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MBABANE – With the scoreline reading 6-2, clearly Royal Leopard brought a knife to a gunfight against Orlando Pirates at Mbombela Stadium, South Africa.
This was during the TOTALEnergies CAF Confederation Cup on Sunday evening. Even before they kicked the first ball in anger, Leopard were met by protesters at the stadium entrance and as if that was not enough, they were blasted to smithereens by a ruthless Orlando Pirates side which shoot up to the top of Group B in the CAF Confederation Cup.
Here are the five things we learnt.

CAF got it wrong

While they are responsible for the fixtures, the Confederation of African Football (CAF) got it wrong as they wrote that Royal Leopard were from Botswana while it’s Eswatini team. They also missed it completely that the match was actually played at Mbombela Stadium, South Africa but in their match reports they wrote it was played in Manzini at Mavuso Sports Centre.

The eye-sore Leopard bus

It was disheartening to see Royal Leopard players coming out of their bus belonging to the Royal Eswatini Police Service (REPS). Playing at this stage of the competitions one must up the standard. What made matters worse was when Orlando Pirates proved their class as they arrived in a well-branded and current model coach. Leopard could have done better by hiring a coach or a decent bus to take them to the game, especially knowing that the game will be broadcast live. In the end, maybe the two buses foretold the gulf in class between the two sides which was evident in the scoreline.

Leopard biggest losers

They made history for the wrong reason. Royal Leopard were the biggest losers under the second round games of the CAF Confederation Cup group B stages. They are the only side to have conceded over two goals as they lost 2-6 after Pirates forced a comeback from 0-2. Leopard are now rooted at the bottom of Group B standing without a point after two matches and they face Libya’s Al-Ittihad Tripoli on Sunday at the same venue, Mbombela Stadium. A loss for Leopard will leave them without a chance of making it to the last eight as they are yet to win a game.

Own goal started the rout

An own goal by Royal Leopard defender Machawe Dlamini started the rout in the 6-2 win of Orlando Pirates. The group leaders were left stunned as they fell 2-0 behind inside seven minutes through goals scored by Mzwandile Mabelesa and South Africa striker Thabiso Mokenkoane. As Pirates were still trying to settle in Dlamini scored an own goal in the 20th minute and that is when trouble begun. Pirates then scored two more goals before the break through Bandile Shandu and Kwame Peprah. Leopard goalkeeper Phephisani Msibi was beaten three times in the second half by Happy Jele, Kabelo Dlamini and Terrence Dzvukamanja and that is how Leopard were outclassed.

Eswatini TV lost broadcasting rights

It was a sad story for Eswatini TV as they lost the broadcasting rights when the Confederation of Africa Football (CAF) declared the local facilities unfit to host the games. When the station crew travelled to Mbombela Stadium for the games, they were made to only cover warm up training sessions and press conferences, not the match itself. Eswatini TV could have benefitted if the game was played in the country as they were going to be allowed to broadcast it live without any costs. CAF gives the national broadcaster free rights to broadcast the game live of which in this case the rights were given to SABC as per the national broadcaster in South Africa.

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