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Injuries worry Umbelebele

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SwaziBank Cup Ivutsa Bhe...as the saying goes the final pitting Umbelebele Cosmos and Mbabane Highlanders will surely set sparks flying.

Even though they will enter the game as underdogs, Umbelebele Cosmos has what it takes to lift the trophy for the first time. Injuries are ‘Inkiliva’s’ number one enemy going into the game.

Zweli Nxumalo, the team’s goal harvester who is nursing a knee injury, was nowhere to be seen during the session along with South African based defender Kago Segela and reserve goalkeeper Sihle Hlatshwako.

Despite the injury worries though, the ‘Skom Boys’ are looking forward to the smile on the face of their 12th player – their passionate supporters who always make it a point to root for their idols throughout the 90 minutes of action whenever wherever the team plays.

The training

 The training was exhilarating and one could have thought it was the actual final. So tense was the situation that the players at times overlooked that they belonged to the same camp and committed themselves to rough tackles, which obviously didn’t go down well with the head coach Harris ‘Madze’ Bulunga.  Despite these setbacks, the training session was well planned and well coordinated. It was nothing but serious business between the coach and players from the onset.

The coach had no time to joke around with the players but issued instructions, which were carried out to the latter.
The session started with some warm up exercises, after which the coach divided them into two teams playing one touch in half ground with both goalkeepers taking turns in the goals posts. About an hour later they resorted to playing on the full ground until the last minute of the session.

The mood

One could tell that the ‘Skom Boys’ were all out to take this one to Ekasi. Having won the Top Lotto Cup in 2008, the players seemed buoyed. Perhaps they had a feeling that history could repeat itself.
Although it was a tough session, they took and put the coach’s instructions into action without any complaints. The spirit amongst them was also very high and they constantly motivated each other throughout.


The players came in numbers save for a few who joined the session late. These are skipper Celani Dlamini, who was held up at work and the duo of Phinda Ginindza and Ncamiso ‘Mbhonyo’ Dlamini who were held up in the ongoing school ball games. The players arrived in the company of the team’s assistant coach Brian Mohammed.
Casualty ward

Zweli Nxumalo, who is nursing a knee injury,South African based defender Kago Segela and reserve goalkeeper Sihle Hlatshwako all missed training.
However Kago was expected to have joined the team yesterday after doctors gave him the go ahead and will make the game should he pass the fitness test.  As for Zweli he is still in doubt together with Hlatshwako.
Red hot Malian striker Souleymane Diabate gave the team a scare, as he asked to be excused midway through after seemingly aggravating his injury. It was later gathered that he will make the game.

Players Physical Fitness

Most of the players seemed to be responding well to the training sessions in preparation for the final. Some of the players that caught our eye during the training included Ghanaian born Bernard Teye, Muzi ‘Mzoro’ Dlamini, Raphael Watt and Msimisi Ncanywa.

Players speak

Msimisi Ncanywa
The talking will be done inside the field.
“We have prepared well for this game and I must say much of the talking will be done inside the pitch. To our supporters they should come in their numbers because we really need their support during this game.”

Coach’s words:

 ‘‘We are getting there and my only worry now are the injured players. Other than that I believe this session went well and all that’s left is for us to take to the pitch. Depending on how Highlanders approach the game, I think we are ready for them.  As a big team, we respect them but we don’t fear them.’’

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