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MBABANE – The MTN Premier League kick-off may be thrown into disarray as only seven teams out of the 26 conform to the required CAF Club Licensing standards.

Only teams that have met the club licensing standard will be eligible to play in the league. The seven teams are Manzini Wanderers, Mbabane Highlanders, Mbabane Swallows, Green Mamba, Malanti Chiefs, Young Buffaloes and Moneni Pirates.

Premier League of Eswatini (PLE) Chairman, Peter ‘Touch’ Magagula said a majority of the teams will struggle to register as they have not met the requirements, including owning junior teams, sports ground, and qualified coaches, among other things.

“All the teams, besides the seven that played in the Eswatini Telecom Charity Cup, have still not registered and it is a great concern because the process takes time. Teams have been struggling especially when it comes to the development teams, and they have been forced to rent juniors from other teams. We are expecting the teams to have met the requirements by Wednesday (tomorrow),” he said.

Magagula urged the team to start registering as soon as possible to avoid panic on Friday, which is the day of the league kick-off. He said he hoped that by Friday, all the teams would have registered and met the standards of the CAF Club Licensing programme. “The Eswatini Football Association (EFA) is there and ready to assist the teams. I’m expecting the teams, especially those who have chief executive officers (CEO), to easily go through the process and you can expect those with public relations officers (PRO’s) to struggle a little bit,” he said.

Magagula said the country’s league is one of the highly sponsored leagues in the southern Africa region and they had to lead by example.
There are 26 teams under the EPL and 14 campaigning in the elite league, with 12 playing in the MTN National First Division League.
Club licensing is simply a call to professionalise teams. Clubs are required to have offices and stadia, among other things, in a bid to improve the standard of football in the continent.

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