Truter dares to dream as newcomers Swallows FC continue to soar

Brandon Truter of Moroka Swallows.
Brandon Truter of Moroka Swallows.
Image: Veli Nhlapo

Brandon Truter is coming up with some additions to his gameplans at Swallows FC because he knows the second half of the season is always tougher.

The remarkable story of the Birds’ dream return to the top-flight is yet to see a defeat. Swallows have gone 17 matches unbeaten in league and cup matches since their promotion‚ an unbeaten run that extends to 24 games going back to last season winning the GladAfrica Championship.

Barring a spectacular capitulation in their remaining 14 matches‚ third-placed Swallows are safe from relegation on 30 points in the DStv Premiership. They can even think about challenging for a cup as they meet Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivhandila in the Nedbank Cup last-16 at Peter Mokaba Stadium on Friday (kickoff 6pm).

Yet lately Swallows have found the results a margin harder to come by‚ drawing five league matches‚ their only win in that period against NFD Cape Umoya in the Nedbank last-32. Truter was asked if‚ as their unbeaten run extends into astronomical territory‚ it can add pressure for the rookies.

“The five draws – yes‚ we are looking at that‚” the coach said.

“We’re one of the defensively sound teams in the league. But scoring and finishing has become a bit of a sticking point for us‚ and we are working on it.

“And at this moment‚ yes‚ the mindset maybe has to change. Maybe with all this talking about this unbeaten run‚ the thinking is about not losing a game – and that shouldn’t be our first point of reference. Our first point of reference should be winning games.

“But that is what we set up for – even the Cape Town City game [a 1-1 draw on Sunday]‚ we scored first and had chances to take all three points but finishing let us down again.

“So we are a team going out to win. And it’s the opponents who are setting up to stop us doing that. And if you put the draws into perspective‚ they’re away to City‚ away to Pirates‚ away to SuperSport and away to Sundowns.

“So it’s a bit of an unfair comparison. It’s clubs who season-in and season-out are competing for the title‚ and we are amongst them still‚ and it’s all away games.”

Truter said pitting his wits against the top coaches in the country in his first PSL season has been a growing experience.

“I think in the GladAfrica‚ where people do a lot of analysis on teams‚ I started to think this way. I think about how the coaches think. You can read into situations that there are some coaches who do not change.

“In the GladAfrica‚ facing those coaches week-in and week-out you could see their patterns‚ you see their thinking and you could expect and see what they are going to do next.

“This season I’m learning and seeing new things and trends. And the test with the different coaches week-in and week-out and how they are thinking is of a high standard. Any coach in this league has to be tactically superior.

“If you play [Maritzburg coach Ernst] Middendorp‚ you can use four systems in one match. If you play Sundowns there are three coaches who think differently and all the time tinkering with the system and line-up‚ and even the playing philosophy.

“From that point of view I am growing. ... We’re entering the final straight of this marathon‚ where it's always tougher. There are some new things we want to apply differently.

“Because people are seeing our structure – you can see it in in the amount of draws. Tactically it’s becoming very difficult. But it’s nice. You have to think out of the box too.”

Swallows have defenders Wandisile Letlabika out and Thabo Matlaba uncertain to play against TTM.