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MBABANE – The long wait is finally over.

After what seemed like an eternity, the Premier League of Eswatini (PLE) has finally officially released fixtures for the 2020/2021 MTN Premier League season, expected to kick-off next weekend (12 December 2020). The only disappointment for football followers is that contrary to initial expectations, the much-anticipated Mbabane derby pitting sworn rivals Mbabane Swallows and Mbabane Highlanders has now been shifted to week nine of the first round fixtures. The revised fixtures announced by the PLE office yesterday are presenting some quite mouth-watering opening fixtures. It will definitely not be a walk in the park for defending champions Young Buffaloes, who will be forced to dig deeper into their reserves of courage against the glory-seeking Mbabane Swallows.


The red and white glamour giants have already made a big statement about their ambitions this season and Buffaloes will without a doubt present a tough test for them. The army giants carry the advantage coming to this game as they have already played an official football match, which was against Burundi champions Le Messager De Ngozi a few days ago. Most of Buffaloes players are part of Sihlangu that has already featured in AFCON Qualifying matches against Congo Brazzaville about two weeks ago. Another eye-catching game in the opening fixtures will see the big-spending Mbabane Highlanders crossing swords with Royal Leopard. Highlanders have been very busy in the transfer market in recent days, making a number of high-profile signings that has raised the expectations of their followers in the new season.

Leopard have been flattering to deceive of late as they have been enjoying little success in terms of trophies despite parading a very competitive squad. There is also the Manzini derby to watch where Manzini Wanderers will face city rivals Denver Sundowns. Wanderers are on a rebuilding phase with a new director in place and will want to start the season on a positive note, putting one over their town rivals. The venues and times of these fixtures are expected to be confirmed by the PLE office tomorrow, but it has been reported that only four venues will be used, which is Mavuso Sports Centre and King Sobhuza II Memorial Stadium among others, while Somhlolo National Stadium is not accessible until next year. Action will also take centre stage in the national first division league as fixtures have also been released for that division. Most of the teams contacted for comment by this publication asked not to say anything until they receive official correspondence from the PLE on the fixtures.

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