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NULLIFYING SEASON IS ONLY LOGICAL NOW

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A great wise man once wrote that true beauty has no colour because the soul is transparent. Life has taught some of us that there is a purpose for everyone you meet. Some people come into your life to test you, some to teach you, some to use you and some to bring out the very best in you. So the advice has always been to stop calling shotgun and become the driver of your destiny, as those gifted with words like to say.


The hot topic of discussion in the corridors of football power in recent days has been on what should happen to the current local football season. As one would expect, opinions are divided on this hotly debatable issue that we expect to get clearer in August (next month), as assured by the Eswatini Football Association (EFA) President Adam ‘Bomber’ Mthethwa during the association’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) last Sunday at Happy Valley Hotel.


Procedurally, the decision of the Premier League of Eswatini (PLE), an organisation regarded the commercial wing of local football, should ultimately decide the fate of the current season, though constitutionally, the EFA will have the final say, as correctly articulated by ‘Bomber’ during the General Assembly.

recommendations


True as that maybe but the fact of the matter is that the recommendations of the PLE, as custodians of premier league football, will give the country’s football mother body the direction they must take when arriving at the decision to or not to nullify the current football season.


PLE members have already formally voted on the matter through submissions to the COVID-19 sub-committee led by Mbabane Swallows’ governor Andreas Lukhele that have already been presented to the executive committee. A majority (18) of the members have formally endorsed the nullification route while the remaining eight want the season to be completed.


Constitutionally, it is all about what the majority wants and in this case, they want the season to be declared null and void. That really should count for something when the EFA executive committee takes a final stand on the issue. This is what you expect to happen logically speaking but there are always pros and cons when it comes to local football decisions. You always expect the unexpected but at the end of it all, health factors will also be crucial in the decision because the resumption of the games must provide safety guarantees for those involved from players, officials and relevant stakeholders.


This decision should not just be about the interests of sponsors or some EFA executive committee wanting to ensure that the season is completed so that Charles Matsebula’s Pigg’s Peak Black Swallows is relegated or Mashumi Shongwe’s Rangers also goes down in the first division league. This should not be about settling personal scores or proving who is powerful than the other but this decision requires sober minds.

political games


We are aware of the political games already at play on this issue behind-the-scenes but whatever punches they are trading, it should not in any way influence the decision on the fate of the season. Ideally, you want the football season to finish because that makes it complete in the truest sense of the word but declaring it null and void obviously adds a sour taste to the season, which is unfortunate. This is a situation we must embrace as football people and yes, agreeing to disagree is part of everyday life but let us be careful not to attach emotions or hidden agendas in that decision.


The EFA executive committee led by ‘Bomber’ obviously hold the ace in the decision-making which should happen during a special extraordinary meeting expected to be convened in August to, among things, is to take the much-awaited stand on the current season.


That meeting will also be to discuss proposals from the EFA affiliates including the PLE, which were not discussed during the AGM because the EFA constitution is under review by the world’s governing football body FIFA (Federation of international Football Association (FIFA). It is for that reason the EFA must call the extra-ordinary meeting to deliberate on the pending AGM issues.


Analysts would tell you that the decision is straight-forward at this point and I fully agree with them.
As a footballing country, we cannot afford to take the risk of toying around with the lives of our people just because we are hell-bent at concluding a football season. Football and the good of the society we live in is no contest in all honesty. Looking at the COVID-19 current statistics, then you shudder at the thought of football resuming locally.

personal interests


We need to put personal interests aside and look at this in the bigger picture. The rate at which the number of positive cases are rising combined with the deaths are alarming for a small country likes ours and the football fraternity should not be seen as reckless with decisions especially those that impact on the health of fellow citizens.


It’s a pity that whatever decision is taken, not everybody will be satisfied at the end because the interests are different. For some, if the season is nullified, they are exempted from relegation while for others, if the season does not get to the end, they stand to lose out on prize monies and promotion for others. There is the sponsors’ factor that comes into play because their interests on the decision are very critical. So, the question is, what decision do you take as EFA?

Let us not complicate things because besides the danger of breaching the PLE constitution if games are played outside the August 15 AGM and that is next month which is not too far away. Not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that can be counted counts. Our football leaders need to take a decision that counts for everybody, not to serve their interests.


It is very clear that for games to resume, it will require substantial funds, something we all know our EFA or PLE lack at the moment. Meeting the laid-down health requirements from regular testing for all teams everyday is no child’s play – it needs serious millions and as it is, our football leaders are struggling to adequately assist teams because of the same reason. You do not have to be great to make a correct decision but you have to think outside the box. It should not be about whether or not that decision will be popular but it must be the right one.   

serious problem


You know, life lessons have made me realise that If everybody likes you, then you have a serious problem.
That’s why those with clever minds would tell you that when you build in silence, people do not know what to attack.
As the EFA prepare to make the final call, let it be a mature one and that can only be nullifying the season.

The virus is spreading rapidly and at this point, football will be an unnecessary distraction in the efforts by health officials to defeat this global enemy.    
The challenge is that the roots of local football are not deep hence there is always fear when the wind is blowing. All things considered, we trust that ‘Bomber’ and his henchmen will take an informed decision. The administration style of our football must be impetuous, decisions impregnable while targeting ferocious efficiency. All the best!


I am at a place in life where peace is a priority. I deliberately avoid certain people to protect my mental, emotional and spiritual state. You can tell a lot about people by what they choose to see in you. Great leaders do not tell you what to do but they show how it is done.

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