Moroka Swallows F.C.


Moroka Swallows

Moroka Swallows Football Club, commonly known as Swallows or The Birds, is a professional football team located in Soweto, Johannesburg, within the Gauteng region. The club’s foundation in 1947 marks it as one of the pioneering Soweto teams, sharing a historical rivalry with Orlando Pirates through the celebrated Original Soweto Derby.

Swallows consistently participated in the Premier Soccer League every season until their relegation in the 2014–15 season. However, they made a triumphant return by winning the National First Division in the 2019–20 season, securing their spot in the 2020–21 South African Premier Division. In their comeback season to the top-tier league, they impressively finished 6th, earning a place in the 2021 MTN 8 competition. The team hosts its home games at Dobsonville Stadium, creating a formidable presence in South African football.

Moroka Swallows History

In the 1940s, Ishmael Lesolang, Strike Makgatha, and Johnny Kubheka, all passionate about football, established a club initially named Congregated Rovers, reflecting the workplace of many players and officials. This name soon evolved to Moroka Rovers before being rebranded as Moroka Swallows on October 10, 1947, setting up their base in the township known as Masakeng. The name Moroka, which translates to ‘rain maker’ in Setswana, has been retained for over half a century, symbolizing the club’s enduring legacy and success both on and off the pitch.

The 1950s and 1960s marked a golden era for the club, highlighted by winning the South African League title in 1965. The club’s off-field success was equally impressive; it became the first football team to incorporate as a public company in 1971 and secured its inaugural official sponsorship with Teljoy the same year. Between 1982 and 1992, the club enjoyed a prolific period, capturing four titles.

Celebrating its 60th anniversary in 2007, the club added the Nedbank Cup to its trophy cabinet in 2009, marking its first significant win in five years. However, the following years saw challenges, including narrowly avoiding relegation in the 2013-14 season and then facing its first relegation in the 2014-15 season. Despite a further relegation to the SAFA Second Division and eventual liquidation, the club made a comeback by purchasing the franchise of National First Division team Maccabi for R8 million in 2018. They competed as Swallows F.C. in the 2019-20 season, securing promotion to the Premier Soccer League by the season’s end.

Ahead of the 2023-24 season, the club, then known as Swallows F.C. post-bankruptcy and a FIFA ban, reverted to its historic name, Moroka Swallows F.C. However, the 2023-24 season was marred by financial challenges, leading to the club failing to fulfill its final two fixtures, a situation exacerbated by a sponsorship dispute with the PSL regarding a potential deal with Telkom.


Achievements in South African Football:

  • League Victories: Triumphed in the South African Soccer League during the year 1965.
  • Nedbank Cup Successes: Secured victories in the years 1983, 1989, 1991, 2004, and 2009, showcasing a strong performance across various cup names including the Mainstay Cup, Bob Save Super Bowl, and ABSA Cup.
  • MTN 8 Achievements: Came out on top in the MTN 8 competition (previously known as the BP Top Eight) in the years 1975, 1979, and 2012, demonstrating consistent success.
  • Sales House Cup Victory: Claimed the title in 1978, marking a significant achievement in this competition.
  • National First Division Champions: Crowned champions in the 2019–20 season, highlighting their prowess in the national first division.

Club Records

  • Andries Mpondo holds the record for the most starts by a South African player, with 395 appearances.
  • Thomas Hlongwane is the top goal scorer for South Africa, netting 73 goals.
  • Lerato Chabangu is the most capped South African player, making 13 appearances.
  • The record for the most starts in a single season goes to Andries Mpondo with 49 starts in 1986.
  • Thomas Hlongwane scored the most goals in a season for South Africa, with 27 goals in 1985.
  • South Africa’s biggest win was an 8–0 victory against African Wanderers on September 29, 1991, in the NSL.
  • The team’s heaviest losses were a 2–6 defeat to Hellenic on March 7, 1985, in the Sales House Cup, and a 2–6 loss to Rangers on July 3, 1987, in the NSL.

League Positions

Season Division Position Notes
1996–97 South African Premier Division 11th
1997–98 South African Premier Division 11th
1998–99 South African Premier Division 15th
1999–00 South African Premier Division 12th
2000–01 South African Premier Division 15th
2001–02 South African Premier Division 6th
2002–03 South African Premier Division 4th
2003–04 South African Premier Division 7th
2004–05 South African Premier Division 5th
2005–06 South African Premier Division 4th
2006–07 South African Premier Division 3rd
2007–08 South African Premier Division 7th
2008–09 South African Premier Division 11th
2009–10 South African Premier Division 8th
2010–11 South African Premier Division 13th
2011–12 South African Premier Division 2nd
2012–13 South African Premier Division 9th
2013–14 South African Premier Division 13th
2014–15 South African Premier Division 15th Relegated
2015–16 National First Division 16th Relegated
2016–17 SAFA Second Division (Gauteng) 16th
2017–18 SAFA Second Division (Gauteng) 6th
2018–19 SAFA Second Division (Gauteng) 7th Purchased 1st Division franchise of Maccabi F.C.
2019–20 National First Division 1st Promoted
2020–21 South African Premier Division 6th
2021–22 South African Premier Division 15th Retained via playoffs
2022–23 South African Premier Division 8th

This table outlines the team’s performance across different divisions, highlighting their journey through relegations, promotions, and their final standings in various seasons.

First team squad

No. Pos. Nation Player
2 DF RSA Sipho Sibiya
4 DF RSA Keegan Allan
5 DF RSA Wandisile Letlabika
6 MF RSA Tlakusani Mthethwa
7 MF RSA Lindokuhle Mtshali
8 MF RSA Lantshene Phalane
11 FW KEN Gabadinho Mhango
15 MF RSA Andile Jali
16 FW RSA Moeketsi Makhanya
18 DF RSA Gregory Damons
23 DF RSA Mthokozisi Shwabule
24 DF RSA Vusi Sibiya
25 FW RSA Thabang Maponya
27 DF RSA Keenan Phillips
31 GK RSA Thakasani Mbanjwa
33 DF RSA Givemore Khupe
34 DF RSA Junaid Sait
38 FW TAN David Uromi
42 FW RSA Dumisani Zuma
44 DF RSA Kwanda Mngonyama
47 MF RSA Mbulelo Wambi
49 MF RSA Thandolwethu Ngwenya
55 GK NGA Daniel Akpeyi
66 DF RSA Bongani Sam (on loan from Orlando Pirates)

Former Coaches

Country Coach Name Tenure
Austria Walter Rautmann N/A
England Eddie Lewis 1989–1991
South Africa Sandile Bali 1991–1992
South Africa Milo Bjelica 1992
England Mich d’Avray 1992–1993
Brazil Walter da Silva 1999
Russia Viktor Bondarenko 2000–2002
South Africa Gavin Hunt 1 July 2002 – 30 June 2007
Zimbabwe Ian Gorowa 1 July 2007 – 30 June 2008
Brazil Júlio César Leal 1 July 2008 – 30 June 2009
Germany Rainer Zobel 17 July 2009 – 28 Nov 2010
South Africa Gordon Igesund 29 Nov 2010 – 30 June 2012
Portugal Zeca Marques 1 July 2012 – 2014
South Africa Craig Rosslee March 2015–

What do you think?


Written by Bobby Boucher


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