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MBABANE – At 41, Wonder ‘Samba Jive’ Nhleko is still winning silverware.

This follows his latest achievement, where he was announced as the MTN Premier League Player of Month for April. The Mbabane Swallows veteran winger was announced alongside MTN National First Division League joint leading top scorer, Sandile Dlamini, who plays for log leaders Seven Dreams. The latter has scored 12 goals while ‘Samba Jive’ has netted five goals since he dusted his soccerboots from retirement at the start of the second round and second transfer window.

The interesting story about the former South Africa’s Black Leopards player, who is the oldest in the local league, is that last season, he was declared to have retired, but with Swallows struggling for results, he was recalled by coaches Siyabonga Bhembe and Musa Manyatsi. He had been given the role of Head of Development but then head coach, Ghanaian Christopher Ennin returned two months ago and was given same post. However, Ennin was not happy with the role. Reports doing the rounds are that he has since left Swallows to return home in Ghana. Impeccable sources linked him with a move to Thailand, where he is expected on June 1. Samba Jive deserves the gong, as he returned and scored four goals in his first five matches before adding a fifth to keep Swallows in competition for the league title. He will not only take the trophy home, but will also be pocketing E6 000 while Dlamini will take home E2 000.

“I am so excited about winning the Player of the Month. I did not expect it. For me, the bigger picture is not about individual glory but to help my team do well in the league,” the assistant skipper to yet another veteran Tony Tsabedze said. Asked what kept him going despite his age, he said; “It all boils down to dedication. I think you would recall that I had challenges while I had stopped playing, but I had to put them behind me and focus on supporting my team and being disciplined. I had to keep training even when I was not playing, when my chance to play came, I took it with both hands and made the most of it,” he said.

He also shared his secret on staying fit to keep his career going, he advised young players to refrain from drugs and always put discipline first. Meanwhile, Seven Dreams’ Sandile Dlamini attributed the achievement to teamwork. “I want to thank my teammates and technical bench for the support. Also, the management always plays a major role in helping us to perform to our best,” he said.


Meanwhile, some of the previous winners in the elite league for this award and stand a better chance for the Player of the Series gong are Young Buffaloes’ Sandile’ Saviola’ Gamedze (March), and Hlatikhulu Tycoons’ Thabiso Sithole in the first division. February winners are Royal Leopard’s Junior Magagula and Nsingizini Hot Spurs’ Sifiso Makhubu, while Mbabane Highlanders’ Sabelo ‘Sikhali’ Ndzinisa has also won it.

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