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Kerr refuses to blame off-field drama for Birds' struggles

Play-offs offer Swallows second chance after dramatic draw at Chiefs

Sihle Ndebele Journalist
Swallows FC coach Dylan Kerr.
Swallows FC coach Dylan Kerr.
Image: Lefty Shivambu/Gallo Images

While he’s optimistic that they will win the play-offs and remain in the Premiership, Swallows coach Dylan Kerr feels the club’s off-field chaos played no role in their poor form.

Swallows managed to get another shot at saving their top-flight status after a 2-all draw with Kaizer Chiefs in  a dramatic last game of the season at FNB Stadium on Saturday.

Chiefs netted first via Swallows old boy Njabulo Ngcobo early in the first period but two Dillon Solomons spot-kicks in the second stanza seemed to have sealed the deal for the Birds until Bernard Parker curled in a stunning free-kick to make it 2-2 in the 85th minute.

As confirmed by SA Football Players Union deputy general secretary Calvin Motloung a fortnight ago, Swallows players refused to train because of unpaid salaries. Many felt the chaos at the club was the main reason they found themselves battling relegation. However, Kerr doesn’t think so.

Swallows face Cape Town All Stars at Dobsonville Stadium in their first play-off tie on June 1.

“Everybody assumes to know the issues we supposedly have at Swallows but if you look back at every game, that [the off-field chaos] didn’t affect the players. If you have issues you can’t play like that. We put ourselves in this position because of lack of goals,” Kerr said.

“We have to survive. It’s not over yet. We have two teams that want to beat Swallows and join the Premiership. We have to make sure they don’t and we are believing we will do it.”

Pretoria University and All Stars are in the play-offs after finishing second and third in the second tier.

Swallows’ first penalty was dramatic as referee Masixole Bambiso initially didn’t award it until he consulted with his fourth official, Joseph Makhubo, who advised him that it was a penalty after supposedly checking television replays. The penalty was the correct call because Chiefs’ Phathutshedzo Nange, who was red-carded for the incident, used his hand to clear the ball off the line.

On Sunday, Safa head of referees Abdul Ebrahim and PSL acting CEO Mato Madlala couldn’t be reached to clarify whether the rules allow match officials to use TV replays before making decisions.

Play-offs fixtures (all at 3pm)

May 28: All Stars v AmaTuks, Athlone Stadium

June 1: Swallows v All Stars, Dobsonville Stadium

June 4: AmaTuks v Swallows, Tuks Stadium

June 8: AmaTuks v All Stars, Tuks Stadium

June 11: All Stars v Swallows, Danie Craven Stadium

June 15: Swallows v AmaTuks, Dobsonville Stadium

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