Birds continue to fly high

Ruzaigh Gamildien © Gallo Images

Swallows FC’s strong return to the top flight of South African football continued on Wednesday night when they defeated Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivhandila 2-0 at Thohoyandou Stadium.

The Birds are in a three-way tie at the top of the DStv Premiership log thanks to goals from Ruzaigh Gamildien and Njabulo Ngcobo, while TTM are still awaiting their first win since buying their way into the elite league.

Swallows had a great chance to claim the lead in just the sixth minute when Kamohelo Mahlatsi broke through the Tshakhuma defence and went one-on-one with Washington Arubi – his shot had the beating of the goalkeeper but was cleared off the line by the hosts.

Arubi was called into action again in the 17th minute when he denied Ruzaigh Gamildien, while four minutes later the same Swallows attacker sent a shot on target direct from a free kick, but the ‘keeper brilliantly tipped the effort onto the woodwork and his defence cleared the rebound.

Swallows were making all of the attacking play, but Tshakhuma offered a threat on the counter – particularly in the 34th minute when an attack down their right flank saw both Lerato Lamola and Justin Shonga have efforts on goal denied by Birds ‘keeper Sanele Tshabalala.

Swallows ended the half with momentum on their side, but a strong penalty appeal after Moeketsi Makhanya was brought down was waved away by the referee, leaving the game goalless at the break.

The Limpopo hosts had the first shot in anger of the second half, with Mogakolodi Ngele’s free kick in the 54th minute brilliantly saved by Tshabalala.

Swallows, though, continued to look the likelier scorers and were finally rewarded for their persistence just before the hour mark, as Gamildien finally got the better of Arubi with a fine finish to make it 1-0.

Numerous half-chances followed at either end, with both Tshabalala and Arubi busy men between the poles, but ultimately the game swung decisively to the Birds in the second minute of injury time when Njabulo Ngcobo finished off a counter attack to complete the 2-0 score line.

The teams will return to DStv Premiership action later this month, with Swallows hosting TS Galaxy on Saturday, November 21 and TTM welcoming Limpopo rivals Baroka FC the following day.

Tshakhuma TM 0
Swallows FC (0) 2 (Gamildien 59’, Ngcobo 90+2’)

TSHAKHUMA: Arubi, Thopola (Lukhubeni 75’), Ndengane, Nonyane, Mabotja, Lamola, Maphangule, Timm, Ngele (Mnyamane 75’), Ngema, Shonga (Manzini 67’)

SWALLOWS: Tshabalala, Mere, Sibiya, Ngcobo, Shwabule (Ritchie 80’), Thibedi (Seabi 67’), Mthethwa, Makhanya (Malinga 63’), Gamildien (Letlabika 80’), Mahlatsi, Mokoena