Bibo makes long-awaited return

Premiership

Midfielder Thandani "Bibo" Ntshumayelo made a long-awaited return to professional football by making his debut for Swallows FC in a 1-0 win in the DStv Premiership over Sekhukhune United on Saturday.

Bibo was introduced as a second-half substitution in the 54th minute for Sphesihle Mbhele as The Birds clinched a crucial win at Ellis Park Stadium.

The former Orlando Pirates midfielder last featured in a competitive fixture for Baroka FC in a 2-1 defeat to Mamelodi Sundowns in April 2019.

Striker Mwape Musonda proved the match-winner after grabbing what proved to be the decisive strike in the 50th minute.

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Speaking after the final whistle, head coach Dylan Kerr praised the resilient midfielder for his application since joining the club.

"I'd like to give special mention to Bibo for who it was his first game back in a long, long time.

"He didn't look rusty, yes his fitness levels was not the same as everybody else's but now he's received that chance to come back he's got to make that position his own.

"He's been through a lot of personal problems and Swallows have brought him back and given him an opportunity.

"He's been great in the dressing room and the training field and I wasn't scared to play him and he's done very, very well."

With the win, Swallows move to 13th position in the league standings, although just a point off the relegation places with nine matches remaining.

Kerr added that it was an easy decision to select Ntshumayelo after his application in recent weeks.

"In training every day he comes in and runs about and he's one of the players - I've often said if a player isn't playing come and see me and ask and I'll tell you why - and Bibo comes every day.

"He asks, 'coach am I in the squad, coach am I in the team, coach am I playing this weekend. That's what he does every day.

"It reminds me when I was at Leeds United I was the same, but I had good players in front of me that's why I had to bide my time and wait.

"What I've seen from Bibo in training is that he's hungry, keen and eager. Okay, his match fitness is not the same.

"But, when he's on the ball he's clever and he did his job that he was asked to do which was keep the ball and keep pressing."

Swallows next face Royal AM in a league encounter at Chatsworth Stadium on Sunday, 6 March.

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