Swallows target players for no-shows

Fresh from being found guilty of misconduct and bringing the Premier Soccer League (PSL) into disrepute after failing to honour two matches, Swallows are set to turn the heat on their players.

Swallows escaped expulsion from the DStv Premiership following the saga towards end of December.

Under pressure from players who were demanding December salaries early and refusing to play until payment was made, the Dube Birds requested the clash against Mamelodi Sundowns be cancelled just hours before kick-off.

The match between Swallows and Lamontville Golden Arrows a few days later was also abandoned as precaution.

Sunday World has reliably learnt that the Swallows management hauled the players before the disciplinary committee on Friday. Swallows are accusing the players of engaging in an unlawful strike, failing to honour the fixtures and breaching the National Soccer League rules, said the source.

The club could fine or dismiss the players if found guilty. The exodus of players like striker Kagiso Malinga in the Birds nest is imminent as some players are reportedly courted by top PSL teams. Most players are six months away from their contracts ending and are eligible to sign pre contracts elsewhere.

This publication also picked up that two senior players, midfielder Andile Jali and striker Hellings “Gabadhino” Mhango, have been fingered by management as the main instigators who initiated the strike.

“The players couldn’t believe when they got a memo saying they have cases to answer. They have since informed the Players Union about being summoned before the DC,” a source said.

The South African Football Players Union, representing the players, are keeping tabs on the situation. Tebogo Monyai, the union’s vice-president, confirmed the DC took place on Friday.

Contacted for comment, top agent Mike Makaab, who has players like Jali in his agency, said : “I would rather reserve my comments at this stage.”

On Thursday, the PSL fined the Dube Birds R1-million for the two abandoned matches; R600 000 was suspended, with the R400 000 being payable immediately. Swallows will also lose the six points at stake for the matches against Sundowns and Arrows.

Swallows chairperson David Magoshoa could not be reached for comment, but CEO Sipho Xulu confirmed the hearing.

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