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Badara, Rautmann blame it on unplayable pitch

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Amagagasi.......................(1) 2
Siboniso 34th, Joe 68th
Swallows......................... (0) 1
Ncube 82nd

NHLANGANO – The SwaziBank Cup romance is still very much alive. Shiselweni Super league outfit, Amagagasi FC caused the biggest upset of the tournament in their seven-year history when they sent a star-studded Mbabane Swallows packing in the preliminary round stages of the richest tournament in the land.

The shocking waves which reverberated around the country, dominating dinner tables chit-chats left Swallows with not only bruised egos ahead of the CAF Champions league clash with SuperSport United but marked the tournament’s biggest upset since Illovo FC knocked out Manzini Wanderers in the opening game in 2005.

Mbabane Swallows coach Alou Badara had a lot of excuses about yester-day’s shock 1-2 loss to Shiselw-eni side Amagagasi F.C.
The Malian born coach blamed the decision to fixture the game a week before their crunch CAF Champions League assignment against SuperSport United next weekend. He said his players were visibly reserved themselves for the big game, hence they lost.

“I had even approached the team management to request for the postponement of the game until after our SuperSport game, but it proved to be impossible. The unplayable pitch also made it hard for us to play and I am still shocked how we were allowed to play in such a stadium,” he said. He was echoed by the team’s South African interim mentor Walter Rautmann who said the pitch was a play ground for cows and chickens.
“Do you want me to talk about the chickens, cows and sheep I saw in the soccer pitch? I am definitely sure that no South African team could play in such a pitch. But we also have about five players who have not been playing due to injuries,” he said.

Both coaches urged the team supporters not to lose heart after yesterday’s painful defeat at the hands of the Super League side. The Beautiful Birds were without injured Thokozani Mkhulisi and had to use reserve goalkeeper against the club. Stanford Ncube scored a late goal from the spot kick to ensure an explosive finish to the game.

This was after the under dogs had scored a goal in each half courtesy of Siboniso Ndzinisa and Joe Lukhele. The latter blasted in a rebound from a free kick, whilst Lukhele punished a defensive blunder at the back to increase the tally at a time when Swallows were seeking for an equaliser.
The result is the worst for the 2006 champions in the history of the tournament incepted in 2004. In fact, they went to yesterday’s game as amongst the favourites to go all the way this season.

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