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MBABANE – Holders Mbabane Swallows’ casualty ward is almost full ahead of the eagerly-awaited derby against Mbabane Highlanders.

The country’s soccer heavyweights renew their rivalry in an MTN Premier League grand opening clash at Somhlolo National Stadium on Sunday. While Highlanders are set to parade a full strength squad, Swallows will be minus reigning Player of the Season and versatile defender Mandla Palma and striker Simanga Shongwe, who are still out injured.

Palma returned home with a plaster of paris on his leg after the recent trip to Angola for the CAF Champions League showdown with Club Desportivo while Shongwe got injured over a month ago.

Swallows General Manager Sandile Zwane confirmed that Palma was out of the game, as his leg was still swollen.
“Palma has removed the plaster of paris, but he is out of the game,” said Zwane.
Skipper Tony ‘TT’ Tsabedze and striker Sandile Hlatshwako, according to Zwane, were also injured, but were expected to pass a late fitness test. The former is nursing a knee injury.

“We’re hoping to have at least half of the injured players because of the magnitude of the game,” he said.
Despite the setback, Zwane assured that they would not be derailed in their bid to start their league title defence on a high note.
“Supporters should buy the pre-sale tickets to avoid disappointment on the day.
“It is one the biggest derbies in the world, so we expect supporters to come in numbers again,” said Zwane.
Swallows begin their chase of a third straight league title at 3:30pm. There will be a curtain-raiser between Green Mamba and Manzini Wanderers two hours earlier.

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