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MBABANE – Holders Young Buffaloes have been handed a fair draw in the semi-finals of the EswatiniBank Cup.

The back-to-back champions will continue their defence against the 2004 and 2007 runners-up following yesterday’s draw at the EswatiniBank Cup Auditorium in Mbabane yesterday.

Buffaloes do not only boast a better head-to-head record against Sundowns, but are unbeaten in 16 matches in all competitions this year. In the league fixture this season, Buffaloes won by 2-0 in the first round before Sundowns forced a goalless draw in the March 6, 2019 return match. In fact, Sundowns have failed to beat the opposition in eight straight league matches.

  The semi-final line-up will be completed by a mouth-watering clash between the two tops teams in the league log leaders Royal Leopard and second-placed Green Mamba. The two sides have met before in this tournament, including in the March 3, 2007 quarter-final when Leopard’s Sihle Sukati’s strike proved to be the difference.

Green Mamba are two-time winners after claiming gold in 2004 and 2012. Leopard, on the other hand, were winners in 2007, 2011 and 2014.
Like in last week’s quarter-final draw, Buffaloes’ name came first out of the pot. Up next were Royal Leopard. When it was time for pairings yesterday, first to come out of the pot were Sundowns, who set up a clash against Buffaloes.

The former surprisingly heaved a sigh of relief as they did not want to face Leopard and Green Mamba. Two of Sundowns’ players, Sanele Mngometulu and Phumlani Dlamini, are ineligible to face parent club Leopard. Muhle Shiba, who starred in the 1-0 quarter-final win against Malanti Chiefs, is on loan from Green Mamba.

“It’s Sundowns against the rest.
“We’re out to prevent a forces derby in the final,” said Sundowns PRO Muzi Matsenjwa.

Green Mamba CEO Thami Phakathi said his outfit were already ahead in terms of preparations while Frank Hurube of Royal Leopard said the police outfit would be in revenge mode following a 0-2 loss to Green Mamba in a league fixture recently at Mhlume. Buffaloes PRO Thando ‘Va’ Nxumalo sounded confident of tightening their grip on the title.

The games will be played this coming Sunday at Somhlolo National Stadium. The fixture will be released today.
The draw was conducted before guests led by the reputable financial institution’s Managing Director Zakhele Lukhele. Also present was the Eswatini Football Association (EFA) President Adam ‘Bomber’ Mthethwa.

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