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MBABANE – The joy that followed when Mbabane Highlanders’ name was called out during yesterday’s SwaziBank Cup quarter-finals’ draw summed it all up – there was relief they avoided tougher opposition.

They had managed to avoid Young Buffaloes, who were drawn as the first team on the left hand side, Manzini Wanderers and Matsapha United. Instead, they take on Tambuti while Wanderers go against First Division League side Vovovo, hoodoo teams who have knocked them out in another rich knockout tournament recently, the Ingwenyama Cup.
Matsapha United will have a second chance against Manzini Sundowns who eliminated them in the Ingwenyama Cup. The latter won the game by a solitary goal at the Mavuso Sports Centre in Last 16 stage.
One could obviously sense the tension and pressure inside the SwaziBank Auditorium amongst the club officials, fans and bank’s staff. One thing became clear though as the first four teams were drawn; that there would be Highlanders and Matsapha meeting at this stage.

The draw for Wanderers and Highlanders was met with certain reactions as the opponents were put out there. Wanderers were first to go against Vovovo who beat them 4-2 in the Ingwenyama Cup Last 16 and the reaction here gave the impression the maroon and white side was in trouble.

For Highlanders, it all looked so fair and expected or preferred by most for the struggling giants that fired their Zimbabwean coach Herbet Maruwa last week, replacing him with Rodney ‘Stumbo’ Charles and Ernest Mavuso.
Interestingly, Highlanders have failed to beat Tambuti since the turn the year, losing 2-1 in the Ingwenyama Cup quarterfinal and 2-0 last week in the league, further going deep into the relegation quagmire as the defeat took them to second from bottom.

In another fixture, Young Buffaloes will square up with Midas City who last Saturday managed to get three points from the army side in the league with a 1-0 win. The last time they met in a knockout was in the same tournament last year in Last 16 and Buffaloes won.

All eight clubs’ PROs declared war on the other, promising fireworks with those that won last time hoping to continue with that while revenge is also on the cards for the teams that got scarred. SwaziBank Cup Management Committee (MC), in the presence of the bank’s Managing Director Zakhele Lukhele, announced the fixture would be released once it was ready but games will be played on the weekend of April 1 and 2.

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