Birds aim to start 2010 with a bang

MOROKA Swallows are aiming to fly higher in the new season, starting with tonight's game against German giants VfL Wolfsburg.

MOROKA Swallows are aiming to fly higher in the new season, starting with tonight's game against German giants VfL Wolfsburg.

The sides meet during the Volkswagen Challenge Trophy at the new Nelson Mandela Sport Complex in Port Elizabeth. Kick-off is at 7pm.

Swallows, who assembled in Kempton Park at the weekend, expect a tough game despite Wolfsburg being minus Nigerian star Obafemi Martins and Algerian Karim Ziani.

Martins and Ziani are with their respective national teams, preparing for the Africa Cup of Nations finals in Angola, starting on January 10.

Swallows' influential defender Vincent Kobola said they wanted to start 2010 with a bang by winning the title in this tournament sponsored by the German motor manufacturers.

"It's a great honour for us to play against one of the top teams in the world, we hope to learn a lot from them, as much as they will learn something from us.

"We've been blowing hot and cold since the season started, which is not good for a club of Swallows' calibre. Our aim is to do well when the season resumes after the Africa Cup of Nations in Angola in February. We want to finish the season well inside the top eight bracket.

"After winning our last game of 2009 against Free State Stars in Dobsonville, we know we have raised the hopes of our supporters.

"We have to start being consistent in winning matches, which is why we also want to do well against the Germans."

Swallows brand manager Siyabonga Sangweni said the game will also help them in their preparations for the African Confederation Cup, starting in February.

Maswaiswai have been drawn against Pamplemousses of Mauritius in the first round of this continental club competition.

Swallows are the only South African side taking part in the tournament, with SuperSport United and Orlando Pirates under pressure to hoist the country's flag high in the African Champions League.

Pirates are the only Southern African side to have won the Champions League, in 1995. On the other hand, Chiefs won the Mandela Cup (now Confederation Cup) in 2001.

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