Marques fighting to save job
Zeca Marques (Gallo Images)
Johannesburg - Moroka Swallows coach Zeca Marques has two games to save his job following the alarming decline of the recent MTN8 Cup winners.
Swallows CEO Leon Prins intimated as much when he announced in a statement on Tuesday that the coach who suceeded Gordon Igesund this season and catapulted himself into the limelight by disrobing and hurling his jacket to the ground each time The Birds scored a goal, had offered his resignation following Friday's dismal 3-1 home defeat against SuperSport United at the Dobsonville Stadium.
It was the eighth game in a row from which the "Birds" have failed to gain a victory, while tasting bitter defeat in their last four outings.
"After the disasterous display against SuperSport," said Prins, "we would be lying if we did not admit to feeling alarm and concern over the situation.
"It was a bitter pill to swallow because SuperSport were not playing well either.
"Zeca Marques is a gentleman and he has the best interests of the club at heart," added the Swallows CEO. "That is why he approached us after the latest dismal display and offered to step down from his position as head coach.
"The Swallows management, however, is a responsible body and not moved to make hasty or reckless decisions. With this in mind, we turned down Zeca's offer pending a review of the situation after the remaining two Premier League games this year."
And Prins made it quite clear that Marques' head was on a block when he declared that "after 24 months in which the club has made a remarkable recovery from near-relegation and embarked on an upward trend of success, coming within a whisker of becoming champions last season, the current crisis cannot be allowed to continue."
During the two-year revival of Swallows, Marques acted as the assistant to Gordon Igesund until the charismatic coach moved on with what he described at the time as "a strong measure of sadness and reluctance" to accept the post of Bafana head coach in place of the sacked Pitso Mosimane.
Marques began his tenure on an enthusiastic high note and seemed to be maintaining the momentum engendered by Igesund when The Birds annexed the early-season MTN8 title - the club's first major success in years.
But success may hove gone to the team and its mentors' heads and the rot began to set in with a vengeance.
"We have a highly talented and capable squad of players who have let themselves and the club down for no apparent good reason following the MTN triumph," said Prins, "but I believe they have the character and ability to rectify the situation."
In the meantime, Prins disclosed that former Orlando Pirates midfielder, Lebohang Mothibantwa, was training with Swallows and a decision will be taken shortly on whether to sign him.