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MBABANE – He is one of the best young midfielders in the country but will miss the COSAFA Cup Senior Challenge in a few weeks.

That is SwaziBank Cup 2018’s Player of the Series, Sandile Gamedze of Young Buffalos, who was crowned yesterday during a prize presentation ceremony inside the bank’s headquarters’ conference room. He had an ambition to feature for his country in the COSAFA Senior Challenge Cup slated for South Africa from May 27 until June 9. The national team Sihlangu plays Lesotho in the quarters on June 3. “It feels great to win this award. I hadn’t expected it but I’m not surprised as I feel I played well for my team. It’s very motivating to win such a big award as a young player and before the national team named the squad for COSAFA Cup, I had hoped to be part of the tournament,” he said when questioned how it felt to win the award and still not make the national team squad to the COSAFA games.

Gamedze, aged 23 years, came to stardom last season when Buffaloes unleashed him, winning himself a regular place in the Buffaloes’ first XI. He was named the tournament’s Best Player and received E15 000 for the award before tax deduction though. He further received E2 000 for being Man of the Match against Green Mamba in Nhlangano, a game they won in the dreaded penalty shootout. “I had got a call-up for the international friendly against Seychelles but upon return got dropped. My ambition for the COSAFA Cup was shattered soon as the squad was confirmed. I have accepted it and focussed to return as an even better player next season,” he said. He then dedicated his award to his mother and teammate Phiwa Dlamini, who he said both make him feel at home.

He said they were family to him, with Dlamini being his best friend and one player he enjoys being on the pitch with. Meanwhile, his friend was awarded the Top Goal scorer’s prize while his CEO Sandile Gwebu took Best PRO, with teammate Sihlangu Mkhwanazi also taking home one Man of the Match gong on  the day they swept the boards. They did not end in the senior tournament category but went on to win nearly everything in the inaugural Ladies Cup and under-20s. They were champions in all three.

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