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MBABANE – Hub giants Manzini Wanderers were on Tuesday evening found guilty in a E70 000 worth of fines disciplinary case including alleged threats to a top referee.

However, they will only pay E15 000 after they were found guilty on only one count and acquitted on two others. As their case was heard, it transpired from evidence by the prosecution that referee Thulani Sibandze was threatened, allegedly by two renowned supporters (names deliberately withheld). “Two well-known supporters of the club called and threatened the referee and their numbers reflected in the referee’s report,” an impeccable source said.

For this offence alone, the club faced a maximum fine of E30 000 and E10 000 at minimum. “I pleaded not guilty to two charges and yes, as per your sources told you, the third charge was one we couldn’t run from. They had the supporters’ names and numbers in report,” affirmed the club’s Acting Chairman and Public Relations Officer (PRO) Mlungisi ‘Mluga’ Ndzinisa, who also did not hide the implicated duo when questioned.

There was no immediate comment from Sibandze as his cellphone rang unanswered and he did not respond to messages sent to him through SMS and WhatsApp. One of the two implicated officials was sought but in vain as his cellphone consistently rang unanswered. It was established that the matter was not reported to the police. On match-day, the maroon and white side’s supporters blocked the path to the tunnels leading to the dressing rooms as they bayed for Sibandze and his colleagues’ blood, but police were quick to avoid the situation getting out of hand and protected the officials past the rowdy crowd. Wanderers appeared before the EFA DC chaired by Lawyer Thulani Sibandze at Sigwaca House.


They were facing charges for scenes witnessed during their second round match against bitter rivals Mbabane Swallows at Mavuso Sports Centre on May 4, this year. Swallows won the match 1-0 on the day in which tempers flared on and off the field but it was the supporters who bayed for the match officials’ blood, blocking the tunnel at full-time. The maroon and white hub side was facing three counts, all emanating from Article 7 which provides for unsporting behaviour and violent misconduct.

Count one was on Article 7 (1) (k) in that the supporters failed to conduct themselves in an orderly fashion and committed other acts of violent misconduct. The supporters blocked main officials from passing through the tunnel to dressing rooms after full-time. Count one carries a minimum E15 000 fine. In Count two, the team was charged with Article 7 (1)(b); for threatening by conduct or words to assault match officials and has a minimum E10 000 fine and E30 000 maximum fine.

Count three was based on Article 7 (1) (g). This one provides; ‘Failure to control fans (in this instance) who commit various acts of violent misconduct carries a fine not less than E25 000. Brought together, the counts amount to E70 000 if they were to be found guilty on all three counts and given maximum fines. Experience shows that had they been compelled to pay the whole fine after being found guilty on all three counts they faced before the Eswatini Football Association (EFA) Disciplinary Committee (DC); they would only receive E5 000 from their league prize money.

Sixth place finishers in the league receive E75 000. The PLE has always deducted its money from prizes if winning clubs had pending debts with them. Most have often negotiated to get at least a quarter to half the prize money.

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