Swallows’ Matlaba eyes improved season

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Swallows fullback Thabo Matlaba believes the team has what it takes to build on last season’s performances and even do better.

‘The Birds’ returned to the topflight last term and finished in the top eight after winning eight games and drawing 20. They only succumbed to two defeats in their 30 outings and Matlaba is convinced they could improve in the coming season.

“I was quite happy with the way we played last season. There’s a lot of positives to take from the past season and then do better in the new season.

“We obviously learnt a lot as a group. We know what to do going into the coming season,” an upbeat Matlaba told FARPost in a telephonic interview.

Swallows recently announced that they would be retaining the services of the experienced duo of Lebogang Mokoena and Vuyo Mere.

Matlaba added that the blend of experience and youth was quite key last season.

“We have quite a balanced squad and had a nice mix of experience and youth. For us, the senior players, it was always about encouraging youngsters.

“We didn’t need anyone to tell us to pull up our socks, we knew exactly what we needed to do. We were aware of what we had to give to the team. We had to push the young boys,” he said.

Swallows recently started their pre-season training preparations. The former Orlando Pirates and Black Leopards defender said they were hard at work gearing up for the new season.

‘Maswaiswai’ finished sixth in their debut topflight campaign and will meet Orlando Pirates in this season’s MTN8 quarter-finals.

Meanwhile, Swallows recently confirmed the signing of midfielder Khethukuthula Ndlovu from GladAfrica Championship side Uthongathi FC.

Ndlovu became the second player to sign on the dotted line for Swallows, who have already brought in former Pirates midfielder Thandani Ntshumayelo on a one-year deal.

The Soweto outfit recently lost the services of Given Thibedi, who returned to Kaizer Chiefs after his loan spell had ended. Steady defender Njabulo Ngcobo also joined Chiefs.

RELATED STORY: How Jerry Sikhosana taught Thabo Matlaba to use his left foot

By Mthokozisi Dube