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Just Watch: Brandon Truter

The Swallows coach, on the verge of losing his job a few weeks ago, might need to change his moniker from 'chihuahua' to 'bulldog', due to all the upsets he's causing
Fri, Apr 02, 2021

Illustration by Carlos Amato

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Brandon Truter, who probably owes me an all-you-can-eat buffet (I will get to that later), still has the aggression that earned him the nickname 'Brakkies' during his playing days.

His style in the late '90s was that of a no-nonsense defender with no remorse for troublesome forwards – he was always clipping their heels to keep them from scoring. He was annoying, a bit like a chihuahua, and his teammates thought it fitting to give him a moniker of the world's smallest breed of dogs with a rascal-like demeanour.

Truter, unfortunately, had his career cut short when he tore his meniscus and ruptured both his Achilles tendons, just a few months before his club at the time, Santos went on to achieve the unthinkable and win the 2002 league title.

'Brakkies' then had to find an alternative vocation, and that's where his coaching story began – leading him all the way to his current job as Moroka Swallows coach. But he has not stopped being an irritation, and his counterparts at the DStv Premiership can attest to that – the Dube Birds are this season's surprise package.

One of the highlights so far when it comes to Truter's journey with Swallows has been the backstory behind why he always has a cardigan wrapped around his shoulders on match day – club supporters believe if he is without it they'll start losing. They've come close.

In fact, Swallows haven't won a game since Truter was recognised for his stellar work with the Dube Birds and awarded the December/January Coach of the Month earlier this year, so perhaps the superstition is exactly just that.

Another peak on his topflight journey with Swallows is one that riled up Mamelodi Sundowns fans after his side managed a last-gasp equaliser when the two sides met three months ago, and Truter threw some banter their way.

"They have three coaches there (referring to co-coaches Manqoba Mngqithi, Rulani Mokwena and Steve Komphela). I saw one coach also putting tactics all over social media trying to get others involved, so they needed maybe more on the bench than the three of them," said Truter after that match. Chihuahua moment.

If Swallows rediscover their form in the remaining 11 games and spoil the party for the big guns, much like Santos did nearly two decades ago when they beat Sundowns, Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates to the winners' podium, we'll need a new nickname for Truter. Maybe, 'Bulldog'.

So, it was it a shock to me two weeks ago to have to write that the Dube Birds were contemplating giving Truter the boot despite the club being only four points – and having a game in hand – behind second-placed Golden Arrows, a side they face on Saturday.

It's partly due to the backlash from that story that Truter is somehow still in the job today, his sacking would have been a serious own goal. I am due a buffet.

'Brakkies' does, however, need to find that bite again – and soon. Swallows returning to the premier division after six years in the doldrums is already a fairytale, but taking the championship race right down to the wire could ease Truter's Santos heartbreak.

  • Watch Moroka Swallows v Golden Arrows on 3 April, at 3pm, on DStv channel 202

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