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THE FOREIGN STARS OF THE 2019/2020 SEASON

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Sports Editor

Admittedly, the standards have fallen to residual lows.  Gone are those days when the foreign imports set the football scene alight with scintillating skills, glut of goals and agile goalkeeping that made them household names locally.


The jury is still out on whether the foreign stars we have here add any value to our football or not. In the past, there was no doubt the stars we had helped uplift the local game.


The likes of Matthews ‘Chaka Chaka’ Mandlazi, Talos Talos Masicane, Said Shabani. Gilbert Ndzeyimane, Vincent Chileshe, Biston Mwanza, Jani ‘Be Good’ Simulambo, Boston Mwanza, Pappy Kapamba, Eitenneh Massoye, Sphamandla ‘Wakwa-Manzini’ Dlamini, Kinnah ‘Electric Man’ Phiri, Peterson Kaira, Willy Nkola, to mention but a few of those who came into the country and left a lasting impression.
Sports Editor LWAZI DLAMINI picks the 10 foreign stars who have been impressive in the 2019/2020 season before the coronavirus brought everything to a juddering halt.


THABISO MOKONKOANE (ROYAL LEOPARD)


After a frustrating period at Mbabane Swallows, where he scored a lone goal, the former Mbabane Highlanders striker announced his arrival at Royal Leopard with a historic eight-goal haul against Shiselweni’s Nsingizini Hotspurs in the police side’s 12-0 win during the Last 32 Idlala Kamnandzi EswatiniBank Cup clash on February 15 at King Sobhuza II Memorial Stadium. His star quality is not in doubt because he has an eye for goal and his first touch is delicate. He is the country’s best paid footballer, raking in E15 000 per month.


JOSEF LEKATA (MB. HIGHLANDERS)


His brace in the EswatiniTelecom Charity Cup final in Highlanders 3-1 win over Manzini Wanderers marked his arrival in the country. He might not have hit the same strides but he leads the ‘Black Bull’ attacking forays. He likes to play off-the-shoulder of defenders and he is lethal in the air. He is probably still cursing referee Thembinkosi Dlamini for the disallowed derby ‘goal’ on December 22, 2019 against sworn rivals Swallows.


JOHNSON MENSAH
(MANZINI WANDERERS)


If you want a hard worker who pushes the opposition defence to the limit with endless off-the-ball runs, then Johnson Mensah is your man. Signed from Mhlume Peacemakers he has been the name coach Nyanga ‘Crooks’ Hlophe pencils first on the starting line up because he is a workaholic, though he heads the ball as if it were a pawpaw.


KENNETH MOLOTO
(MBABANE HIGHLANDERS)


Very little has been seen of him other than 43rd minute winning goal for Highlanders in the derby during the Ingwenyama Cup Last 16 stage on January 12. The blonde-haired South African nifty footwork was impressive but he did not get much game time before the season was brought to a halt.


KINGU PEMBA (MBABANE SWALLOWS)


He reminds Swallows fans of the cool-as-a-cucumber Wandile ‘Wawa’ Mazibuko at the rear-guard with his timely tackles and excellent reading of the game, which far outweighs his fatal lack of pace. The former Sundowns defender has excelled in plugging the holes in Honour Janza’s defensive wall where he is a vital cog.


CHAFIOU ADOUDOU
(MANZINI WANDERERS)


Nicknamed ‘Kante’, not just for the striking resemblance to the French international N’Golo Kante, the former Vovovo FC midfielder eats the whole pitch like a Pac-man. He covers every blade of grass tirelessly for 90 minutes or more. He wins many midfield duels but he would struggle to pass salt across a dinner table.


JONATHAN BOAFO
 (BLACK SWALLOWS)


Before Black Swallows brought in former Manzini Wanderers striker Mfanufikile ‘Fash’ Ndzimandze to their ensemble, he was the only recognisable striker in the struggling Pigg’s Peak based outfit. He runs as if he eats air and has a sharp eye for goal. One of the strikers to look out for when the season resumes.


ROMANUS IDIGIMBA  (MONENI PIRATES)


One man’s poison, is another man’s meat. It is still a mystery how Manzini Wanderers let go of this talented Nigerian born goal-minder. He has been a revelation at the Moneni Buccaneers and one of the best in the country at the moment with his ball distribution and aerial presence.


REAGAN KANGUMBU
(TAMBUTI FC)


 A free kick specialist of note, Kangumbu is a talented midfielder who has made the centre-circle his oyster at Tambuti FC with some dazzling performances this season. His best game was certainly against log leaders Young Buffaloes at Mavuso Sports Centre where he was simply outstanding.


SOLOMON OLEDELE (GREEN MAMBA)


 Since arriving in the country three years ago, the former Red Lions striker has been a thorn in the flesh of many defenders with his searing pace and bagful of tricks. Wherever he has played he gives that team at least eight goals or more per season. He was a vital cog in the Green Mamba league championship winning side last season.

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