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My dearest readers ... Legend has it that on September 22, 1828, the legendary King Shaka, lying on his death bed, with his bodyguard Mbopha and his half-brothers, Dingane and Mhlangana next to him, at his military barracks at Dukuza called out to his brother Dingane and uttered these never-to-be-forgotten words.

“Hey brother, You kill me, thinking you will rule but the Swallows will do that!,” said great King Shaka, Sigidi kaSenzangakhona, as his life ebbed away.
Those immortal words have come to life 189 years later in the vanguard of Swazi football where Mbabane Swallows Football Club, formed in 1948, is ruling the roost with unmatched impunity.

Eight trophies in the last two years; 34 league games unbeaten run and still counting; first Swazi team under the new format to reach the group stages of the CAF Confederation (Swaziland’s most successful side, Highlanders did reach the quarter-finals of the same tournament in 1986 but under the old format, the price of bread was still a modest E1). I am not done. A massive 60 points and 58 goals scored – 25 goals more than the nearest high scoring side in Moneni Pirates who netted a total of 33 goals last season remains the highest points tally since MTN Swaziland began sponsoring the league in the 2002-03 season. Nine players in the starting line-up of any official national team, Sihlangu match and a bulging kitty which with the latest E350 000 addition for being first round champions, now stands at E6.6 million in this calendar year.

 Mbabane Swallows are in a class of their own. They have something more. Something indefinable. Something that cannot be taught in coaching manuals or captured in replays or revealed by reams of statistical analysis. Something that lifts them beyond. Something that propels them towards the realms of the fantastic. Sometimes they look to be beaten. They look to be done and out and then they are not. Somehow they return from the beyond. Call it the ‘Van Damme’ spirit. Call it whatever you may, for nothing compares. This isn’t about Victor ‘Maradona’ Gamedze. He is tired about lifting one trophy after the other. He wants to conquer Africa. This is about Mbabane Swallows Football Club; a great club who never know when a cause is lost and certainly even in Africa.

Coach, Thabo ‘Koki’ Vilakati and everyone associated with the club will be the first to admit, this season, in particular, they have not been the mean-machine which flattens everything before it. They have not hit the strides but still the results show, they possess something extra to win games. The bald facts are there – unbeaten in the 12 games played this season having won 10 and drawn two. This season they have not been as ruthless as they have been known to be, not as beautifully as a swan but as the hoary old cliché goes, they just want it more.

They want it so much it hurts. For sheer effort, against Royal Leopard on Saturday; Manzini Wanderers on September 23; Manzini Sundowns on September 27; Mbabane Highlanders on October 11 and the goalless draw with Matsapha United. Many people would have thought the goalless draw with Matsapha United was a bad result but in reality it was a good result because it did not break the team’s spirit.

Those who watched the game will agree with me that the ‘Birds’ created more chances to win the game than the Premier League rookies who almost snatched a win though mid-way through the second half. That blip forced Koki Vilakati’s charges to dig deeper into their reserves of courage; it forced them to look themselves in the mirror. It brought back that elusive quality – the X Factor which continues to propel them to one victory after another.

It is hard to imagine any Swazi team playing 34 league games unbeaten in this era where muti seems to be a priority for many teams. Swallows play a fast, high pressing game aided by individual brilliance by their experienced players like captain fantastic Tony ‘TT’ Tsabedze, wing wizard Wonder ‘Samba Jive’ Nhleko, eccentric jersey number 11, Banele ‘Pupu’ Sikhondze, the defensive triumvirate of Sanele Mkhweli, Mandla Palma, Sifiso Mabila and the fast improving Ndumiso ‘Tower’ Ndaba.

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