Swallows back in top flight football
SWALLOWS FC on Sunday overcame pressure from Lithabaneng Golden to secure a 2-1 win over Rovers and made their return to top flight football.
They joined Galaxy, who were promoted with two games to spare as the two A Division teams that have been promoted to the premier league.
The Mazenod side went into the weekend’s matches a point ahead of second placed Lithabaneng Golden and in need of a victory.
Swallows lost just once in seven games in the first round but struggled to maintain their form in the second round and nearly failed to secure promotion.
General manager, Tšepo Joale, admitted that his side got jitters in the run-in with Lithabaneng Golden, but they were delighted to finally return to the elite league.
“It has been a rough journey that required us to exert extra effort to get promotion to the premier league,” Joale said.
“Running a team without sponsors is difficult and it means investing our small savings to help the team survive.”
Despite all the financial challenges, Joale is convinced that the talented Mazenod players made life easier for the team as they did not have to search outside their community for players.
“The talent that we have in Mazenod made life easy as we did not have to spend money on players coming from outside the community,” he said.
“It almost looked like the pressure got to us in the second round and there were divisions between the players and management but we sat down to fix the problems.”
A Division Management Committee public relations officer, Mothusi Letsie, said the 2017/18 season was had challenges but was hugely successful because three teams would be promoted.
This is after Sandawana were disqualified from the Premier League earlier this season and left a void which will be filled in the play-offs involving two teams from the A Division.
The two teams are Ketane who finished as Runners-up in the Northern Stream and Lithabaneng Golden from the Southern Stream.
“We had a few incidents where we suspended players of Mangau for attacking a referee when they played against Lithabaneng Golden. We also had delays that were caused by the heavy rainfalls which were beyond our control but it was largely a good season from an administration point of view,” Letsie said.
Letsie however, said he was disappointed that Rovers and Mphatlatsane had been relegated considering the two sides’ history in top flight football.
Rovers were in the premier league in the 2016/17 season but have now slipped two division in two successive years.
“It’s painful to part ways with these two teams when you consider their history yet we take solace in that same fact that they will bounce back,” Letsie said.