Swallows welcome Chiefs to ‘dirt track’ Dobsonville pitch
Much-derided playing surface to take centre stage for Soweto derby between Swallows and Chiefs
Pitso Mosimane was so incensed with the state of the pitch at Dobsonville Stadium a few weeks ago that he called for the Soweto venue to be closed and banned from hosting top-flight matches.
But the former Mamelodi Sundowns coach’s call was not heeded by the Premier Soccer League (PSL) and the pitch is expected to again take centre stage when second-placed Swallows FC host Kaizer Chiefs in a league match on Tuesday night.
The showers that have swept across Johannesburg over the past few days will not have helped matters and Swallows coach Brandon Truter conceded that even the home side could have a difficult time adapting to the pitch if the heavy rains have battered the surface.
“The Dobsonville pitch is not the easiest when it is wet, so the players will definitely feel it,” he said. “But it is our home game and of course we want to get the maximum points on offer, so that is what we will be going for.
“Chiefs are definitely on the up, they scored two goals [against Golden Arrows at the weekend]. So there is definitely a threat. But it is how we manage the game that will be the key.”
The Dobsonville venue would have been a hive activity and given Chiefs’ following, they would have dominated the stands.
Truter said that the absence of the fans has had a greater effect on Amakhosi than on any other club as the multitude of screaming supporters serve as their 12th player.
“It [playing in front of empty stands] does have an effect, but we [as Swallows] have managed it well,” he said.
“When the bio-bubble came and there were no crowds [last season], we were very successful in playing without the crowd. So this season continues like that. I think it [has] affected Chiefs a bit more because they are used to the big crowds, the crowds being the extra player and pushing them.
“We could see that in the bubble when there were no crowds and how it affected them [Chiefs surrendered the league title to Sundowns on the final day of the season after leading almost the entire campaign]. Maybe it is still on their minds, they are used to that [the packed stands cheering for them].”
Truter has plenty to ponder before kick off after playing to a draw against TS Galaxy on Saturday. Some of his players picked up knocks against TS Galaxy while some have to overcome fatigue before lining up against coach Gavin Hunt’s stuttering charges.
Swallows could regain the top spot with a win against Chiefs after they were knocked off their perch by leaders Sundowns on Sunday.
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