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MBABANE – Blunder!

The above describes the howler by Manzini Wanderers in their MTN Premier League game against rookies Seven Dreams, which they won 2-1 at the Prince of Wales Sports Ground.
The Premier League of Eswatini (PLE) in the past week introduced paying at the gate for supporters to watch matches after the system of purchasing the tickets through MTN Mobile Money (MoMo) had a few challenges. The PLE, through the office of the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Kenneth Makhanya, however, highlighted that supporters could still use MoMo to buy the tickets too. The Week 12 fixtures across the country’s venues saw the PLE implementing the selling of the tickets at the gates.


However, it was disturbing to see the supporters being given EswatiniBank wrist bands as an indication that individuals had paid to gain entry into the field. The supporters were spotted with EswatiniBank Final tags on their wrists, yet the game was under the banner of MTN and not of the bank. The EswatiniBank Cup was last played in 2020, with the last final in 2019.
According to an impeccable source within the PLE structures, they were faced with the scarcity of the wrist bands as they were sourced from South Africa. When Makhanya was contacted to shed light on the issue of using EswatiniBank wrist bands in an MTN Premier League match, he said the challenge was that they informed the teams on Wednesday about paying at the gates and it was bound to happen that some of the clubs would have challenges sourcing the wrist bands. “This is not our problem as this game was for Wanderers, but I am happy that they had plan B as we had 2 500 wrist bands for all the games that we sourced from our supplier,” Makhanya said.

He, however, highlighted that it was not good for the team to use EswatiniBank wrist bands as this could attract a conflict of interest from MTN. Makhanya said it was good for the team to have a back-up plan which saved the situation on the day. The CEO strongly condemned the using of EswatiniBank wrist bands as he encouraged teams to order them on time to avoid such in the future as it was not good for the sponsor.


Meanwhile, Wanderers Public Relations Officer (PRO) Lucky ‘Majayivane’ Dlamini said he was in the dark as to where they got the EswatiniBank wrist bands as he was alerted by some of their supporters, who asked him why they were using such tags. “We are going to be extra careful in our next game as we are hosting again this weekend and I would like to apologise to the PLE and MTN for such; we promise that it will not happen again,” Dlamini said. Wanderers’ action is also frowned upon by Articles 12.2 and 12.5 of the MTN Premier League Rules and Regulations. According to Article 12.2, Eswatini Football Association (EFA) has granted the PLE the commercialising rights for Eswatini MTN Premiership. “Any Club(s) that contravenes Article 12 shall be liable to a sanction of a summary fine in the amount of E20 000,” reads the Article in part.

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