The Coronavirus (CIVID-19) pandemic continues to be a threat to human life around the globe as thousands of people have been killed by this disease in the whole world. A lot of activities including football related events are currently on ice due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This has led to local and international health officials to send prevention messages to the public on how to stop the spread of this deadly virus. The football community around the globe as also joined hands with the World Health Organization (WHO), governments and health officials globally in the fight against this pandemic.
The Public Relations Officers (PRO’s) of the football clubs under the Premier League of Eswatini (PLE) has also showed support in the fight against COVID-19 by urging the public to cooperate with the relevant structures as the country and the entire world continue with the fight against this pandemic. Manzini Wanderers FC’s PRO, Sandile Dlamini is urging the public to implement the preventive guidelines from the Ministry of Health and WHO. “As Manzini Wanderers FC, we urge the public to implement the preventive guidelines as per the Ministry of Health and WHO inorder for us to be safe from this virus”, Dlamini said.
Royal Leopards FC’s PRO, Frank Hurube acknowledged His Majesty’s Government and the WHO for their efforts in the fight against COVID-19. “We would like to acknowledge His Majesty’s Government and the WHO for their efforts in the fight against this pandemic”, Hurube said. He also reminded the public about the frequent washing of hands, covering of the mouth with an elbow whn coughing or sneezing, avoiding the touching of the face, none shaking of hands and the maintenance of social distancing. Mbabane Swallows FC’s PRO, Mancoba Mabuza highlighted the importance of implementing the partial lockdown imposed by government as their players are also at home as this is one of the important ways of stopping the spread of this pandemic. “We urge the public to obey the partial lockdown as per government directives as this will also help in stopping the spread of this pandemic. Our players are also at home as per government command”, Mabuza said.
Mbabane Highlanders FC’s PRO, Paul Masilela urged the public to listen and practise the guidelines as per the Ministry of Health and the WHO in as far as the fight against this pandemic is concerned. “We urge the public to follow the guidelines from the Ministry of Health and WHO as we fight against this pandemic, Masilela said. Denver Sundowns FC PRO, Thabiso Manyatsi urged the public to obey the partial lockdown and only concentrate to the official communication from the Ministry of Health and avoid unofficial correspondences about this pandemic mainly from the social media. We urge the public to obey the partial lockdown and only concentrate to the official messages from the Ministry of Health not falsey correspondences mainly from the social media”, Manyatsi stressed. Finally Manzini Sea Birds FC’s PRO acknowledged His Majesty’s Government for the guidelines on how the public can be safe from this virus. “We acknowledge His Majesty’s Government on the safety messages that the public is expected to apply inorder to be safe from this virus”, Dlamini highlighted.
Since the COVID-19 (coronavirus) outbreak and being declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO), the Eswatini Football Association (EFA) suspended all football matches and later workshops and course which has affected the football calendar as a whole. Normally the local competitions ends in May, chances are high that this current football season will end beyond the normal period. The Execitive Committee of the EFA met on Thursday, 26th March 2020 and resolved that all football competitions will resume where they were stopped until the last match of the season is played. This was disclosed by the General Secretary (GS) of the EFA Mr. Frederick Mngomezulu.
“All football competitions (leagues, knockouts etc) countrywide, will resume from the point where they were suspended and be implemented until their conclusion, with the current football season (2019/2020) extended accordingly”,Mngomezulu said. The GS also highlighted that there will be in proper adjustments in the football season(s) as this break will require such in order to bring back the football season to the original time frame. “Depending on the time taken to resolve the COVID-19 pandemic, the subsequent football season(s), in collaboration and/ or direction of the international football governing bodies, will be adjusted accordingly”, the GS stated.
In as far as the Regulations for the Status and Transfer of players, those issues are currently handled by the FIFA’s task team which will study the prevailing regulatory frameworks and once finalized and communicated to the FIFA members, the EFA will accordingly communicate the way forward to her affiliates. It must be noted that this task team will also look at the issues of players contracts and registration window periods, in relation to the prevailing regulations and the occurring situation of the COVID-19.
On Friday, 13th March 2020 the Eswatini Football Association (EFA) decided to postpone all football matches due to the emergent distress of the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) which has been declared by the World Health Organization (WHO) as a pandemic. These football matches are the Elite, Regional, Women Competitions and the Development Programmes under the auspice of the EFA. Over and above these matches, the national teams’ matches have also been cancelled after the Confederation of African Football (CAF) has announced the postponement of the international matches.
“Further note that CAF has since decided to postpone the Total AFCON 2021; the FIFA World Women U20 World Cup Qualifiers; and the Total Women AFCON 2020 Qualifiers scheduled for this March and April 2020, including a CAF Match Commissioners Workshop that was scheduled for the 19th / 20th March 2020, until further notice, with a new programme to be communicated by CAF in due time”; said the General Secretary (GS) of the EFA Mr. Frederick Mngomezulu. He also highlighted that a new schedule will be communicated after getting advis from the international bodies and competent authorities on the evolution and impact of the virus in the country and transnationally. In conclusion, The GS stated that whenever the EFA stages an event, health and safety is always a priority.
The Correctional Services football team, Green Mamba FC stroked Mbabane Highlanders FC to be crowned the Champions of the SMVAF Ingwenyama Cup at the Somhlolo National Stadium. Two goals from Green Mamba were enough to win the championship as Mbabane Highlanders lost in the finals for the second successive season. This match was watched by His Majesty The King Mswati III, Royal Household, the Head of Government, his Cabinet and Members of both Houses of Parliament to mention but a few.
The Champions got a floating trophy, gold medals and a cheque of E1.4 Million whilst the runners up got silver medals plus a cheque of E500 00.00.There were other winners on the day as there were several Champions in the cultural competition as the SMVAF Ingwenyama Cup blends both football and culture.
The U20 Eswatini Bank Cup was officially launched at the banks Auditorium in Mbabane in an event that was attended by the President of the Eswatini Football association (EFA) Mr. Adam Mthethwa, the Managing Director of Eswatini Bank Mr. Zakhele Lukhele, Chairman of the Premier League of Eswatini (PLE) Mr Peter Magagula, Chairman of the EFA’s Competitions Committee Mr. Johannes Siboza and the Chairman of the Youth Committee Mr Sonnyboy Mabuza to mention but a few. This year’s edition marks the 7th anniversary of the U20 Eswatini Bank Cup. The total sponsorship for the ‘Idlala Kamnandzi U20 edition is E250 000.00 which shows an increment from last year’s edition which was E240 000.00.
When addressing the gathering, the MD of Eswatini Bank highlighted the importance of youth football in the development of the sport and the nation. “Youth football is very critical in the development of the sport and the nation at large”, Lukhele said. The MD also stated that football plays a great role in the socio-economic development of the country as the youth develop other skills that are very important in their future lives.
The President of the EFA Mr. Adam Mthethwa acknowledged the investment by the bank towards football development in the country. As the national football association, our main mandate is to develop football in the country of which the bank’s contribution towards that is very much acknowledged and even the football’s world governing body FIFA is quite aware of the bank’s investment in the development of the sport in the country”, Mthethwa said. As part of football development, the President also stated that FIFA is going to invest to her members in terms of infrastructure as the football’s governing body will assist her members in the construction of stadiums that will at least meet the minimum standards of a football stadium.
The PLE’s Chairman acknowledged the banks investment towards football development as there are over 50 players that have graduated from this competition and they are now playing elite football with others in the MTN National First Division and the Regional Super Leagues. The Chairman also stressed the importance of conduct during this competition as this is an important product of football. “Coaches ,medical personnel , players and officials must be properly dressed during this competition as image is very important as this is one of the important products of football”, Magagula said. With the draw being made, the U20 Eswatini Bank Cup competition will kick-off next weekend. The draw was as follows:
Mbabane Highlanders FC vs Mbabane Swallows FC
Milling Hotspurs FC vs Royal leopards FC
Mhlume Peacemakers FC vs Manzini Wanderers FC
Moneni Pirates FC vs Tambuti FC
The 17th edition of the Eswatini Bank Cup “idlala kamnadzi’ was officially launched by the Honourable Minister of Sports, Culture and Youth affairs Hon. Harris Bulunga in a specious event that was held at the Royal Swazi Spa Convention Centre in Ezulwini. This event was also attended by the President of the Eswatini Football Association (EFA), Mr. Adam Mthethwa, EFA Executive Committee Members, Eswatini Bank Board Members and Management just to mention but a few. The Honourable Minister Harris Bulunga on behalf of His Majesty’s Government acknowledged the Eswatini Bank for partnering with football over the years. “I wish to start off here today Mr. M.D., by expressing, as Government, to the Bank for once again partnering with football and this time for a historic total prize money of E 3.4 Million”, Bulunga said. This is an increase of half a million Emalangeni from the previous edition. The Hon. Minister also express his delight as the bank didn’t only invest on men’s football but also invested on women’s and youth football. “In addition, by also continuously investing in juniors’ tournament (U-20) and women’s cup, the bank has aligned itself with Government’s goal of making sport accessible to all members of the society, known as Sports for all”, Bulunga said.
As a commitment towards the development of sports in the country, the Hon. Minister highlighted that a lot of ground has been covered in as far as the Sports Bill is concerned and also the rehabilitation of the Somhlolo National Stadium is one of the priorities of the Ministry. The Honourable Minister also acknowledged all stakeholders involved in making the Eswatini Bank Cup to be a memorable competition and also asked the football teams to compete in the spirit of fair play.
The football family also acknowledged the bank for growing with football. This was stated by the President of the EFA, Mr. Adam Mthethwa. “As football family, we would like to advance, in special standing, our profound gratitude to Eswatini Bank for the now traditional competition in our annual datebook; the Eswatini Bank Cup. 17 years of partnership and religious investment to the development of the game of football is indeed humbling and deserving a special impression”, Mthethwa said. The President also highlighted that the football family will continue to committee in protecting the investment of the bank to football as it provide a perfect platform of unearthing football talent. More credit was also given to the bank for the continuous investment towards the development of women football in the country. “We are very ecstatic at the increased investment to women football, a gesture surely, that will be a great driver to increase the number and attractiveness of the women’s football game”, Mthethwa said.
The Eswatini Bank has declared her satisfaction in partnering with football over the years. This relationship between the bank and football started in 2004 and is maturing just like wine as the sponsorship package is increasing on a yearly basis. Before announcing this year’s sponsorship package, the Managing Director (MD) of the Eswatini Bank, Mr. Zakhele Lukhele highlighted the bank’s excitement in being associated with football in the country. “The bank has always been proud to be associated with local football, hence the consistent sponsorship over the years”, Lukhele said. He added that, as a sponsor of this competition they believe that both parties are benefiting from this sponsorship. Lukhele also stated that Eswatini Bank is committee to contribute towards the development of football in the country. “As a bank, we are committed to contribute towards the development of football in the country which includes the youth, women and elite football”, Lukhele said.
In the spirit of sportsmanship, the MD wished all the participating football team the very best of luck and to ‘dlala kamnandzi’ as per this year’s slogan of the competition, ‘idlala kamnandzi’.
The Government of the Kingdom of Eswatini through the Ministry of Sports, Culture and Youth affairs has congratulated Dominic Kunene for being employed as the new Senior Men’s National Team Head Coach. In a statement from the Ministry of Sports, Culture and Youth Affairs, the Honourable Minister of Sports, Culture and Youth Affairs Hon. Harries Bulunga expressed congratulatory remarks on behalf of His Majesty’s Government to the new Sihlangu Head coach and the entire technical bench. “The Ministry is extremely pleased to see deserving local coaches being given the opportunity to lead our Senior National Team”; read part of the statement from the Ministry of Sports, Culture and Youth Affairs. The statement also highlighted the Ministry’s confidence in the whole technical bench of the national team. Kunene is assisted by Gcina Dlamini (Assistant Coach), Anthony Mdluli (Goalkeeper Coach) and Mbuso Gina (Physical Fitness Coach).
In conclusion, the Honourable Minister pleaded with the nation to support the new technical bench of Sihlangu. “We now appeal to the nation to offer our new technical all the necessary support as they begin this challenging journey”, read the statement. The first international assignment for the Dominic Kunene lead technical team will be against Congo on the last week of March. This will be a back-to-back clash between Eswatini and Congo with the first leg being an away match for Eswatini and later in the week Sihlangu will host the opposition.
The Eswatini Football Association (EFA) has acknowledged the Hhohho Regional Football Association for the perfect execution of the Hhohho Youth Football Development Programme as it provided a perfect platform for the Eswatini child to develop his football artistry. “Hhohho is the best region when it comes to youth football in the country as the different age categories are in place which provides a perfect platform for player development” said the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the EFA. He made this remarks during the prize presentation of the U13 Milky-Max Hhohho Youth Football Development Programme held at the Sigwaca House in Mbabane.
Over and above this, the Hhohho Youth Football Development Programmes were being used by the EFA when compiling reports to the Federation of International Football Association (FIFA) which made the football association to meet certain requirements by the international governing body. “As per the FIFA Forward Regulations on of the criteria for the Mother Associations (MA’s) is to have a well-managed U20 or U17 competition, of which the Hhohho Regional Football association had spot on leagues on both age categories that with up to date records, thus it was more efficient to send them to FIFA” Mngomezulu said. He encouraged them to continue with the good work and also apply the same formula even on the other leagues that are being managed by them.
The CEO also highlighted that the junior national teams are currently doing well in international competitions due to such football development programme. “The junior national teams did very well during last year’s competition due to such youth football development programmes of which it shows the value of the investments by the sponsors”; Mngomezulu highlighted. He also plead with other organization to also invest in youth football as these players are the future of the game. In return he asked the public to support Parmalat as she also plays a great role in the development of the Eswatini child.
Education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today. This is exactly what Buildit has done to Andiswa Malaza the 2018/19 Buildit U13 National Championship best player. This lad has an educated left foot and he was one of the players who went to the Durban in the Republic of South Africa for a one week training camp in December under the watchful eyes of Amazulu FC’s Youth Development Coaches.
As per the promise, Build it has practised what she preach (Building the Nation) as the organization has presented Andiswa Malaza with a E10 000.00 education bursary for his 2020 academic year. This lad is in form one at Lobamba Lomdzala High School having completed his primary school education last year. Presenting this award was Buildit Store’s Mbabane Manager Eugen Meyer who congratulated Andiswa for his achievement and also acknowledged the 16 years partnership that the organisation is having with the Eswatini Football Association (EFA). “On behalf of Buildit, we would like to congratulate Andiswa and also wish him the very best of luck in the future both academically and in the sport”, Meyer said. He also encouraged the EFA to continue with the good work of developing football in the country by providing the platforms for these youngsters to express themselves through football.
The lad thanked Buildit for this busary as it will assist him in his education. “I would like to thank Buildit , EFA, my Coaches and Parants for supporting me as I play football and Buildit in particular for paying my school fees which will relieve my parents financially at least for this academic year.”, Malaza said. His words were echoed by his father Robert Malaza who also thanked Buildit, EFA and his Coaches the support towards the development of his child.