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MBABANE – The Eswatini Football Association (EFA) certainly has hope for the country’s elite teams that compete in continental football.

This is more so because the financial assistance offered lately is one huge relief for the representative teams, with the police ensemble Royal Leopard being the biggest beneficiaries, last term as they reached the group stage of the TotalEnergies CAF Confederation Cup 2021/22. They will be beneficiaries again as of next month as they represent the country in the TotalEnergies CAF Champions League 2022/23. This time, Mbabane Highlanders are included as they will play in the TotalEnergies CAF Confederation Cup 2022/23 next month.

In a quarterly report by the Sports, Culture and Youth Affairs Ministry, which was tabled and adopted in Parliament’s House of Assembly recently for the first quarter, covering April to June 30, it came out that the EFA spent over E2 million catering for traveling expenses, stadium rentals in South Africa, allowances , medical expenses and accommodation as well as meals.


This is not just a bill spent on Leopard alone, but the senior national team Sihlangu, which travelled and hosted Somalia, hosted Burkina Faso and travelled to Togo.“Expenses amounting to E2 903 610.54 (Two Million Nine Hundred and Three Thousand Six Hundred and Ten Emalangeni fifty-four cents) have been incurred, however, in the period under review owing the abovementioned activities already implemented,” reads the ministry’s report before continuing to break down the amounts.

The bills were also incurred through the national team’s preparatory camps and internationals friendly matches against Mozambique and Lesotho ahead of the TotalEnergies Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) 2023 Qualifiers as well Leopard’s expenses in the group stage of the CAF Confederation Cup. Worth mentioning is that EFA gets a E5 million allocation from government for the national team Sihlangu activities, but the money is then split to assisting all the national squads including women squads and the teams in the Confederation of African Football (CAF) interclub tournaments, the Champions League and Confed Cup.

“As part of national team development strategies, in particular, the exposure of our teams and players to international football rigours, financial assistance is extended to football clubs participating in the CAF interclubs competitions. “In this period under review Royal Leopard Football Club were assisted financially to secure match venues in South Africa (Mbombela Stadium), owing to the ban on hosting in Eswatini; flight transportation to Algeria and Libya as well as flight costs, accommodation and allowances for match officials (i.e. match commissioners and referees for their matches),” states the report.

It further gives appraisal to Leopard for great improvement to have qualified to the group stages of the competition. “Unfortunately, they could not manage to qualify to the quarter finals and later stages,” it reads further. Sports, Culture and Youth Affairs Ministry’s Communications Officer Sibongiseni Zondi affirmed the ministry’s report but said the bill was from EFA.

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