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You don’t have to be a staunch Mbabane Highlanders supporter to deduce that the black and white capital city giants mean business this season. Arguably one of the most successful clubs in the kingdom, ‘Ezimnyama Ngenkani’, as they are affectionately known, are seemingly on the verge to retain their yesteryear status where the team was a force to be reckoned with both domestically and internationally.

History suggests that the dominant Highlanders of old became the first local team to reach the quarter-finals of the then Africa Cup Winners Cup (now known as CAF Confederations Cup), not to mention their back-to-back league and knockout trophies, an achievement which made them the barometers of local football. I am not a Highlanders follower, but an independent football person who could not resist the temptation of penning a piece about the promising state of affairs at the ‘Bull’s kraal. Other than the fact that my father is a staunch Highlanders supporter, what drives me to write this piece is the positive impact the resurgence of big clubs like the Mbabane giants could have in the standard of football in the country.

And of course, as we head towards the start of the new season, the team, which is under the tutelage of respected South Africa-born mentor, Mlungisi ‘Professor’ Ngubane, has been the busiest in the market , having reportedly spent a whopping E450 000 in landing nine quality players. This is surely sweet music to their throngs of supporters who are still nursing hopes that the team will turn the corner and bring back the good old days at the club.

After showing some positive performances last season, albeit with an inexperienced squad, the reported signings will definitely add the needed depth in almost every department.

It might be too early to conclude that the team will turn the corner but it is of great importance to note the positive attitude demonstrated by the directors of the club in working to revive the once revered brand of ‘Inkunz’emnyama’.
Coach Ngubane and his technical bench have the task of assembling their squad to compete effectively this season, and probably end the team’s trophy drought.

They might have the talent and experience at their disposal but what matters most is how are they will utilise it. This is the right time for the Highlanders family to unite and take the club to greater heights. In the end, it is not only the brand of Highlanders that will benefit but also the entire football fraternity.

Comfort Jele

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