Gauteng Education MEC and founding member of Swallows FC Panyaza Lesufi says supporters who invested their money into the club need not worry as it will soon return to its former glory.
Swallows FC, which was started by Lesufi as a shadow club to original Soweto giants Moroka Swallows with the hopes of resurrecting the fallen fourth-tier club, is now partly owned by members of the public who were invited to purchase shares almost a year ago.
That process has since closed, with many investors having expressed their concern over their funds after the club ended sixth in the ABC Motsepe League Gauteng stream, despite plans to have it return to the First Division – possibly through the acquisition of another club’s status.
This, however, failed to materialise when Tim Sukazi’s Mpumalanga-based ABC Motsepe League side TS Galaxy took over the status of Cape Town All Stars, who Lesufi had initially lined up a deal with to take over their NFD status.
The lifelong Dube Birds supporter has now explained why the deal fell through, while assuring shareholders that their investments will not amount to nothing.
“The team is on the rise … The team is on the rise, honestly. I want to thank … I mean, I have a long list of people that have contributed their last cents to being part of the owners of Swallows,” Lesufi tells KickOff.com.
“I want to assure them that we value their investment, and we are not going to mess up with it. There are three achievements we’ve had in the last year. I know people might not understand that.
“The first achievement is that we settled all the debt of Swallows, which is something that was unthinkable. When we came in, the team was in debt of almost R250-million. I had to go and meet internationally with people we owe, so we managed to settle that debt."
He continues: “The second achievement, we took the team to the Nedbank Cup Last 32 and took Maritzburg United – the team that went to the final – to extra-time. For a team in the ABC Motsepe League to do that, it means the foundation is there.
“Thirdly, we gambled, which, unfortunately like any other thing, is where you either win or lose. We gambled by entering into a part-ownership with Cape Town All Stars.
“In doing so, we had the intention of going to the play-offs and then, with the team being promoted, agreeing on the sale. This means all the investment we had, had to be channelled into Cape Town All Stars to do that deal.
“As you know, we [All Stars] didn’t qualify for the play-offs, meaning the gamble didn’t give us the results that we wanted. So, what it means is that we go back to the drawing board and hash another plan, which is what we’re doing now.
“We will hash another plan and then we will be in a position to speak to supporters across the country, but they must not lose hope.”