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MBABANE – Eswatini Football Association (EFA) are geared up for project restart if government gives the go-ahead for football action to resume.

If comments by EFA CEO Frederick Mngometulu are anything to go by, the season could be in action in six weeks time. Mngometulu’s comments come after the Prime Minister Ambrose Mandvulo Dlamini lifted the ban on low risk sports. These sporting codes which were categorised as low risk include athletics, cricket, cue sports (pool), cycling, darts, equestrian, golf, shooting, tennis and teqball. “Firstly, we would like to thank His Majesty’s government for lifting the ban on some sports. This gives us hope that football will eventually return in the near future,” said Mngometulu.

Asked if government would give football the go-ahead, would they be ready or they would have to wait for August, which was stipulated during the EFA Annual General Meeting, he said; “If government would give us the green light tomorrow, we would be ready. We can roll-out our strategy which is in place in case the government allows football to return,” he said.
“The strategy has been proven and has been tested in our leagues and it has worked. It will require us two weeks to conduct tests for football officials and check venues and roll-out the necessary equipment,” he added. He disclosed that in six weeks time football could return.

Asked if they had the financial muscle to implement the strategy, he said; “We have everything in place we are only waiting for government to give us the green light,” he said.
Quizzed if they had already received the FIFA Relief Fund estimated to be at around E16.7 million, he said; “Let me first clarify that the FIFA Relief Fund is not E25 million. We are entitled to US$1 million and that is approximately E16.7 million. Even so, we will not receive that amount but it will be released in two stages. This means we will get about half that amount this year and the remaining amount will be released next year,” said Mngometulu.

He said FIFA had not released the relief fund yet as it was currently designing templates which will be used to allow their member associations to apply for these funds.
The 2019/20 season was suspended on March 13. This was before the prestigious EswatiniBank Cup quarterfinals. The league was stopped short with eight games to spare. Interestingly by this time, the 2019/20 would have been completed and preparations for the EswatiniTelecom Charity Cup tournament are underway if it were not for the COVID-19 outbreak. Usually the season is completed in May and in July and August it is the preseason, where the Charity Cup and Bible Cup are usually slotted.

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