RESOLUTE BHELEBANE UPSET DVOKODVWENI TO CLINCH MBUSO MASEKO MALINDZA LEAGUE TITLE
The football gods surely smiled for ambitious Malindza ensemble, Bhelebane Sundowns FC as they beat rivals, Dvokodvweni United FC 3-0 to clinch the Mbuso Maseko E35, 000.00 Malindza Zonal League title in a scintillating grand-closing encounter played at Malahleni Sports Ground on Sunday afternoon. The game which was played in front of throngs of football followers including National Football Association of Swaziland (NFAS) CEO Frederick Mngometulu and Executive Committee Member Member of Parliament (MP) Sikhumbuzo Dlamini, lived up to its expectations as both teams had fair chances of scoring opportunities in the opening 10 minutes. With the prospects of cashing out a whopping E6, 200.00 winner’s prize and gaining promotion to the Swazi Trac Lubombo Super League, Bhelebane FC had to tighten their grip to bag the maximum points and topple Dvokodvweni who were enjoying a two point lead going to the game. It was a 14th minute strike by diminutive midfielder Ndumiso Mkhatshwa which gave Bhelebane the lead after he connected a well taken free kick by Lungelo Tsabedze on the left flank to fire home the goal that ignited wild celebrations from the boisterous team supporters who burst into song. Dvokodvweni tried to push for an equalizer, with intimidating build-ups but they failed to penetrate the Bhelebane rear-guard marshalled by the ever-dependable skipper Sive Tsabedze who ensured that they bottle up their opponents burly striker Veli Tsabedze. With Bhelebane seemingly winning the battle in the belly of the park, they increased the tally in the 23rd minute through Mpendulo Mdluli who beat advancing Dvokodvweni goalkeeper Sibusiso Dlamini, who was having a bad day in office. That goal prompted Dvokodvweni to substitute their goalkeeper for Mazwi Tsabedze but the damage had already been done. With the score line reading 2-0 at half time , Dvokodvweni had to make another changes which saw the introduction of experienced Ncamiso Tsabedze in the second half who brought life in the middle. Dvokodvweni came firing from all cylinders in search for a goal and they were in control of the game in the opening minutes of the second half only to concede the third goal much against the run of play. Dvokodvweni defence was exposed in the 59th minute as a forceful Bhelebane's 'Bhantju' recieved a ball just near the centre line, cut in between defenders before he unleashed a shot that slightly deflected to the net for the third goal, thus killing the glimmer of hope for any comeback for Dvokodvweni who watched in horror as the title aspirations went up in smoke. Both teams were reduced to 10 men after their players were red carded with five minutes before stoppage time following an altercation. By the time the referee blew the final whistle the writing was already on the wall that Bhelebane are the new Malindza League Champions and they are promoted to the Super League. The game was also graced by league sponsor Mbuso Maseko as well as Lubombo Regional Football Association (LRFA ) Executive Committee Members; including Chairman, Mangaliso Langwenya, Secretary Sicelo Nene and Treasurer Thokozani Shongwe.
UMSECH F.C SITHEMBISO TOPS THE SCORERS CHARTS
Umsech F.C prolific striker Sithembiso Dlamini who scored 17 goals throughout the campaign has scooped the top goal scorer award in the Mbuso Maseko E35, 000.00 Malindza Zonal League. For his achievement the youthful player is set to pocket E400.00 prize.
The scorers chart is as follows;
Player Team Goals
Dlamini Sithembiso Umsech F.C 17
Mavuso Makhosini Juventus 13
Dlamini Mvikeli Siweni Utd 12
Simuka Nkululeko Young Aces 12
Magagula Ntokozo Black Mamba 12
MASEKO LAUDS TEAMS FOR COMPETITIVE LEAGUE
As the curtains finally fell for the Mbuso Maseko E35, 000.00 Malindza League, the sponsor has applauded the teams for the great performance displayed throughout the campaign. Interviewed shortly after the deciding game pitting Bhelebane Sundowns FC and Dvokodvweni United FC on Sunday , the sponsor Mbuso Maseko expressed his gratitude to the teams and the entire football fraternity for the success of the league. “I have noted that the teams have displayed an improved performance ever since the launch of the sponsorship and this surely encourages me to continue keep the relationship I have with the sport as the football fraternity have responded positively. And of course, football to me is my life, thus as long as I have something to offer, I will do so" he said. He also applauded the LRFA for the good marketing strategy which saw the football activities in the region regularly dominating media platforms; something which he said provides a good mileage for the sponsor.
THIS WAS A FIERCELY CONTESTED MATCH - MP SIKHUMBUZO DLAMINI
National Football Association of Swaziland’s Executive Committee Member, MP Sikhumbuzo Dlamini observed a fiercely contested encounter between Bhelebane Sundowns FC and Dvokodvweni United FC who kept the supporters at the edge of their seats for the entire 90 minutes. Dlamini who is also Nkwene Member of Parliament was interviewed shortly after the epic encounter at Malahleni Sports Ground on Sunday, and he noted a competitive league as evidenced by the fact that the champions had to be decided in the last game. “When considering the previous result of the two teams meeting in the reverse fixture and also their log standing, it suffices to deduce that the standard is very high and anyone could have won it. We also appreciate the tremendous improvement shown by Lubombo region in terms of football standard and administration as in the past we would know that Hhohho is leading, but with such performance in Lubombo the standard has reached greater heights.