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MBABANE – The much-anticipated kick-off of the MTN Premier League this weekend has since been halted.

The league is now expected to kick-off month end. The elite league and the MTN National First Division games had initially been scheduled to start this weekend. Premier League of Eswatini (PLE) Chief Operations Officer (COO) Pat Vilakati confirmed that they faced challenges in starting the league games this weekend as anticipated and they were busy resolving them. Some of the challenges include that the teams have still not tested for COVID-19 and they are not all vaccinated for the virus.


“After some discussion we came to the conclusion to postpone the league start but I can assure all stakeholders that it will start before the end of October. There are a lot of things that we need to finalise first and then we will announce the kick-off dates,” he said. A source close to the matter said among the challenges faced by the PLE was finances as they needed over E1 million to do the COVID-19 tests for all the 30 teams, including players and officials before the kick-off.
The source said there were other things including the club licensing that was still a challenge to majority of the clubs.

“The PLE is also still hopeful that they can start the season with government allowing fans and that is why the vaccination campaign will continue with the hope that the numbers will shoot up and impresses government to allow those vaccinated to attend matches,” said the source. The source added that PLE was also facing financial challenges in providing the teams with the participation fee as they were still in deep sponsorship negotiations with MTN Eswatini.


“The defending champions, Royal Leopard will be away on the weekend of October 15-16 to play away the CAF Champions League game against Segrada Esperance and the following week they will host here at home. The sponsors want Leopard to be part of the grand opening and that is the reason the league may resume month end,” said the source. The police ensemble will open the 2021/ 22 MTN Premier League match against rivals, Mbabane Swallows while Young Buffaloes will face Mbabane Highlanders.

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