Moroka Swallows F.C : A Comprehensive Look at the Club’s History

Romwald
Romwald
16 Min Read

Moroka Swallows Football Club is a South African professional football club based in Johannesburg. Founded in the 1940s by a trio of soccer enthusiasts, Ishmael Lesolang, Strike Makgatha, and Johnny Kubheka, the club has a rich history that spans over seven decades. Moroka Swallows is one of the oldest football clubs in South Africa and has a loyal fan base that has supported the team through thick and thin.

The club has had its fair share of highs and lows over the years, but it has remained a formidable force in the South African football scene. Moroka Swallows has won several domestic titles, including the National Professional Soccer League (NPSL) and Premier Soccer League (PSL) championships. Despite facing many challenges, including relegation to the lower divisions, the club has managed to bounce back and establish itself as a force to be reckoned with in South African football.

Key Takeaways

  • Moroka Swallows Football Club was founded in the 1940s by Ishmael Lesolang, Strike Makgatha, and Johnny Kubheka.
  • The club has won several domestic titles over the years, including the National Professional Soccer League (NPSL) and Premier Soccer League (PSL) championships.
  • Despite facing many challenges, including relegation to the lower divisions, Moroka Swallows has managed to bounce back and establish itself as a force to be reckoned with in South African football.

 

Foundation and Early Years

Moroka Swallows Football Club was founded in 1947 by Isaac “Lovers” Mothei and Nick “Socca” Seshweni in the Orlando East area of Soweto, Johannesburg, South Africa. The club was named after the Moroka township, where most of the founding members lived.

The early years of the club were marked by financial struggles and a lack of resources. The players had to provide their own equipment and often played barefoot. However, the team was able to attract a loyal following in the local community due to their skill and determination on the field.

In 1951, Moroka Swallows joined the Johannesburg Bantu Football Association (JBFA) and quickly established themselves as one of the top teams in the league. They won their first major trophy, the JBFA Cup, in 1955 and went on to win it again in 1956 and 1958.

During this time, the team was known for their attacking style of play and their ability to score goals. They were also one of the first teams in South Africa to integrate black and white players, with players such as Eddie Lewis and George “Bazooka” Mkhari becoming fan favorites.

Overall, the foundation and early years of Moroka Swallows Football Club were marked by perseverance and a strong sense of community. Despite facing numerous challenges, the team was able to establish themselves as a force to be reckoned with in South African football and lay the foundation for future success.

 

Era of Dominance

National Titles

Moroka Swallows enjoyed a period of dominance in the 1980s, winning several national titles. Led by legendary coach, Rautmann Pfumbidzai, the team won the National Professional Soccer League (NPSL) title in 1983, 1984, and 1988. The team also won the BP Top 8 Cup in 1983 and 1984, cementing their status as one of the best teams in the country.

During this era, the team boasted some of the best players in the country, including the likes of Thomas Hlongwane, Ephraim “Shakes” Mashaba, and Joel “Ace” Mnini. These players were instrumental in the team’s success, with their skill and determination helping the team to dominate the opposition.

Continental Competitions

Moroka Swallows also enjoyed success on the continental stage, reaching the final of the African Cup Winners’ Cup in 1989. Although they were ultimately defeated by Algeria’s JS Kabylie, the team’s run to the final was a testament to their quality and determination.

Led by captain, Dan “Dance” Malesela, the team put in some impressive performances throughout the tournament, including a memorable victory over Ghana’s Hearts of Oak in the semi-finals. Although they were unable to lift the trophy, the team’s performance in the tournament helped to establish them as one of the top teams in Africa.

Overall, Moroka Swallows’ era of dominance in the 1980s was a period of great success for the club. With several national titles and a strong showing on the continental stage, the team cemented their status as one of the best teams in South Africa.

 

Challenges and Relegation

Moroka Swallows has faced several challenges throughout its history. In 1995, the club was relegated to the National First Division for the first time, but they managed to bounce back to the Premier Soccer League the following season. However, in the 2014-15 season, the club suffered another relegation, which was a slow burn of disappointment for the fans and players alike. The team finished in the last position of the league, with only 19 points in 30 games.

The relegation was historic for the club, as it was the first time they had been relegated from the top-tier league. The team had a difficult season, with only four wins, seven draws, and 19 losses. The relegation was a result of several factors, including poor performances, lack of investment, and financial problems.

Despite the relegation, the club remained resilient and determined to make a comeback. The team played in the National First Division for the next three seasons, finishing in the top four in two of those seasons. In the 2017-18 season, Moroka Swallows won the National First Division, securing their promotion back to the Premier Soccer League.

The relegation and subsequent promotion were a testament to the club’s resilience and determination to succeed. The team faced several challenges, but they managed to overcome them and make a comeback. The relegation was a wake-up call for the club, and they used it as an opportunity to rebuild and strengthen the team.

 

Resurgence and Modern Era

After a few years of struggle, Moroka Swallows underwent a resurgence in 2021. The club was renamed Swallows FC in 2015 and had experienced its fair share of challenges since relegation from the top flight in the 2014/2015 season. However, in 2021, the club was renamed Moroka Swallows, reclaiming its iconic name [1].

Under the new name, Moroka Swallows has been making waves in the South African football scene. The team has been performing well in the GladAfrica Championship, which is the second tier of South African football. In the 2020/2021 season, Moroka Swallows finished in second place, narrowly missing out on promotion to the top flight [1].

Moroka Swallows has been actively engaging with the community and supporting youth development. The club has a passionate fan base, and the return of the historic name has generated excitement among fans and supporters [4].

Moroka Swallows has a rich history, and the club’s resurgence is a testament to the team’s resilience and determination in the face of challenges. The future looks bright for Moroka Swallows, and fans are eagerly anticipating the team’s continued success in the modern era [1].

 

Stadium and Supporters

Moroka Swallows FC plays their home matches at the Dobsonville Stadium, which has a seating capacity of 24,000. The stadium is located in Soweto, Johannesburg, and was built in 1982. The stadium has undergone renovations over the years to improve the facilities for players and fans.

The supporters of Moroka Swallows FC are known as the “Beautiful Birds” and are some of the most passionate fans in South African football. The club has a strong following in Soweto and across the country. The supporters are known for their unwavering loyalty to the club and their vocal support during matches.

Moroka Swallows FC has an official supporters club, which was established in 1957 by Mr. Maswidi Gumede. The supporters club is still active today and plays an important role in promoting the club and supporting the team. The club also has a youth development program, which aims to identify and develop young talent in the community.

Overall, Moroka Swallows FC has a strong connection with its supporters and the community. The club has a rich history and a loyal fan base, which has helped to make it one of the most successful clubs in South African football.

 

Notable Players and Management

Moroka Swallows Football Club has had many notable players and managers throughout its history. Here are a few of them:

Players

  • Jomo Sono: A legendary South African footballer who played for Moroka Swallows in the 1970s and 1980s. Sono was known for his skill on the ball and his ability to score goals. He went on to become a successful coach and businessman.
  • Philemon “Chippa” Masinga: Another South African football legend who played for Moroka Swallows in the 1980s and early 1990s. Masinga was a powerful striker who scored many important goals for the club. He also played for Leeds United in the English Premier League.
  • Lefa Tsutsulupa: A midfielder who played for Moroka Swallows for over a decade. Tsutsulupa was known for his work rate, passing ability, and leadership skills. He captained the team for several years and was a fan favorite.
  • Siyabonga Nomvethe: A prolific striker who played for Moroka Swallows in two different spells. Nomvethe scored over 50 goals for the club and was a key player in their 2004/2005 league title-winning season.

Management

  • Zeca Marques: A former Moroka Swallows player who went on to become a successful coach. Marques led the team to their most recent major trophy, the MTN8 Cup, in 2012. He is known for his tactical acumen and his ability to develop young players.
  • Leon Prins: A businessman who was the chairman of Moroka Swallows for many years. Prins was instrumental in the club’s success in the 1990s and early 2000s. He was known for his passion for the club and his commitment to developing young talent.
  • Brandon Truter: The current head coach of Moroka Swallows. Truter took over the team in 2019 and led them to promotion back to the Premier Soccer League in his first season. He is known for his tactical flexibility and his ability to motivate his players.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the origins and founding history of Moroka Swallows?

Moroka Swallows Football Club was founded in 1947 by a group of soccer enthusiasts, Ishmael Lesolang, Strike Makgatha, and Johnny Kubheka. The club was originally named Congregated Rovers, but the name was later changed to Moroka Rovers. The current name of the club, Moroka Swallows, was adopted in 1948.

Who are some of the most notable players in the history of Moroka Swallows?

Moroka Swallows has had many great players throughout its history. Some of the most notable players include Jomo Sono, who played for the club in the 1970s and later went on to become the head coach, and the late Thomas Madigage, who played for the club in the 1980s and 1990s and later became an assistant coach.

Can you list the achievements and titles won by Moroka Swallows throughout their history?

Moroka Swallows has won several major titles throughout its history, including the National Football League (NFL) title in 1965, the Mainstay Cup in 1989, and the Coca-Cola Cup in 1991. The club has also been runners-up in several other competitions, including the Nedbank Cup in 2012.

Who have been the most influential coaches in Moroka Swallows’ history?

Moroka Swallows has had many influential coaches throughout its history. Some of the most notable include Jomo Sono, who led the club to several major titles in the 1980s and 1990s, and Zeca Marques, who led the club to the Nedbank Cup final in 2012.

What are the major turning points and evolutions in the club’s history?

Moroka Swallows has had several major turning points and evolutions throughout its history. One of the biggest was in the 1970s, when the club moved from the Second Division to the First Division and began to establish itself as one of the top teams in South Africa. Another major turning point was in the 1990s, when the club won several major titles under the leadership of Jomo Sono.

How has the ownership of Moroka Swallows changed over the years?

Moroka Swallows has had several different owners throughout its history. The club was originally owned by a group of soccer enthusiasts, but it was later sold to businessman Leon Prins in the 1980s. In 2007, the club was sold again to David Mogashoa, who later sold it to the current owners, the Ledwaba brothers.

 

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