Birds set to fly high

Meshack Motloung

Meshack Motloung

Moroka Swallows last night embarked on an ambitious plan to make the Birds one of the most respected and feared sides in the Premiership in the new season.

They announced a new coach, new players, new public relations officer and a new logo.

The Birds pulled out all stops to bring in coach Julio Cesar Leal Junior, who has signed a three-year contract with the club.

Leal, who has been in the country for two weeks, has won the Under-20 World Cup with Brazil, was a technical assistant to former Bafana Bafana coach Carlos Alberto Parreira in the 2006 World Cup in Germany and also coached top Brazilian teams such as Flamengo and Fluminese. He saved AmaZulu from relegation in the 2006-2007 season.

The coach will be responsible for the Birds' first team, scouting for players and seeing to it that the youth development structures improve.

The side's new brand manager, Siyabonga Sangweni, said he was delighted to be part of Swallows.

"It's a wonderful opportunity to be in the Swallows fold, a team with a rich history and a strong brand. It has been around for over 60 years," he said.

In the quest to reposition the Swallows brand, the club will be focusing on becoming a lifestyle as much as a football brand.

Swallows boss Leon Prins said: "As with all great clubs that have a rich history, there have been good and bad times. We have continued to achieve success in many ways and our quest is to become a major force in South African football."

The new players from Brazil are Davi Rancan, Igor Alves and Vinicius Da Silva.

Local newcomers are Daniel Hlabangane, Ryan Botha and Morgan Shivambu.

Those retained include Alan Thomas, Alton Meiring, Bevan Fransman, Cecil Oersen, Edward Malinga, Goodman Mazibuko, Greg Etafia, Ivan Winstanley, James Mayinga, Lefa Tsutsulupa, Mark Haskins, Meshack Shili, Odwa Pato, Ramahlwe Mphahlele, Sandile Ndlovu and Sbusiso Themba.