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MBABANE – All-too-powerful Premier Soccer League (PSL) Chairman Dr. Irvin ‘Iron Duke’ Khoza has paid a glowing tribute to Mbabane Swallows for being nominated for the CAF ‘Club of the Year’ award.

In an exclusive interview with this newspaper this week, Khoza said Swallows’ nomination is a national milestone for Swaziland as a country.

“Swallows deserve all the praises for doing Swaziland proud after being nominated for such a prestigious award. Swaziland needs to build on this milestone and take it seriously for its positive effects globally. It means a lot for the country’s football,” Khoza said briefly.
 Khoza, the Orlando Pirates Football Club Chairman, said initiatives like the King’s Super Cup had also played a major role in the upliftment of Swazi soccer.

“It was not only about improving our relations with Swaziland but there was the priceless exchange of skills and knowledge. The Super Cup was a good initiative and we thank His Majesty King Mswati III for inviting both Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates Football Club to the event which helped strengthen the relations between the two countries,” he added.

Swallows boss Victor ‘Maradona’ Gamedze, who has won 20 trophies in 20 years as chairman of the red and white outfit, said they are humbled with the tribute from the Premier Soccer League (PSL) Chairman.

“Khoza is right, it’s His Majesty King Mswati III’s initiatives which have helped us perform this way in Africa. The King, for a long time, has been concerned that Swaziland was not known for its football prowess internationally.
“That’s why as a team whenever we played internationally, we always put the country first because in that way, we put the King first,” Gamedze said.
He thanked the Orlando Pirates Chairman, Khoza, for giving his team the chance to exchange friendly fire in a series of friendly games and tournaments like the King’s Super Cup.
“We might have lost by huge scorelines when playing the likes of Pirates and Chiefs, but we were learning a lot as a team. It helped us a lot, especially when we went to play in Africa where we do everything to uplift the name of the country,” he said.
Gamedze then heaped praises on both the King and the prime minister for associating themselves and government with football.
“For a long time, government and politicians did not associate with football but seven years ago, the prime minister started attending our games and events, showing us a lot of support and it lifted the football brand. The King also blessed us with his presence in many football cup finals and it set the wheels of success in motion.
This award nomination comes as a result of the political will and the support we have received, in particular from His Majesty King Mswati III. We can only say: BAYETHE WENA WAPHAKATHI!,” Gamedze bellowed.
Swallows were nominated for the CAF Club of the Year award late on Monday night.
The ‘Birds’ face stiff competition in the category as they are up against the likes of Egypt’s Al Ahly, South Africa’s SuperSport United, who lost the CAF Confederation Cup losing finalists, winners of the CAF Confederation Cup DR Congo’s TP Mazembe, Morocco’s Wydad Athletic Club.
Swallows, under the tutelage of coach, Thabo ‘Koki’ Vilakati, got the nomination after becoming the first Swazi team to reach the group stages of the CAF Confederations Cup in mid-year.
The nominations were released late on the CAF website.  The winners will be decided by votes from the members of the CAF Technical and Development Committee, CAF Media Experts Panel and Independent Media and TV consultants.
The winners, in the various categories, will be revealed during the Awards Gala dinner to take place on Thursday, January 4, 2018, in Accra, Ghana.

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: Cost cutting strategy
Should have government consulted emaSwati before introducing the cost cutting strategy?