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MBABANE – He is not moving an inch, period. That is the statement from Mbabane Highlanders in response to the headline news yesterday that their longest serving player and Captain, Xolani ‘Chocco’ Sibandze, was set to join elite league returnees Manzini Sea Birds when the new season begins in September.

The capital city giants responded through former player, patron and now Managing Director and Lobamba Lomdzala outgoing Member of Parliament (MP) Marwick Khumalo yesterday. The story was carried by this newspaper on the back page yesterday.

“Let me set this straight. Firstly, Chocco is not for sale. Chocco is the face of Highlanders. He is a brand. Chocco is not going anywhere. If they want to see Shaka, let them attack because he’s not going anywhere,” Khumalo retorted.

Continuing, he said, “Secondly, they are not an employment bureau for other teams’ players. They took Sibusiso Dlamini (ex-Highlanders and national team Sihlangu defender) but they must forget about Chocco.”
He said this was not professionalism by Sea Birds and there was no way they could allow their players to be recruited under the guise of employment.

Adding, Khumalo emphasised that Chocco belonged to Highlanders and was an asset that was not going anywhere.
“That’s the fact of the matter. I’ve just spoken to him right now and can tell you there’s no way Chocco can leave and go to Sea Birds. He is a brand for Highlanders. If there’s anything troubling him he will tell us. More than anyone else in the club, I know better about Chocco and everything concerning him,” he clarified.

He said at the moment, the player had not told him or anyone in the team about whatever troubles or challenges he faced, if any. The player said he had no comment when sought. His potential suitors, Sea Birds’ Managing Director and National Football Association of Swaziland (NFAS) Vice President Samora Simelane, distanced himself and the club from this.


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