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REFEREE SIMANGA IS NEW PLE CEO

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MBABANE – “Challenge accepted!”

That is the part of new Premier League of Eswatini (PLE) Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Simanga Nhleko. He is renowned as a top referee in the elite football circles, but his new job calls for him to put the whistle away for at least over two years. Simanga was unveiled yesterday during a press conference held at the Eswatini Football Association (EFA) Conference Room at Sigwaca House, which houses the PLE as well. PLE Chairman Peter ‘Touch’ Magagula, who took over the post in June this year, announced the appointment. In his brief comments, Nhleko who tried hard to keep his joy in check with little success said, “If I was a child, maybe I would be jumping with joy but then I realise this isn’t the right time because the task bestowed upon me is very enormous. 

“I have always said it that a challenge must be taken with respect, honour and humility. I accept this challenge chairman. As you have said, I am expected to bring a certain degree and I know currently the organisation is ranked 14th in Africa, so it’s a huge task. I won’t do this alone but with all of you as the media and all the other stakeholders,” he said.
Questioned about his refereeing career, Nhleko said while he was not ready to entertain questions at this stage until he settled into his new office, the truth was he had no choice but to quit. “I have to bid them goodbye. Yes, they are my friends but it’s a goodbye,” he said.

His superior, Magagula, said the PLE Executive Committee blessed his appointment after doing same to the report by the consultancy that did the hiring process. He explained the committee met at lunch time and gave its blessings to Nhleko’s appointment. “We’re excited that the process went well and was done by an independent consultant for transparency reasons. We welcome Simanga and wish him the best as we expect him as head of the organisation to bring in something new. He’s been in football for some time now, so he knows a lot of things and that this office has its challenges,” he said.


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