Portuguese coach Zeca Marques is gearing up for his first challenge as the man in charge of Premier Soccer League (PSL) club Moroka Swallows in the Gauteng Sports Challenge this weekend.
|Zeca Marques @ Backpagepix
Swallows will face Soweto rivals Kaizer Chiefs in one of the semifinals to be staged at Lucas Moripe Stadium at 12:15. Victory will see them through to the final where they will play the winner of the semifinal between Bidvest Wits and SuperSport United, set for 10am. All the matches will be televised live on SS4.
When the SA Football Association (Safa) came calling for Gordon Igesund to replace sacked Bafana Bafana coach Pitso Mosimane, Swallows had the choice to either go outside in search of a new coach or look from within.
Marques was about to follow Igesund as his assistant at Bafana, due to his good relationship and professional ties. They both have a common vision for the game, which somehow contributed significantly to the Swallows’ title chase last season, where the winner was decided on the final day. It was a titanic struggle between Swallows and Orlando Pirates.
With Igesund now gone to Bafana, Swallows president Leon Prins did not want to destabilise the team by bringing in a completely new face and opted for continuity in the coaching department.
Marques was chosen to replace Igesund as a head coach. Marques was "a man of the house" for quite a few years. Four years ago he worked as an assistant to German coach Rainer Zobel and after that Igesund decided to keep him on as a second coach, for the last two years.
The new Swallows coach has had a long career as a football coach. At Bidvest Wits he was responsible for the youth team of the university club during four seasons between 2001 and 2005.
On his appointment as Swallows boss, the Portuguese coach said it was his persistence, competence and loyalty to the club that earned him the trust of the directors. "I feel I deserve the appointment because I was part of the success last season," he said.
Marques aknowledged that expectations will be high, given the team’s run of success last season. That will also mean pressure on the coaching staff.
“My plan is to continue from where Gordon left off, because that has proved to be the best for the club. We came very close to winning the championship and lost it on the last day. That generated a lot of emotion among the fans," he said.
The new Swallows boss is a Level Four coach and has had coaching training in the Netherlands as well as in Brazil. Some of the aspects covered in his coaching training include team preparation, nutrition, sport psychology and neuro-linguistic programming.
“I wouldn’t want to make any promises before the start of the new season but, like any ambitious coach, I would like to win trophies with Swallows,” he said.