'The plan was to challenge for the title this season,' says Truter as Swallows continue to fly low
Having finished a commendable sixth in his first premiership job last season, Swallows coach Brandon Truter started the new campaign with enthusiasm and ambitions to win honours, but he finds his team at the the lower end of the log and growing calls for his dismissal.
Back-to-back 1-0 defeats against rookies Sekhukhune United last week and TS Galaxy on Sunday has seen Swallows fly low, second from bottom on eight points from their one win, five draws, and five defeats in 11 matches.
It is a horrendous run of form that sees Truter looking over his shoulder, with his position at the club almost untenable, a far cry from last season when Swallows lost just two matches the entire season.
“The plan was to challenge for the title this season, challenge for honours and win a trophy in the second season, and that has always been my objective,” Truter said after Swallows conceded an early goal to Sphiwe Mahlangu in Mbombela on Sunday.
Swallows never recovered and lost by that solitary goal.
Swallows’ only win, 1-0 against Royal AM, came on the opening day in August.
Although they are playing good football, converting the opportunities they create has been their downfall.
They have scored just two goals, the other goal coming in a 1-1 draw at home against Stellenbosch in October, and have conceded 10 times in 11 matches.
They are undisputedly a team low on confidence.
Truter started the match against Galaxy with centre-back Givemore Khupe at right-back and, by his admission, that proved to be costly, as the goal came through the 21-year-old’s channel.
“Young Khupe, the first time on the right-back, you saw that he is not a right-back, and they got the goal,” said Truter.
“We have played some good football and had good moments, but one moment and they got the goal.
"The mentality and the will to win were evident, but getting the ball into the back of the net was the problem again today [Sunday].
“Our counter pressing was good, but the final ball, and getting it into the back of the net, and that is where we are lacking at the moment.”
Truter’s Swallows were flying high at this stage of the campaign last season.
They went top of the DStv Premiership log in November last year, despite playing to a goalless draw against the Owen Da Gama-coached Galaxy.
If it was not for their record-breaking 20 draws, mostly accrued from winning positions, Truter could have challenged eventual champions Mamelodi Sundowns to the bitter end.
But this season, it seems, there are “underlying issues” from within the team environment that are holding the team back, as Truter lamented.
“Football is easy to fix in terms of on the field and preparations, but there are underlying issues, and we need to get to that.
“We need to see what is happening. Maybe it is the lifestyle or tactical discipline. Maybe it is mentality and character, and the will to win and things like that.”
It was laughable at this stage of the season last year to think that Swallows and relegation could be mentioned in the same sentence this year, but that is the position Truter and his troops are in at the moment.
If you can’t beat your direct relegation rivals Galaxy, Chippa United, and lose to rookies Sekhukhune, who will Truter overcome to get Swallows back in the sky?
“All the teams are beatable,” he insists.
“We just have to get out of this rug. But all the teams are beatable in the PSL and we have proven it before.”
It does not get better for Swallows as they host an improving Kaizer Chiefs in Dobsonville on Sunday, but it is touch and go whether Truter will be on the bench in the Soweto derby.