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MBABANE – A blow for Manzini Sea Birds ahead of the MTN Premier League kick-off.

They will be without their attacking midfielder in Colani ‘Chocco’ Sibandze who has been ruled out for three months after an operations right under his eye. Sibandze sustained the injury during the last match of the season against Young Buffaloes in July.
A source close to the matter said it was a blow for Sea Birds as Sibandze is among the first team players. The source said the injury was so serious he is likely to return to action in December. Sibandze signed for Sea Birds from Mbabane Highlanders in one of the unexpected moves.


Sibandze joins Young Buffaloes striker Phiwa ‘Slwabelwabe’ Dlamini on the sidelines who is expected to miss the first three months of the season as he is healing from an ankle injury. Dlamini is set to be out until next year. Sibandze confirmed that he had an operation that would take time to heal. He said the estimated time he would bounce back was likely to be over three months. “I sustained the injury during the last match of the season and I have been advised by the medical staff that I will have to give it about three months before I could return to playing football,” he said. Manzini Sea Birds Director Sicelo Mkhonta confirmed the injury yesterday, but said the player would be back in no time as he was given the best treatment. “It is true that he got injured, but it is the medical staff that can give clear details on the injury,” he said.


Sea Birds will open their camping for the 2021/ 22 season against Manzini Wanderers in the mini-Manzini derby. Mkhonta confirmed yesterday that they had appointed former Manzini Wanderers Assistant Coach Christian Thwala to take over the reins from departed Coach Gcina Dlamini, who joined Moneni Pirates a fortnight ago. “He was once our player and he is coming back home. We are happy to have him and we believe that he will contribute positively to the team,” Mkhonta said. Thwala said it was an honour to be appointed the head coach. He will be leading a club for the first time in his career. “This is a big step in my career as I have never been a head coach before. I have been learning from one of the best in the late Thabo ‘Koki’ Vilakati at Mbabane Highlanders and Manzini Wanderers. My target is to improve the position of the club,” he said. Sea Birds finished eighth last season.


Meanwhile, the Premier League of Eswatini (PLE) will today decide on the MTN Premier League kick-off date, whether this weekend or they have postponed. The PLE and the Eswatini National Football Association (EFA) is currently engaged in a vaccination campaign where they are assisting government to reach the targeted about 400 000 people to be vaccinated and then allowing fans back to the stadiums can be considered. (Additional reports by Ntokozo Magongo)

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