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The Eswatini Football Association (EFA) has come up with a strategy for the resumption of football competitions. This strategy is yet to be presented to Government and the pertinent stakeholders. Speaking in a press conference, the General Secretary (GS) of the EFA Mr. Frederick Mngomezulu highlighted that the strategy is categorised into four phases. Of great significance within the implementation of the strategy there will be weekly COVID-19 tests, with expected regular daily screening of players, officials, match officials and appropriate working staff, as they attend their training, preparation programme and matches.

“The football association has developed a four-phased strategy comprising of the biological, preparation, pre-competition and competition phases”, Mngomezulu said. The biological phase is a pre-preparation period where the major activities will revolve around the preparation of football clubs, match venues and appropriate legislations for the resumption of football competitions and the larger business of football. “This will be the most critical stages where there will be testing of football players, officials, and match officials to establish the COVID-19 status including the preparation of match venues and appropriate regulations”, the GS stated. If the health condition in terms of the COVID-19 status quo improves, an adjustment to this phase can be made in such a way that it is reduced to two weeks instead of three.

The preparation phase involves the resumption of training of football clubs, which has also been divided to individual training sub-phases to take one week, and group training sub-phases to take two weeks. “This phase will take a total of three weeks, when taking into the account the one week individual training and two weeks group training”, Mngomezulu said. If the COVID-19 status quo improves, this phase will be increased to two weeks instead of one week.

The pre-competition phase will be the period when the whole teams will train including the playing of practice matches. This will be a one week phase. Finally, the competition phase will be basically the implementation of the competitions. “This phase will take eight weeks; and could be extended to ten weeks depending on the concluding rounds of competitions, some which may need to be played concurrently hence requiring on extended time”, the GS stated.

This whole strategy is estimated to take 14 weeks, a period which could be extended to 16 weeks, in the event the competition phase is extended by 2 weeks. The estimated commencement of this strategy is the 15th June 2020 depending on the discussion and conventions with the Government of the Kingdom of Eswatini and pertinent stakeholders.

As the 2019/2020 football season is extended due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Eswatini Football Association (EFA) has directed the football clubs to extend the contracts for the players who were due to expire at the end of the initial period of 2019/2020season. “This will allow football clubs to utilize their current squads of players to conclude the season”, Mngomezulu said. He also highlighted that this extension of contracts is in compliance with the guidelines that have been issued by FIFA, as FIFA has accordingly amended the FIFA Regulations from the Status and Transfer of Players to accommodate the extended seasons globally. In this regards, the EFA encourages football clubs to engage their respective players and other employees such as coaches and other employees by the football clubs to find a lasting solution for the discharge of the football responsibilities during this COVID-19 pandemic period. “Football clubs are reminded to ensure that the applicable national laws are respected with respect to employment are accordingly respected”, Mngomezulu stated.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020/2021 football season will have a new registration period. With the proposed resumption of competition strategy being crafted by the EFA, football clubs will be accorded a three week break at the end of its implementation in order for them to prepare for the resumption of the new season where after the new registration window period for the 2020/2021 football season will be established. “This will give an opportunity to football clubs to be engaged in the players’ transfer business and register players for the new season”, said the EFA’s General Secretary Mr. Frederick Mngomezulu. The definite registration dates will be communicated and approved with FIFA in the FIFA Connect Registration Platform.

The Eswatini Football Association’s (EFA) President, Mr. Adam Mthethwa has appealed to the Members of the football association to handle the COVID-19 pandemic situation in as far as football in the country is concerned with care. This is after a lot has been said over the media and other platforms by some member associations which of cause tarnish the image of the EFA.

“There have been a lot of reactions after the EFA suspended football matches in the country”, said Mthethwa in a press conference that was held at Sigwaca House this afternoon. It is a fact that after this decision by the EFA Executive Committee was implemented, there were numerous reactions from some stakeholders of the EFA. The President clarified that when the EFA took this decisions, she accommodated all her stakeholders. “The EFA accommodated all her stakeholders when taking this decision”, Mthethwa said. Having said that, the EFA President highlighted that up to now, none of the Members of the EFA have raised any views formally regarding the current situation.

The President also highlighted that, the Member Associations are free to advice the football association in a responsible manner however; it is only the EFA that has the authority to implement such football decisions on the land. “It is only the EFA that can take such decisions and Member Associations can only advice on such in a responsible manner”, Mthethwa said. He also elaborated that this decision was a fair one under the current situation.

When quizzed about the possibility of cancelling the current football season, the EFA President stated that further consultations will need to be made as there are a lot of issues that may need to be addresses which won’t be easy to do so. “Cancellation of the current football season is not the only opinion and if that is the case, further consultations will be needed as a lot of issues must be addressed”, Mthethwa said. This implies that football matches will resume after the EFA gets advice from government to do so.

As for the FIFA Relief Fund which is a topical issue to some EFA stakeholders, the EFA President has requested that this issue must be left to the football association together with the FIFA Forward issues. “It is only the EFA that can deal with the issues of the FIFA Forward and Relief Fund thus we appeal to the Members to respect the structures of football”, the President said. In conclusion; he appealed to the EFA Members to handle the COVID-19 pandemic situation in a responsible manner so that the brand of the football association is protected and also the interests of the sponsors are prioritised.

The Eswatini Football Association (EFA) has expressed her condolences following a tragic accident that happened on Friday at the MR9 road (Yith’abantu road) between Nhlangano and Mhlaleni. This accident claimed lives of the members of the Royal Eswatini Police Services (REPS) and  citizens of the Kingdom of Eswatini. In a press statement that was issued on Friday, 1st May 2020 the EFA stated her condolences and a symbol of solidarity. “The Eswatini Football Association (EFA) and the entire football intimate in Eswatini, would like to extend their sincere and heartfelt condolences and symbol of solidarity to the National Commissioner and the Royal Eswatini Police Service (REPS) as a whole and most extensively the affected families, relatives and friends, and associated establishments for the shocking and premature tragedy of the members of the REPS and citizen of Eswatini”, read part of the press statement.

The EFA also highlighted that like the rest of the sphere, it is difficult to comprehend the dreadful tragedy. “It is still unintelligible that what was envisage to be a customary daily exertion, had to descend to such a traumatic experience. As for the REPS members, it is still unbelievable that whilst the country is still united in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, currently debilitating humankind globally, for which they were a significant part, lives could be lost in such a manner.  Like the rest of the sphere, the EFA whilst is still cannot comprehend the dreadful tragedy it believes that God Almighty will afford solace and reassurance to all affected as such a depressing instant”, said the EFA through the press statement.

An expression of a symbol of solidarity and best wishes to all the survivors was also stated by the EFA. “The EFA furthermore, at this instance, hereby express its symbol of solidarity and best wishes of recovery to all the survivors of the tragic crash and further wishes of a speedy recovery extended to all affected families, societies and establishments from this tragedy. May the souls of the departed, Rest in Peace”, the statement concluded.

The Eswatini Football Association (EFA) has issued the 2020 Ordinary General Assembly (OAG) to her members. This year’s OGA is scheduled for Sunday, 28th June 2020 at a venue and time that will be communicated. “Notice is hereby given to all Members of the EFA, in terms of Article 29(2) of the EFA Statutes, that the 2020 Ordinary General Assembly will be held on Sunday, 28th June 2020, at a venue and time to be communicated in due course, in conformity with the EFA Statutes”, read the circular that was sent to the EFA Members.

It must be noted that the hosting of this event will be subject to the evolution and/ or resolution of the COVID-19 pandemic. “EFA Members are further informed that the hosting of the EFA Ordinary General Assembly is subject to the evolution and/or resolution of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic currently debilitating global humankind. Consequential communication, if applicable, will be advanced to the Members of the evolution of this pandemic relating to the general assembly”, read part of the circular.

The delegates were also reminded that each Member of the EFA must be represented by six (6) delegates. They were also informed that the proposals to the OGA must have been submitted to the EFA Secretariat by the 28th May 2020 at the latest.

The Eswatini Football Association’s (EFA’s) Licensing and International Affairs Manager, Ms Ntombifuthi Dlamini has highlighted that the Domestic Transfer Matching System (DTMS) was successfully implemented. This current football season (2019/2020) marked the first time in which the DTMS was used in the transfer of players in Eswatini. “The EFA had successfully implemented the DTMS in as far as the transfer of players is concerned of which more than one hundred players were transferred”, Dlamini said. She also highlighted that in all this transfers, there was no intermediaries involved in the transactions.

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.

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