Font size: Decrease font Enlarge font

MBABANE – Far from this season’s title challenge, defending champions Royal Leopard have sworn they cannot be beaten twice in one season by Mbabane Highlanders.

The two sides clash tomorrow at the Mavuso Sports Centre in what will be Y’ello Sunday Activation to be opened by a hub derby between Denver Sundowns and Manzini Wanderers at 1pm before they face off at 3:30pm. Highlanders edged Leopard 3-2 in the thrilling MTN Premier League first round clash. Highlanders who are under pressure to win tomorrow may have some key names out due to suspension and injuries, as they look to improve their third spot position especially if they are unmoved by fourth-placed Mbabane Swallows who play today against rookies Madlenya. Highlanders and Swallows are tied at 34 points and can topple third-placed Young Buffaloes if the latter lose or draw today and the former win.

In pre-match interviews held at Sigwaca House yesterday afternoon, the police side coach Edwin Matsebula and his captain Muzi ‘Mzoro’ Dlamini declared to derail Bull’s train tomorrow. “I’ve never approached a game with a defensive mind, but in all our approaches we press our opponents as high as possible. The game itself is a motivation to itself. They defeated us in the first round through our mistakes and we have corrected them. We’ll go into this one with a different attitude hoping to get nothing but three points,” Matsebula said. His veteran Captain Muzi ‘Mzoro’ Dlamini admitted that they did not deserve the fifth spot on the log as defending champions.

“We went back to the drawing board with the coaches to diagnose Highlanders after they beat us and we found out that we gifted them the goals. It’s wrong to lose twice to the same team,” Dlamini declared. Meanwhile, Highlanders assistant coach Dumisani ‘DU’ Makhanya said his troops are demonstrating some signs of commitment and positivity ahead of the titanic clash. He was also uneasy of the limited choice they have due to the injuries and suspensions from their squad.  

“It’s a tough game. We know their strengths and weaknesses. It’s not easy to play such games and it requires us to double our effort. Also, each and every coach would feel comfortable going into a match like this one with a full squad, but Vusimuzi is suspended unfortunately, yet he is one of our soldiers at the back. Some of the players are also struggling and I can confirm that Tony ‘Ben 10’ Machacha and Ndumiso ‘Sikhokho’ Shongwe are ruled out while the doctors are still assessing them. We need a champion performance to win,” Makhanya said.

Other doubtful stars for Highlanders include Musa Dlamini, Philani Mkhonto and Fabrice Mopina. On another note, Wanderers’ coach Terisayi Changara said his players only needed confidence to win the game against Sundowns.
“The games we won before, we were scoring goals but with most recent defeats, we were not scoring. This week we focussed on it especially the last third where we lack creativity and penetration. Our players are experienced, I think they will rise into the occasion and win the game,” Changara said.

His opponent, Sundowns goalkeeper coach Percy Shongwe said they would be out for a kill, while being inspired by the return of Mike Dombo. “We’ll make our players happy in this game. We have identified our weakest points in the team. With Dombo having returned, we hope our work will be easy on the day with him as our target man,” Shongwe said.

Comments (0 posted):

Post your comment comment

Please enter the code you see in the image: