Sibongiseni Gumbi
Football Writer
2 minute read
15 Jun 2022
5:15 pm

Swallows complete successful U-turn as they retain Premiership status

Sibongiseni Gumbi

Swallows had to win to survive and they did.

Yagan Sasman (l) celebrates scoring the goal that ultimately kept Swallows up. Picture: Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix.

Swallows FC were successful on Wednesday in their attempt to avoid relegation to the Glad Africa Championship through the playoffs.

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The Dube Birds needed nerves of steel to survive the challenge set to them by the University of Pretoria, who were their biggest rivals in the three-team playoffs mini-league.

Going into the last game on Wednesday afternoon, Swallows needed to win while their visitors at Lucas Moripe Stadium needed a draw to take the 16th spot in the DStv Premiership for next season.

A 1-0 win via former Kaizer Chiefs defender Yagan Sasman’s second half strike was enough to keep the Soweto side in the top flight. 

Swallows had the better chances in the first half with the experienced Mwape Musonda failing to connect with a header properly in front of Thakasani Mbanjwa, the AmaTuks keeper. 

Kagiso Malinga also had a chance but also could not connect properly with the ball for his shot to trouble Mbanjwa. 

AmaTuks also threatened in the last minutes of the first half, but nothing came of the chances they created. The Pretoria side looked comfortable with the game remaining scoreless.

AmaTuks’ best chance came in the 58th minute when a long ball from Siyanda Msani found Etiosa Ighodaro through on goal. Jody February was quick off his line to narrow the angle for the Nigerian attacker and he sent his effort over. 

A few minutes later, Swallows took the lead through an unlikely source in Sasman. He was in the right place at the right time to fire in a ball which was not defended well by Tuks from a corner and beat Mbanjwa to his left. 

Soon after that goal, Swallows had to take off Wandisile Letlabika who had suffered a head injury, His place was taken by Givemore Khupe. 

The Swallows goal dug AmaTuks from their slumber and they tried to look for a way back into the game knowing that a draw would be enough for them to secure a top flight spot. 

They defaulted to playing long balls trying to find their tall attackers up front but Swallows managed to deal with their threat.