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MBABANE – Stylish Mbabane Swallows midfielder Banele ‘Pupu’ Sikhondze is in hot soup.

Reports suggested that he could be fined up to E3 000 if found guilty by an internal disciplinary committee (DC). The ex-South Africa’s Polokwane City player is said to have irked  his employers after allegedly failing to join his teammates in camp last Saturday ahead of their Y’ello Sunday MTN Premier League clash against Moneni Pirates. He was a notable absentee in the game, as he did not make the match day squad.

“He reported an injury when he arrived at the camp base and told the coaches he was not staying because he couldn’t play the Moneni Pirates game. Unfortunately, this did not go down well with the technical bench of Musa Manyatsi and Siyabonga Bhembe, but he still left. He was part of the starting eleven, so you can imagine. The coaches had already been told the player was active in ‘kasi’ (stokvel) matches at Msunduza,” a source close to the club claimed.

It was also established that the team doctors also responded to the negative when questioned if they knew anything about the injury claimed by Sikhondze. He missed the game the next day which his team narrowly won 1-0 against Pirates at Mavuso Sports Centre in Manzini. For his alleged participation, in the unofficial games, usually referred to as ‘stokvel’ and missing the team’s camp after defying his coaches, he faces disciplinary action and if found guilty, he risks having at least E3 000 of his salary slashed and a possible two-match suspension as punishment.

The Beautiful Birds, as Swallows are also fondly known, had to replace Sikhondze immediately in the line-up. The team’s General Manager Sandile ‘Beyond 2000’ Zwane did not divulge much on the matter, but did not deny it either. He said they were handing the matter as a team. ‘’We have heard that our player, Banele was playing in the midweek training games at Msunduza, but we have no truth in that story as we have no proof. The matter will be handled by the technical team and the doctors who will tell us about the ‘Pupu’ injury, and as a club we will then take it from there,” Zwane said.

He explained that once all was in the clear about the issue, their supporters would get the feedback. The player also did not deny the latest but wanted to know our source. He would not comment as the source or sources were not revealed as per the journalism ethics. The two coaches were called as well but they would not comment much except to say it was a matter for the management to deal with. Meanwhile, the Mbabane giants are currently placed on position three with 12 points, two points behind current log leaders Young Buffaloes on 14 points and will be looking to topple the forces and Mbabane Highlanders for the lucrative first round E100 000 MTN Premier League  ‘carrot’.

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