Coach Igesund backs charges
Johannesburg - Moroka Swallows coach Gordon Igesund says his on-form charges have a good chance of beating Mamelodi Sundowns' star-studded outfit at Dobsonville Stadium on Saturday evening.
While there have been ups and downs in their progress in the league over the past decade, Swallows are keen for some early success to match their early season performances.
The match will be the pick of the weekend's Telkom Knockout Last 16 clashes.
Swallows have not won a trophy since 2008 and need four wins in this tournament for the TKO title and the R4.25 million cheque.
"We have got just as much chance as they have," said Igesund.
"It's no secret that individually Sundowns have a great squad, but we have got a strong team with plenty of depth.
"But this is a great opportunity for any team to salvage some silverware and we are no different."
Both sides met in the league earlier this season with Sundowns winning 4-0.
The Birds have gone five matches unbeaten since then and have climbed up to third place in the Premiership standings.
This is a huge improvement for the once-dominant Soweto giants who narrowly survived relegation on the final day last season.
Igesund has bolstered his side well, having acquired the services of the experienced Macbeth Sibaya, David Mathebula and Mpho Maleka to lend support to talisman Bafana Bafana veteran forward Siyabonga Nomvethe.
"We got hammered but it was a game of two halves and could have gone either way and could have been two up at some stage," Igesund said.
"But we have grown since then and have a hand-picked team that will be fighting for a top eight finish."
Meanwhile, Sundowns go back five seasons to their last cup success and are the league's biggest under-achievers despite the players that the club signs every season.
Their coach Johan Neeskens seeks to change the side's fortunes.
"We don't feel any pressure, but we are a team that has underachieved," said Neeskens.
"I've been happy with the team so far, but we do need to improve from the league draw against Arrows last weekend.
"I've discussed some things with the team that I wasn't happy about."
The Brazilians will be hoping to have striker Lebohang Mokoena and defender Ramahlwe Mphahlele fit from their respective knocks for the fixture.
Swallows have one injury concern with Chenene set to miss out, while Sibaya will serve a one match suspension after picking up three yellow cards.