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Swallows searching high and low for a coach that will make their summer

Swallows FC players celebrate a goal during the 2021 MTN8 match against Orlando Pirates in August 2021. Picture: Sydney Mahlangu, BackapagePix

After underperforming coach Brandon Truter and his entire support staff were sent packing on Sunday night, speculation was rife about the possible replacements in Swallows’ nest.

CAPE TOWN – Now that Swallows FC have plumbed the depths of despair, it might be good to get back together with an ex, as the club’s capricious chairperson David Mogashoa plots the team’s resurgence.

The Soweto-based Swallows were once ranked among the most successful clubs in South Africa. Now it has nosedived to rock bottom on the Premiership standings. After 12 matches, the team has one lousy win.

The dreadful run of form has raised the ire of the Dube Birds faithful, whose pressure contributed to the axing of coach Brandon Truter on Sunday evening, hours after Swallows suffered a humiliating 3-1 defeat by cross-town rivals Kaizer Chiefs in the Soweto derby.

ALSO READ: Swallows FC fire coach and entire coaching staff after poor results

Last week, Mogashoa started feeling the heat when he learnt that supporters were planning to vent their feelings at a protest outside Dobsonville Stadium before the start of the Chiefs clash on Sunday. He threatened to sell the club if the supporters went ahead with the protest.

“We cannot have that. They cannot decide to take matters into their own hands in this fashion,” said Mogashoa. “If this is what they want, then maybe I should sell the club, and they can take over.”

After Truter and his entire support staff were sent packing on Sunday night, speculation was rife about the possible replacements in Swallows’ nest.

Two of the names that came to the fore were former Swallows coaches Gavin Hunt and Gordon Igesund. During their tenures, both significantly raised the profile of the once mighty Swallows by winning trophies.

ALSO READ: Swallows spiral as TS Galaxy exit relegation zone

It raises the question if Swallows should court the attention of an ex or turn to a new flame?

There may be five options, two exes and three others, for Swallows when scouting replacements for Truter.

Hunt seems to be the popular choice on social media, but he is presently employed by erratic Chippa United. Their chairman Siviwe Mpengesi has a gunslinger mentality with a penchant for firing coaches at the drop of a hat.

Hunt is presently suspended because of poor results over the last while. It would seem his stay at Chippa is hanging by a thread. He is, nevertheless, one of South Africa’s most successful coaches, and if left to his own devices, he can produce results.

Before joining Chippa, Hunt had a spell at Chiefs. His stay at the family-run club was unspectacular even though he guided the Chiefs, rather miraculously, to the final of the Caf Champions League.

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It has not become apparent what problems Hunt is experiencing at Chippa but gauging from past post match comments, the players were not heeding his advice.

Hunt would prove a good fit at Swallows whom he previously coached from 2002 to 2007.

Igesund, the other name that has sprung up in the past few hours, was named as a candidate for the coaching post at Swallows just over a month ago when Swallows placed Truter on “special leave”.

Igesund’s name also came to the fore when Safa sacked Bafana Bafana coach Molefi Ntseki a few months ago.

Since his appointment at Highlands Park (now TS Galaxy) four years ago, Igesund has been out of the mainstream of professional football. He is nevertheless one of the most decorated coaches in SA. He has won the Premiership with four different clubs, two of which were rather unfashionable outfits.

Another local option would be Cavin Johnson, who until a few months ago was Pitso Mosimane’s assistant at 10-time African champions Al Ahly. After a year, the former Platinum Stars, SuperSport United, AmaZulu and Black Leopards coach returned to SA unexpectedly.

ALSO READ: Swallows dump Bucs out of MTN8

He has a record for preparing teams to play attacking football and has always ensured that sound structures were in place for development. He has been given credit for “discovering” former Bafana playmaker Steven Pienaar.

Of late, Johnson has been linked with Orlando Pirates, but for now, it seems hearsay, and he is still without a job.

Swallows may extend their recruitment far and wide and opt for a foreigner to turn their fortunes around. For many years, several foreigners were at the helm.

Names like Walter Rautmann (Austria), Eddie Lewis, Mich d’Avray (both England), Walter da Silva (Brazil), Viktor Bondarenko (Russia), Julio Cesar Leal (Brazil), Rainer Zobel (Germany) and Zeca Marques (Portugal) spring to mind.

There are several foreigners in the market for coaching positions, and the list includes well-known coaches like Josef Zinnbauer (ex-Pirates), Adel Amrouche (ex-Kenya and Botswana), Herve Renard (ex-Morocco, Saudi Arabia), Ruud Krol (ex-Pirates) and Welshman Cameron Toshack, who has been linked to Pirates.

Zinnbauer and Krol stand out as the best foreign candidates to shape Swallows’ fortunes.

The German-born Zinnbauer guided Pirates to the MTN8 title two years ago, and for most of his time there, his teams produced an exciting and fearless style of play. During his watch, the team suffered a plethora of injuries, and they were never able to rediscover their past form.

Zinnbauer, however, believed he was in the process of rebuilding when the axe loomed. He had strong ideas about the state of SA football and that may suggest how serious he was about coaching Pirates.

Dutch legend Krol lifted three trophies during his time at Pirates a decade ago. Since then, he has worked at several African clubs.

In a recent radio interview, he expressed a keenness to return to Mzansi and said he had a good knowledge of SA football which would be useful if he could land a coaching gig here again.

The ball is now in Mogashoa’s court. Who will he be flying into Swallows’ nest?


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