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The annual BuildIt National Championships kicked off at a high note on Saturday at the Killerny Stadium in Piggs Peak. This event was witnessed by Eswatini Football Association of Swaziland’s (EFA’s)Technical Director Bhekisisa Mkhonta; Sihlangu SeMnikati’s Head Coach Anthony Mdluli and BuildIt Manager Khanya Ndlovu just to mention but a few.

Football development was the ultimate winner as the youngsters showcased their talent in a very competitive manner. The champions of the Piggs Peak store event were Ntfonjeni Youngsters FC after winning against Lomshiyo FC by 3-0. The best player of the day was Sizwe Nkambule who played for the champions. This future of this player looks promising when considering his football artistry and it is possible for him to follow in the footsteps of his role models who are Brazilian player Neymar Jr. and Tony “TT” Tsabedze. “My best international player is Brazillian Neynar Jr. and locally I like Tony Tsabedze”, Nkambule said. The next store event will be at Buhleni.

The national U17 head coach, Velekhaya Mthethwa is happy with the preparations of the national team thus far as the players are responding very well at training. The U17 National Team is preparing for the COSAFA U17 competition to be held in Mauritius as from the 19th -29th July 2018. When interviewed, he stated that the players are eager to play for the national team as they look hungry to compete. “The players look hungry to play for the national team as they are gaining in confidence”; Mthethwa said. When quizzed about his main focus so far at training; he said that as a technical team; they were mainly focusing on the player’s physical fitness and combinations. “We are mainly focusing on the physical fitness of the players and combination”; he said.

The football association has changed its name to Eswatini Football Association (EFA). This change comes after His Majesty King Mswati The III announced the change of name for the country from being called Swaziland to Eswatini during the 50/50 Double Celebration held on the 19th April 2018 at the Mavuso Sports Centre.

This new name was unveiled by the President of the EFA,Mr. Adam Mthethwa during the Oerdinary General Assemble of the EFA that was held on Sunday, 1st July 2018 at Sibane Hotel. “Due to the change of name of the country by His Majesty The King Mswati III, the Executive Committee of the football association has come up with a new name for the local football federation, and the name is Eswatini Football Association”; Mthethwa said. This proposed name was also accepted by the other delegates.

The late Philip Dlamini’s position at the Executive Committee of the Eswatini Football Association (EFA) has been taken by Thulani Mavuso who is also an instructor of the organisation. Mavuso is also a former Secretary of the Hhohho Regional Football Association. Mavuso was voted to this position ahead of 4 other nominees who were Cindy Dludlu, Thulani Mavuso, Peter Magagula, Johannes Siboza and Jerry Gamedze who was removed from the ballot papers as he was absent.

The made the competing nominees to be 4 in number and after the first round of the elections with votes coming from the delegates of the EFA, Cindy Dludlu got 4 votes, Thulani Mavuso got 17 votes, Peter Magagula got 14 votes and Johannes Siboza got 10 votes. This outcome resulted to Cindy Dludlu being eliminated. The second round resulted in Thulani Mavuso getting 22 votes, Johannes Siboza getting 12 votes and Peter Magagula getting 11 votes. Magagula was eliminated in this round. The final round was between Thulani Mavuso and Johannes Siboza; with the former getting 26 votes and the latter getting 19 votes. This outcome confirmed Mavuso as the winner thus adopting the status of being an Executive Member of the EFA.   

The 50/50 SPTC Charity Cup has been officially launched at the Mavuso Exhibition Centre in Manzini. The Honourable Minister Owen Nxumalo who was representing the Honourable Prime Minister was the guest speaker of this event. In his speech, he acknowledged SPTC for her effort over the years in as far as uplifting the lives of the underprivileged community and also developing football in the country. This year’s sponsorship is E2, 722 500.00. “The sponsorship package for the 50/50 SPTC Charity Cup Competition is E2, 722 500.00”; Nxumalo said.

When reacting to this sponsorship, the football family through the Vice President of the NFAS Peter Simelane expressed its sincere gratitude to the sponsor as this competition allows football teams to show case their new players for the start of the new football season and also for the charitable work that forms part of this competition. “We acknowledge SPTC for her support to football over the years and this competition provide a perfect platform for football teams to showcase their new players for the new season whilst at the same time it promotes the spirit of charity in the country”; Simelane said.

The champions of the 50/50 SPTC Charity Cup will have all the reasons to smile as they will be guaranteed with E1 million cash in the bank account. “The champions of this competition will get E1 million”; Mabila said This was stated by the representative of the Premier League of Eswatini Chairman and Board Member Mduduzi Mabila during the official launch of the competition. This year’s event will see the traditional big 3 football clubs in the country participating on the main day on the tournament as the initial day which will be the 22nd July 2018 is booked for the play-offs.  On this day, Young Buffaloes FC, Green Mamba FC, Malanti Chief FC and Moneni Pirates FC will compete for the only slot left for the main event competition. The development teams of the participating teams have been included in this tournament as a way of developing future players in the country. Mabila also highlighted that the traditional big 3 teams were chosen for the main event due to their huge fan base as it is a must that gate takings have to be maximised as they play a vital role in as far as charity is concerned.

On the other hand, the sponsor through the Managing Director Petros Dlamini acknowledged the Premier League of Eswatini for the manner in which this tournament has been implemented over the years as SPTC has also achieved her mandate. “Through this competition we promote the spirit of charity and peace in the country”; Dlamini said.

The Mbabane Swallows FC defender Mandla Palma and Manzini Sea Birds striker Muzi Tsabedze are the player of the season for the 2017/18 football season in the MTN Premier League and the National First division respectively. These players were unveiled in an event that was held at the posh Royal Villas in Ezulwini in the presence of the Honourable Deputy Prime Minister (DPM) Paul Dlamini, National Football Association of Swaziland (NFAS) President Senator Adam Mthethwa and the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Eswatini MTN Ambrose Dlamini just to mention but a few.

In total, there were 35 awards that were given to well deserving football players, coaches teams and administrators by the sponsor. Some of these awards also included the top goal scorers, hatrick initiative, and coaches of the season and man of the matches just to mention but a few. Other recipients of prizes included Charles Molopi from Malanti Chiefs, Phiwa Dlamini from Young Buffaloes and Thabo Vilakati the Mbabane Swallows FC head coach just to mention but a few.

Eswatini MTN is in love with the country through football. This was disclosed by the CEO of the mobile telecommunication company, Ambrose Dlamini during the prize presentation ceremony that was held last night at the Royal Villas in Ezulwini. “By partnering football for so long is a sign that Eswatini MTN loves the country”; Dlamini said. The CEO also highlighted that as a sponsor of the elite league and the National First Division on the land they really acknowledge His Majesty’s Government, football fraternity and other stakeholders for the successful implementation of the 2017/18 football season. The sponsor is also delighted to see one of the local football clubs performing very well in international competitions which is a sign that they are also contributing towards football development in the country. “As a sponsor we are delighted to see one of the local football team playing very well in international competitions”; Dlamini said. In conclusion the CEO acknowledge the competitiveness of the tournament which also played a significant role in convincing Eswatini MTN to increase the sponsorship to E6million per football season.  

It is for this reason that the Premier League of Swaziland (PLS) through its Executive Member Peter Magagula acknowledged every stakeholder for the successful implementation of the previous football season. He also reminded the football team that as the new season draws near, fair play must be the main business so that football will be the winner as FIFA advocates. The National Football Association of Swaziland is also in full support of the PLS as it is a vital structure of football which embraces the development of football in the country. “The PLS through its competitions embraces football development in the country which complements the core business of the NFAS”; said the NFAS President Senator Adam Mthethwa.

The National Football Association of Swaziland (NFAS) has called the football coaches in the country to be united and support each other. This was emphasised by the Vice President of the NFAS Dr. Comfort Shongwe during the official closure of the Coaches Symposium that was held over the weekend. As coaches, you have be united and support each other”; Shongwe said. He also highlighted that such forum like the coaches symposium are good for football development in the country and they are more effective when there is unity amongst the participants. The Vice President of the NFAS also challenged the coaches to work very hard and produce players who will get better contracts from football clubs competing in better leagues in the world. “Let us see players getting better contracts, from better football clubs competing in better leagues”; Shongwe said.

The Swaziland Football Coaches Association (SFCA) held its first coaches award during this year’s coaches’ symposium. The outstanding coaches from the Regional Super Leagues to elite competitions were being recognized by the SFCA. Coaches’ frm the different football teams that won some silver wear and runner’s ups from the various competitions in the country were being awarded. The Chairman of the SFCA Anthony Mdluli also awarder the Chaiman’s award to Milling Hotspurs FC Head Coach Xolani Sigudla for his hard work as the team shocked the waves of the football industry by reaching the quarter finals of the Ingwenyama SMVAF Cup and ending the MTN National First Division on the 4th position. The coaches also voted for the Coaches’ Coach of the Year Award that was won by Young Buffaloes FC Head Coach Dominic Kunene. This awarding ceremony was also enhanced by the donations from the Royal Swazi Sun, Sibane Hotel and Muhle Tours.

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