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MANZINI – Mourners struggled to hold back tears, as visiting FIFA Refereeing Instructor Felix Tangawarima shared his last moments with the late Match Commissioner Mangaliso Langwenya.

Langwenya died last Saturday after a short illness. COSAFA Referees Manager and Zimbabwe-based FIFA Instructor Felix Tangawarima was among over 100 mourners, who paid their last respects to the fallen match official and football administrator during a memorial service at Prince Mfanyana Hall in Manzini yesterday.  Tangawarima was with the deceased about two weeks ago during the Council of Southern Africa Football Associations (COSAFA) Cup in Polokwane, South Africa.

Sharing his last moments with the deceased, Tangawarima, who makes regular stops in the country for courses, said he had suggested that the late should be taken back home, as his health condition worsened in Polokwane.

“He was briefly admitted in Cairo, Egypt, where he had attended a workshop. When he left Egypt for Polokwane, I had ordered the CAF doctor to prescribe medication he would take with him.

“On arrival in Polokwane, he was not well and I had to pack his bag. Due to his poor health, he had to connect two flights to Swaziland. I accompanied him to OR Tambo Airport in Johannesburg, and officials were doubtful he was fit to board a plane,” said Tangawarima.

The instructor said he had known Langwenya to be bubble, but could hardly recognise his voice when he called later to check on him.
“He sent a text message to me last week thanking the assistance in his short stay in Polokwane,” he said.

Tangawarima further disclosed that the deceased commanded respect in COSAFA, where he was nicknamed the ‘Chief.’
“I had instructed him to groom female referees from Swaziland (Eswatini).

“Without Mangaliso, we’re empty. He was sincere and loyal. He left a big void,” stressed Tangawarima.
The visiting instructor told Langwenya’s children that include former Premier League referee Phinda Sihlongonyane to be strong during the difficult period.

Meanwhile top football officials, referees and retired match commissioners made a stop at the venue to pay their last respects. They were led by National Football Association of Swaziland (NFAS) Vice President Peter ‘Samora’ Simelane. Premier League of Swaziland (PLS) Executive Member Peter ‘Touch’ Magagula and COO Pat Vilakati could also not miss out.

Retired FIFA referee and former PLS CEO Zwelonke ‘Sport’ Dlamini was also present.

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