After grabbing a late equaliser against Mamelodi Sundowns this past Saturday to remain level on points with the defending champions at the summit of the DStv Premiership log, similarities in the Swallows FC team with the historic Leicester City title-winning side are emerging, writes DEAN WORKMAN.
Beating bookmaker odds of 5,000/1, Leicsecter City claimed the 2015-16 Premier League title in what is widely described as one of the biggest sporting achievements in history. The Foxes, in just their second season back in the Premier League following promotion from the Championship in 2013-14, fought off competition from the big clubs to win one of the biggest leagues in the world.
In South Africa, newly promoted Swallows have now started the 2020-21 campaign so well that speculation is building as to whether the 2019-20 GladAfrica Championship winners can go all the way in the top flight.
After 13 games played, the Birds have won seven while drawing on six occasions to remain unbeaten and sit level with Downs and SuperSport United on 27 points, five ahead of fourth-placed Cape Town City.
The way Swallows picked up those early season points have been so impressive that coach Brando Truter bagged both of the first two Coach of the Month awards, while striker Ruzaigh Gamildien won the Player of the Month for November/December and sits second in the race for the Golden Boot with nine goals in 13 games.
EXCLUSIVE: @coach_rulani & Brandon Truter were classmates as they acquired their coaching badges. Catch @Masandawana vs @Moroka_Swallows LIVE on @Official_SABC1 & @SABCPortal Radio stations at 3PM tomorrow! #WeLoveItHere pic.twitter.com/c0skdkp9Lp
— SABC Sport (@SPORTATSABC) January 22, 2021
As with the Foxes, Swallows have a coach who earned his stripes with sides not necessarily always blessed with the greatest of riches, and has found a way of getting the best out of his squad without any so-called stars. While, in Gamildien, they appear to have a striker in the mould of Jamie Vardy, who looks to be making up for lost time in the top flight.
— Official PSL (@OfficialPSL) January 19, 2021
Swallows will be underdogs in the race for the league title as long as they remain in it and, with Sundowns, Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates all competing in Caf continental competitions, Turtuter’s men will almost certainly have an easier fixture list.
With all that’s gone on in the world over the past year and with all the Covid-19 uncertainties still ahead, Swallows may just be able to negotiate this unconventional environment and produce the type of fairy-tale ending similar to that of Leicester’s.
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