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My dearest readers ... Complications of the new revolution ... eish this typewriter ... Compliments of the New Year!

Now that you have finished devouring a month’s groceries in a space of a week, imbibed copious litres and litres of the waters of immortality all in the name of celebrating the birth of Mary’s baby boy, Jesus Christ following an immaculate conception and ushering 2018, in style, welcome back to reality.

Of all the nauseating chain messages I received on WhatsApp just before we crossed over to the New Year, one touched the cockles of my heart. It read: “When you look back on 2017, don’t think of it as a year of pain but a year of growth. You made it through each day. You should be proud of yourself. You are a better you, despite all the hardships. Take a deep breath and enter 2018 with FAITH, HOPE and CONFIDENCE,”

That just sums it up for me and I hope it also rings a bell to our sports administrators as the country will be in merriment with its 50/50 double celebrations this year.
With God’s grace we hope to make 2018 a year to remember in the local sporting fraternity but for me, here is my wish list for the New Year.

National Football Association of Swaziland: As the governing body for the most followed sport in the country and shocker winner of the ‘Association of the Year’ award 2017, the Adam ‘Bomber’ Mthethwa-led organisation needs to step up and take charge of the development programmes which is their core business. Leaving everything in the hands of the Premier League of Swaziland (PLS) is a sad dereliction of duty on their part. As a result, age-cheating in the PLS developmental league is becoming normal and this then affects the selection of the junior squads. Everybody who knows a thing or two about Swazi football, is aware we sent an over-aged squad to the COSAFA Under-20 Youth Championships – and not for the first time. What did we gain? Nothing, Zilch, fokol, Nada, Dololo!
When will this ever end? It’s sickening really!
Premier League of Swaziland (PLS): Rated as the 14th best league in Africa, it is time for the PLS to grow to its true potential. Great strides have been made in the outgoing year with the first grants dished out to teams and a well run competitive league but I just wish the PLS could get a proper television broadcast deal that would change its face forever. All the big leagues in Africa and beyond have benefited from TV broadcast deals and the money that comes with it. A proper TV broadcast deal with a reputable TV station worth the tag would turn our football’s fortunes ten-folds. Our PLS under the stewardship of street-wise businessman Victor ‘Maradona’ Gamedze deserves this!
Swaziland National Sports Recreation Council: The 2017 National Sports Awards were a good idea that was, however, poorly executed. One can only hope the SNSRC has learnt its lesson after the outcry on the winners of the various categories. Perhaps it would help if the judges of these awards were not kept a secret but be people of integrity who will bring confidence and direction in the whole project. There is room for improvement. My wish is to see these awards become a must-see event of the year their stature deserves, not a cauldron of surprise awards!
Pieter De Jongh: He must be the luckiest coach in the world! He is paid E100 000 monthly for doing absolutely nothing! My wish is for the Dutch coach to be sensible and considerate by cutting short his paid holiday and return to his native country or wherever he came from. The next official Sihlangu match will be in the COSAFA Castle Cup yet his contract expires in March. What does he really do next? Twiddle his thumbs at an expensive hotel, go shopping at Pick N’ Pay, frequent the Corporate Place, watch soccer games when he feels like only at Somhlolo National Stadium where you are guaranteed his beloved Mbabane Swallows will be playing. Come on De Jongh, just cut the crap and go home!
Mbabane Swallows: Everybody is waiting for the day their unbeaten league run which is now at 40 games, comes to an end. It will sure be celebrated from Nqomitaba to Mavukutfu but my wish is to see the ‘Beautiful Birds’ eclipse the world record of 49 league unbeaten games set by England’s Arsenal’s Invincibles of the 2003-2004 or Italy’s Old Lady, Juventus 2011-2012. Or even better Fabio Capello’s AC Milan’s 58 league unbeaten run achieved between May 1991 to March 1993. My wish too is to see the Swallows of Mbabane reach the CAF Champions League semi-finals, at the very least and continue their growth in the African safari. Their wonderful exploits in the CAF Confederation Cup in 2017 were orgasmic. In the words of Eric Cantona, “it gave me a fu*&# hard-on!”. Now they need to show their mantle against the ‘big boys’ of the continent. 
Sabelo ‘Sikhali’ Ndzinisa (Mbabane Swallows): He is dearly missed by his team whose attacking forays, at the moment without him, has the lightning speed of a tortoise and he is sorely missed by his fans too. The country’s reigning goal king is recuperating after a life-threatening head injury on October 1, 2017. My wish in the New Year is to see him return to the field to do what he knows best – making goalkeepers faintly ill with his booming shots.
Banele ‘Pupu’ Sikhondze (Mbabane Swallows): I know I am bias; he is my favourite local soccer player because he plays football the way it’s supposed to be played – with a smile, with enjoyment, with silky skills and endeavour. I would pay to watch him in training! My wish is to see him take his game forward, deliver more goals, more incisive passes and probably go and play outside the borders of this country. The diminutive winger I call ‘jersey number 11’ reminds me a lot of Teko Modise whilst he donned the same number jersey for my beloved Orlando Pirates. Each time he touches the ball, I get goose bumps on my oval-shaped stomach. He is such a joy to watch!
Melusi Mkhwanazi (Manzini Sundowns): The Manzini Sundowns attacking midfielder is the find of the season. Not only does he score wondrous goals, he is a team player. He makes Sundowns tick. In a league where we have many average players, he makes my top list. My wish is to see him make it into the national team and prove his worth.
Mike Dombo (Manzini Wanderers): The wing wizard is the shining light at Manzini Wanderers with silky skills and perfect goals. Wanderers have always had that type of player who gets the crowd buzzing and Dombo is that kind of player. My wish is to see him exert himself more and help Wanderers end the 13 year wait for anything shiny in the form of silverware.
Sandile Gamedze (Young Buffaloes): In a team that plays more as a unit, the unsung hero is this talented midfielder at Young Buffaloes. He covers every blade of grass, eating it up like a Pac-man. If indeed my Geography teacher was right that 70  per cent of the earth is covered by water then certainly the rest is covered by Sandile Gamedze. What a player!
Siphamandla Dlamini (Matsapha United): Don’t you wish he was Swazi? Here is a player who is a carbon copy of another Siphamandla Dlamini who I nicknamed ‘Wakwa-Manzini’ who graced our fields in years gone by in the famed red and white colours of Mbabane Swallows. The Matsapha United wing wizard nimble-foot, excellent reading of the game and mesmerising runs makes him a joy to watch. His combination with another South African, Vusi Zungu has torn apart many opposition defences like the Red Sea at Moses behest in biblical times.
Swazi Bank Cup: The country’s magical knockout tournament ought to retain its status as ‘thee’ tournament. That’s why my wish is to see SwaziBank increase the package with the first prize shooting to at least E1.5 million so that the tournament that will be celebrating its 15th year this year reclaim its status as the ‘richest tournament’ in the land. We love the Swazi Bank Cup for obvious reasons – it is a tournament like no other!
New Ingwenyama Cup champions: Two-time Champions, Mbabane Swallows remain the only winners of the Ingwenyama Cup and it is becoming monotonous! The tournament is crying out for a new champion! My wish is that it is about time a knockout tournament or a trophy in general is won by another team besides Mbabane Swallows and the other armed forces!
Better refereeing: Towards the end of the year there were more complaints about the standard of refereeing. One wishes we had a bigger pool of referees to choose from because as it is, there were times when some of the senior referees were overworked and that compromises the quality of their work. As the season enters its penultimate stage in the New Year, we are praying and hoping for better refereeing!
FA Media relations: FA media officer, Muzi Radebe is a nice lad – he probably helps old ladies cross the road in town. But his bosses at Sigwaca House are making his job a tedious task by failing to provide him with the relevant information on time. In award-winning Sports Desk, we now call him “Mr. Tomorrow” because every time our journalists need information he promises to get it before the end of the day tomorrow as he always has to consult with FA CEO Frederick Mngomezulu even on petty things. It’s unworkable and we feel for “Mr Tomorrow”, because as a newspaper, news is fresh and the Times is first with the news (Unlike others who are first with yesterday’s news!).
We are not running a supermarket here! My wish is for the FA to allow Radebe to attend their meetings or brief him about information ready for public consumption early the next day so that he can call a media conference and release the information on time. That is the trend the world over, why is the FA failing to do this? Why did they hire Radebe in the first place if they are to frustrate him and us in the process? I know I will get his response on this TOMORROW! Gegegegegege ... Happy New Year!
Until next week, Thatha!
(Send your comments to: sports@times.co.sz or lwazid005@gmail.com or WhatsApp 7614 9806)

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