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ONLY 3 TEAMS REGISTERED!

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MBABANE – Believe it or not, with ten days before the MTN league 2021/2022 season kicks off, only three teams have registered so far.

These are all the security forces teams namely; Royal Leopard, Green Mamba and Young Buffaloes who coincidentally have all been the league champions in the last three seasons. The registration window period was opened on September 13 and closes on November 19. The Times Sports Desk has reliably gathered that the slow uptake on the registration of the teams is giving both the Eswatini Football Association (EFA) and Premier League of Eswatini (PLE) a head-ache of migraine proportions.

“The cancellation of the start of the league has made the teams to relax and not register. This will cause a mad rush next week which will create a congestion in the registration system and some teams might find themselves unable to register their players on time,” a source close to the matter said.

Grace

The source insisted that the ball is in the team’s court, as the registration is now done online through the FIFA connect programme and there will be no grace period for any team that fails to register on time. “Teams are aware that registration opened on September 13 and ends November 19. They had all the time to register. The league start will go ahead on October 23,” the source added. According to the Federation of International Football Associations (FIFA), the FIFA Connect is a programme that helps member associations (MAs) register all their stakeholders in a systematic way and keeps track of players, coaches and referees - wherever they are in the world.

Code

The Connect Programme provides a unique FIFA ID code for every individual who has a role in the football organisation. This code is like a digital football passport number and has the information and history of each stakeholder. EFA Head of Communications and Marketing Muzi Radebe said registration is an on-going process they are hoping teams will be able to register before the league starts. “We are not saying the statistics you are bringing to us are right or wrong but registration is done online and it is an on-going process. We can only hope teams are aware that registration opened on September 13 and will end on November 19,” Radebe said. Green Mamba, who are one of the teams that have already registered, through Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Mandla Sibiya, confirmed his team were the first to register.

Cards

“We were the first to register and I already have the cards and Licensing certificate. I actually picked up the cards last week. This week we have been calling the PLE office to find out when the players will get the COVID-19 tests, we have to be ready,” Sibiya said. He said it was worrying that some teams ha-ve not been registered yet at the same time there is the clarion call to vaccinate. “We have to be ready as teams. This is worrying indeed,” he said matter-of- factly.

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