes it isn’t a post-tournament hangover.

“I wouldn’t call it a hangover (from the Telkom Knockout final), but both games were away and we are bad travelers. We have been unlucky but we are starting to pick up the points,” he says.

“Our next game is at home and we will definitely be going for the three points and hopefully against Black Leopards too.”

The Dube Birds, too, are experiencing a run they are eager to forget and Gamildien is ready to end 2012 on the right foot while adding to Swallows’ misery.

“I don’t know what is going on at Swallows but for us, after the cup final, the coach was worried about our mindset. He was encouraging us to continue pushing,” he adds.

“I think our mindset is still the same but the results have not gone our way.

“To end the year off well we have to win both games and by winning both it will leave us in a good position to come back fighting next year.”

Celtic’s latest bump in their league run cannot be compared to that of Swallows, who have only picked up three points out of a possible 21 and sit in 12th place on the log.

The poor results and criticism from the fans forced coach Zeca Marques to hand in his resignation, but only for club CEO Leon Prins to reject it.

Swallows’ Club PRO, Siya Sangweni, has confirmed that the discussions held during the week have left the squad with a clear picture of how to end the year.

“We held a meeting at the beginning of the week. It was a good conversation with the players and the coach,” he cites.

“We are hopeful that the conversation will assist in the team realising that we have six more points remaining for this year and that we need to win those games.

“Against Celtic they will need to move forward and collect the points. It has given us hope that the coach can instruct and achieve a positive result by the end of the year.”

Many expected that given Celtic’s winless run, now would be a good time for Swallows to bounce back.

“We are not worried that Celtic have not won (since their Telkom Knockout victory). We will not use that as a benchmark or parametre as we have not won in a long time too,” Sangweni adds.

“Against Celtic we will stick to our game plan. We have a good team and we are confident we can get a result.”

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