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‘BIRDS’, LEOPARD IN CUP FINAL AGAIN

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Sports Editor
(At Somhlolo National Stadium)

LOBAMBA – Buckle Up! It’s the repeat of the very first Ingwenyama Cup final on the memorable day of Sunday, March 13, 2016.


It’s two-time defending champions Mbabane Swallows against Royal Leopard again in the final of the third edition of the E9 million sponsored tournament which beautifully and uniquely combines football, the people’s game, with what is at the centre of the Swazi nation – culture.


Slightly over 4 000 fans worshipping on the altar of football were witnesses as two-time defending champions, Mbabane Swallows easily rough-shod over a listless Mbabane Citizen, who played like the National First Division side that they are, in a 3-0 trashing without even engaging the second gear.

The gulf in class between the premier league unbeaten log leaders and the National First Division log leaders was as clear as day-light from the moment Swallows most successful captain, Tony ‘TT’ Tsabedze opened the scoring account in the 5th minute of the one-sided encounter.


 From then on, it became a procession as the ‘Beautiful Birds’ stormed into their third cup final of the richest tournament in the land – with the princely E1.2 million first prize cheque – as cool as you like.
The armed forces encounter pitting last year’s losing finalist Young Buffaloes against the 2016 losing finalist, Royal Leopard was expected to be a fiery encounter but it degenerated into a sleep inducing affair which was decided by a fortuitous goal by winger Bonginkhosi ‘Manyovu’ Dlamini in the half-hour mark.

If boredom could kill, the slightly over 4 000 fans would have left in a hearse. Even the Minister of Sports, Culture and Youth Affairs, David ‘Cruiser’ Ngcamphalala who arrived shortly after the game had started had seen enough by the 80th minute. In the end, Leopard held on to the slender 1-0 lead to sail to the Cup final for the second time in the tournament’s three-year history.


The result set up a repeat of the 2016 Cup final where the ‘Birds’ emerged 2-0 winners courtesy of a 23rd minute blockbuster by jersey number 11, Banele ‘Pupu’ Sikhondze and a 85th minute cool-as-a-cucumber finish by industrious midfielder, Njabulo ‘D4D’ Ndlovu as the Swallows of Mbabane became the inaugural champions of the Ingwenyama Cup on the memorable Sunday of March 13, 2016.

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