DRAMA AS AZAM DEFY PROTOCOL
(At Somhlolo National Stadium)
LOBAMBA – Off-the-field drama preceded yesterday’s 3-0 historic win for the country’s sole CAF Confederations Cup representatives, Mbabane Swallows over Tanzania’s Azam FC.
The match kicked off at 3:30pm, but there was already confrontation about an hour and half earlier between the two teams’ officials after the visitors defied all protocol and forcefully drove their team bus towards the Somhlolo National Stadium pitch.
They had to face the wrath of the stadium security officers and some football officials, who tried to reason with them. And when they eventually drove their bus back towards the dressing room, they vowed to boycott the clash.
There had to be engagement between their officials, Namibian match commissioner, FA and some government officials until they agreed to continue with the game.
However, the drama was not over as they then refused to use their dressing room complaining of a pungent smell, which the match commissioner, upon inspection, dismissed.
The incident lasted for over an hour and it drew the attention of supporters who left their seats to watch the verbal altercation behind the dressing rooms.
The match commissioner refused to entertain questions from the media, except to say that he will issue his report to CAF as per the procedure.
Mbabane Swallows Acting CEO Sibusiso Manana said they were shocked when they were told that the visitors wanted to have their players’ cards checked outside the dressing rooms. “It was something unheard of and we couldn’t take it,” he said briefly. And when the teams finally took to the field, it was Swallows who appeared more than ready to reverse the first leg defeat, as they were off the blocks quickest, racing to a 3-0 win to advance to the play-off stage of the competition, which precedes the money-spinning group stages.
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