Tuks, Swallows geared for opening fixture

Moroka Swallows welcome the University of Pretoria to Dobsonville Stadium in the first weekend of the 2013/2014 Absa Premiership season on Saturday afternoon, kick-off at 15h00.

Both side’s transfer window period has been highlighted by the loss of key players with the Dube Birds notably losing two influential midfielders to SuperSport United before the transfer window even opened.

While the likes of David Mathebula and Bennett Chenene have left the Soweto side, three key players from the AmaTuks side who finished last season in eighth spot have left the club as well.

Last season’s top scorer Mame Niang, young player of the year Bongani Zungu and influential utility midfielder Aubrey Ngoma left for SuperSport United, Mamelodi Sundowns and Orlando Pirates respectively.

University of Pretoria captain Tebogo Monyai expressed that the first game is vitally important for every team and that it’s going to be difficult playing away from home.

Monyai, though, added that his side have done well away from home last season, and that they want to continue their good form on the road.

“The first game is always very important for every club and we are no different. We want to make sure that we start the season off well and win the first game,” said Monyai

“Swallows are one of the best teams in the league and we are playing them away, but last season we played very well away from home so we want to make sure that we continue the great form away from home and collect maximum points.”

Swallows lost some key players even before the transfer window opened, but the Tuks skipper feels that this doesn’t necessarily make their task any easier.

“You can’t undermine the team because they struggled a bit last season and lost a few key players, you can’t judge them based on that, every team in the PSL is strong and deserve to be here,” concluded the 33-year-old former Dube Birds captain.

Moroka Swallow captain Lefa Tsutsulupa shared the same views of his opponent, stating that Tuks will still be a strong side if not stronger despite losing some key players in the off period.

“Tuks are a strong team; they proved it already last season and I believe they will be stronger. They may have lost some players, but they are a professional side and every team in the league is competitive these days,” said Tsutsulupa.

“We respect them as opponents but this is our home game and we need to make a positive statement and set the tone for the rest of the season. We want to start on the right note because that will give us confidence and momentum going forward,” concluded the Dube Birds midfielder.

AmaTuks beat Moroka Swallows 3-2 in a thrilling encounter in the corresponding fixture last season.