birds target young fans

Meshack Motloung

Meshack Motloung

We are in the hip-hop age and Moroka Swallows, one of the oldest clubs in the elite league, is trying to cash in on the hype.

That is the major reason why they have engaged the services of the super, young and enthusiastic Siyabonga "Siya" Sangweni as the club's new brand manager.

At the age of 29 he is bubbling with ideas to bring youthful supporters to the Birds nest and is optimistic he will succeed.

He has set himself a target of three years to see the once beautiful Birds from the Dube aviary with a majority of youngsters among its supporters.

"Although the idea of getting youngsters to the club has been bandied around for some time, I think I must activate it and with the help of [general manager] Sipho Xulu we can manage to bring the youngsters on board as Swallows supporters," Sangweni said.

He said their aim was to make the brand appealing to the youth in order to win their confidence and to introduce a number of innovations to the club that will attract the young ones.

These include having entertaining events before and after games and inviting players and their wives, and creating a vibe.

Sangweni said competition was tough in the Premiership but they were determined to match their competitors pound for pound.

"We're also going to open up more channels of communication between management and our supporters and engage branch chairmen in marketing strategies."

Sangweni is also looking at Swallows supporters composing their own war songs like Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates fans.

He pointed out that their target will be schools in Soweto where they will sell the idea to the pupils and from there they will move to other areas to get more support.

He said though it would not be that easy, because most of the youth were supporting Kaizer Chiefs, they were going to come with some packages to attract them to the Birds.

"We're one of the oldest clubs in the country and we need to have our own home ground. At the moment we're looking at Orlando Stadium, which is nearing completion but we'll be going back to Moroka Jabavu, which is our original home," he said.

Orlando-born Sangweni added that they were still negotiating with authorities for Moroka Jabavu Stadium, which will be within walking distance for most of their supporters. This stadium was Swallows' slaughterhouse in the early 1970s and it used to attract one of the biggest crowds when the side played there.

If things go according to plan for the Birds and they are able to reconstruct the stadium and build a club house, academy and training grounds, they can attract a number of youngsters from the townships to the club.