Jonty Mark

By Jonty Mark

Football Editor

Swallows-Sundowns postponed as Birds admit player dispute

'Management would like to assure everyone within and outside of the club that the process of finding one another will soon be found,' read a statement from Swallows.

Financially-troubled Moroka Swallows will not honour their remaining DStv Premiership fixtures of 2023, because of a dispute between the club and its players.

The Birds were supposed to play Mamelodi Sundowns on Wednesday at Loftus Versveld, but just hours before the scheduled 7.30pm kick off, the Premier Soccer League announced that the game had been called off.

“The Premier Soccer League has offcially notified today that Moroka Swallows … is unable to fulfil its scheduled DStv Premiership fixtures against Mamelodi Sundowns on 27 December … and … Golden Arrows on 30 December,” read a PSL statement.

“The league extends its sincere apologies to all stakeholders, including clubs, partners, media and spectators, for this unfortunate situation.”

Swallows later issued a statement confirming that they would not be playing.

“On behalf of Moroka Swallows FC, an apology is extended to all affected parties due to the cancellation of the following games against Mamelodi Sundowns FC and Golden Arrows FC,” read the Swallows statement.

“Due to an unresolved dispute between players and management, that resulted in management having to request cancellation of the two remaining games of this year from the PSL, to allow it time to correct the situation.

“Management would like to assure everyone within and outside of the club that the process of finding one another will soon be found. It has been resolved that no further details will be officially given until an update from the club is issued.”

No solution found

Swallows head coach Steve Komphela confirmed after Swallows’ 2-1 defeat to SuperSport on December 15 that his players had not trained for ten days before the game due to a pay dispute.

“I am trying to be part of the solution,” Komphela told journalists after that game.

“I could have taken an easy decision to say I am stepping out of this, but do I help anyone (doing that)?

“Do I help the players, the team? This is what was happening every day. I reported to training, I was there to try and sort out the challenges, then the players would go back (home). There was not a single day I was not at work.

“For ten days we were not training, but I was there from morning to evening. I had to do my job. I was trying to solve the problem.

“I had to send a voice note to the players, to tell them to report for duty. It would have been bad not to honour the fixture. The result is bad but do you want to tell me what is worse? I will take a bashing trying to protect the game.

“We could have taken the easy way out and cancelled the match … but we are trying to solve the problem. Where we are at is a culmination of what has been happening. We can’t hide from this.”

Access premium news and stories

Access to the top content, vouchers and other member only benefits