birds ready for downs

AFTER a spate of poor results, underperforming Moroka Swallows players got a tongue-lashing from club chief executive Leon Prins and it seems to have done the trick for the Dube Birds.

Prins and club captain Lefa Tsutsulupa had a meeting with the players after the team's 2-1 loss to AmaZulu - a defeat Prins described as "embarrassing".

Since that meeting the players seem to have heeded the call to pull up their socks as they went on a good run of form, beating Maritzburg United 2-0 and Kaizer Chiefs 2-1.

The Birds are back at Dobsonville Stadium tonight for their Absa Premiership clash with Mamelodi Sundowns and striker Lungisani "Long Tom" Ndlela said they were ready for the Brazilians.

"We have all been working hard in preparation for this game and if we all work together and help each other out we stand a good chance of getting a win," Ndlela said yesterday.

"Personally, I'm trying to regain my match fitness since I had not played regular football for a long time."

Hot-shot Sundowns and Bafana Bafana striker Katlego Mphela, the league's top scorer with 10 goals, said the absence of a number of key players will not affect them.

"Matthew Booth is injured and Mabhuti Khenyeza is suspended, which is a bit of a blow for us but we have enough players to cover for them. The confidence is high in the camp and hopefully we can carry it through to the Swallows game," Mphela said.

Swallows' Morgan Shivambu is suspended but Collins Mbesuma and Tsutsulupa should keep the Downs rearguard busy.

Downs also have Lebohang Mokoena and Papi Zothwane, who are capable of infiltrating the Birds defence.