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MBABANE – The much-anticipated return of league cups is a good melody to local coaches.

The local football has been starved of the knockouts for almost two years now due to the COVID-19 pandemic. One of the major knockout tournaments was the Eswatini Bank Cup, which carried the ticket to the continent’s second-tier inter-club football tournament styled the CAF Confederation Cup. The absence of this tournament forced the Premier League of Eswatini (PLE) to use the league’s number two for this continental tournament.

The country was represented by Young Buffaloes in the 2021/22 TOTALEnergies Confederation Cup, after the army side was runners-up to champions Royal Leopard, who played in the Champions league. The police side were relegated to the Confederation Cup, where they were booted out in the group stages. The PLE also used the same criteria even this season as Mbabane Highlanders would be playing the Confederation Cup as they were number two behind champions Royal Leopard. Mbabane Swallows’ towering gaffer Musa Manyatsi said they appreciated the idea by the PLE as it would give players more game time.


“We really appreciate this and it will help in the development of Sihlangu,” Manyatsi said. His comments were echoed by Manzini Sea Birds Coach Gcina Dlamini, who also said they appreciated for the new developments from PLE regarding the return of knockouts. “It’s good for the game in general and also good for the relevant squads as more players shall be available for selection,” Dlamini said. The former Moneni Pirates coach said the latest developments were good for the ‘smaller teams’ who would fancy their chances in the knockout tournaments. “Our league is growing in leaps and bounds, so these tournaments shall strengthen it further,” he said.

Meanwhile, Denver Sundowns coach Artwell Dludlu also said this was good for local football and his prayers were that the fans would be allowed into stadiums without any restrictions.
“I hope there would be no restrictions in the number of spectators. The environment was so amazing in that final game between Highlanders and Swallows,” the former Mbabane City coach said. He also said the return of the cup games would benefit the national team since players would have more games to play. “This will also improve the club’s cash flow especially to the teams that will advance to the main stages of the tournaments,” he said.

On the other hand, league winning coach Royal Leopard’s Edwin Matsebula only said this was a good thing for football. PLE chief executive officer (CEO) assured the nation on national radio, the Eswatini Broadcasting and Information Services (EBIS 1) Sports Show on Monday that the upcoming 2022/23 season would be run under normal circumstances, like it was before the COVID-19 pandemic.

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