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MBABANE – There is a hidden factor behind this clash between two teams from the capital city this afternoon.

On paper, Mbabane Swallows should easily brush aside Ikarbot Masocha and his charges for obvious and various reasons. Swallows are the only winners of the tournament in its three-year history. And after beating Manzini Wanderers three weeks ago, they look on course for another appearance in the final. 

Citizens are but a ambitious National First Division side who are wearing the tag of being the surprise package of this year’s competition. The first team outside the Premier League to reach this stage of the tournament since its inception in the 2015/16 season.
Nothing has been made official yet, regarding the status of former Mbabane Highlanders boss Bheki ‘Rubber’ Simelane at the club, but there can be no denying his influence.

From the calibre of players signed by the club mid last season, to their branding, everything just felt ‘Rubberised’ at Citizens.
He has history with his Mbabane Swallows opponents. Apart from being their former player, he gave them a tough time during his three and half seasons as chairman of Highlanders, before he was forced to quit.

It is therefore no longer surprising that Citizens have soared so high this season in both the league and Ingwenyama Cup. This afternoon, he will unleash Sierra Leonean defender Baimba Kamara to renew his rivalry with Sandile Hlatshwako at Swallows.

He will be aided by former Manzini Wanderers centre back Brian Vilane who comes to the game still haunted by scoring an own goal in the first round MTN League match between Swallows against his former club, Wanderers. South African midfielder Sikhulile Sekgotho, hardman Dan Shabangu and the creative Senzo Dlamini, a former Swallows youngster, are some of the arsenal at Citizens’ disposal as they tried to become the first this season to beat the ‘Beautiful Birds’ in any tournament.

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