NO PANIC: Top striker Siyabonga Nomvethe is not leaving the Birds, say club management. Picture: Gallo Images
Moroka Swallows boss Leon Prins yesterday quashed reports suggesting his side could lose talisman Siyabonga Nomvethe for free when the season ends in May.
Prins admitted that he was aware that most of his players’ contracts, including that of last season’s league leading goal scorer Nomvethe, would expire in June and that most could walk free if the Soweto outfit didn’t start negotiating soon. But he insisted the Dube Birds had already set the negotiations wheels in motion.
“It’s an ongoing process as we speak,” he said. “We’re talking to the players and we’re confident that we’ll keep most of them.
“In terms of Nomvethe and other key players for us, we don’t have a headache. We’ll want to retain our key players so that we finish the season in a respectable position on the log.”
Swallows have already lost speedy winger Bennet Chenene, who signed a pre-contract agreement with SuperSport United last week.
Other players who could leave the Birds’ nest include first-choice keeper Greg Etafia and his understudy, Aubrey Mathibe.
Midfielders Sibusiso Kumalo, Oscar Machapa, Joseph Makhanya, David Mathebula, Macbeth Sibaya and Bongani Thwala, defenders Roger da Costa, Ashraf Hendricks, Rudi Isaacs, Shere Lekgothoane and Gilbert Mapenba, and striker Mpho Maleka also look set to go.
Swallows finished the first half of the season on 11th spot on 17 points after 16 outings. That coach Zeca Marques has recently been blaming his players for a lack of commitment suggests a player exodus might be on the cards.
The poor run of form that The Birds have endured has prompted suggestions that the club needs to go into the transfer market the same way it did two years ago when it fought relegation, but Prins does not seem convinced that new brooms will necessarily sweep cleaner.
“We have the personnel to do the kind of job that can take us to the top five,” Prins said.
“I think what actually happened was that we lost focus going into the last six weeks of the year.”