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MBABANE – Royal Leopard are eager to strengthen their squad ahead of the season kick-off and the CAF inter-club competitions group stages.

The police side is reportedly after the signature of Mbabane Swallows attacking midfielder Banele ‘Pupu’ Sikhondze while also chasing highly rated Zimbabwean striker Russel Madamombe. A source close to the matter confirmed that some officials from Leopard have already approached Mbabane Swallows over the services of the former international player. “Leopard are looking at strengthening their squad, especially for the CAF competitions. They want players with experience and some of their officials have already approached Swallows over Pupu and the negotiations are expected to start soon if Mbabane Swallows allows the talk,” said the source.

Sikhondze, who is a brother to Mbabane Highlanders midfielder Colani ‘Papi’ Sikhondze and former Royal Leopard player Musa Sikhondze, re-joined Mbabane Swallows at the start of the season from South Africa’s Mbombela United. In South Africa, he has played for teams including Polokwane City and Mbombela United while in the country he had played for clubs including hub giants, Manzini Wanderers and Denver Sundowns. Leopard Public Relations Officer (PRO) Frank Hurube said Sikhondze is a Mbabane Swallows player and they respect that. He said the player was contracted to Swallows and he feels it is wrong to comment on other teams’ players. “I am not aware of the matter concerning the player. I won’t comment further over the player as he belongs to Mbabane Swallows and we respect them as a club so we cannot talk about their players,” he said.

Sikhondze is not among the five players that were released by the red and white outfit including Wonder ‘Samba Jive’ Nhleko, Sanele Mkhweli, Nhlanhla ‘Jive’ Nkosi, Simanga Shongwe and Allen Mabuza. Leopard will be allowed to boost their squad for the CAF competitions if they reach the group stages of both the CAF Champions League and the CAF Confederations Cup. Meanwhile, Leopard are also praying to land the signature of Zimbabwean forward Russel Madamombe, who is already in the country and training with the club. If he signs, he will be second international player for the police side after South African striker Thabiso Mokenkoane who signed for Leopard from Mbabane Highlanders two seasons ago.

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