The Trade Fair Cup is back. This was after the launch of the PLE Trade Fair Cup on Friday, 25th August 2023 at Sigwaca House in Mbabane. This historic tournament used to be called the Swaziland International Trade Fair and was a marvel to the football fans who used to enjoy Eswatini’s night football. It brings back fond memories in as far as the Eswatini football business is concerned.
The sponsorship package for this year’s edition is One Million Emalangeni. This tournament is scheduled to kick-off on the 3rd September 2023 and will be played for ten days. “The sponsorship package is One Million Emalangeni,” said Mr. Charles Matsebula an Executive Committee Member of the Premier League of Eswatini (PLE). Football fans will be able to watch the action at a cost of Sixty Emalangeni with some of the matchdays having three matches. The participating teams for this tournament are the fourteen teams playing in the MTN Premier League. Green Mamba FC who are the MTN Premier League Champions and Young Buffaloes FC who were the runners up of last season’s league will be in action in the quarter-finals of this tournament.
With the Senior Men’s National Team (Sihlangu SeMnikati) currently in camp in readiness of the TotalEnergies AFCON Qualifier match against Burkina Faso on the 8th September 2023 in Morocco, Sihlangu players will not be in action in as far as this tournament is concerned. “With the national team currently in camp, this tournament will present an opportunity for other players to display their talent which is also good for talent development,” said Mr. Frederick Mngomezulu, the General Secretary of the Eswatini Football Association (EFA).
As another highlight of this tournament, eleven substitutes will be allowed so that the players will have some rest between matches. The GS emphasised about the importance of the spirit of sportsmanship; thus, good conduct is urged during the tournament. “As part of the spirit of sportsmanship, good conduct is expected during this tournament”, said Mngomezulu. Due to the popularity of football the GS also urged Government to always engage football in the implementation of her projects. “Football is the most popular sport in the globe which makes it a perfect vehicle towards the successful execution of any programme”, Mngomezulu said.
Speaking on behalf of Eswatini Investment Promotion Authority (EIPA) was Mr. Bongani Ntjangase who is EIPA’s Head of Trade acknowledged the PLE for being part of the Trade Fair through this tournament. “We are excited about this tournament which is an indication that football is business, not just a game,” Ntjangase said.