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MBABANE – It never rains but pours for relegation-threatened and financially strained Manzini Wanderers.

Ahead of their big rivalry clash with red hot Mbabane Swallows at Mavuso Sports Centre this afternoon in the MTN Premier League, Wanderers are set to be without two of their regular starters in experienced former Manzini Sea Birds midfielder Thabo Langa and yet another star midfielder in Sibonginkosi ‘Gudas’ Dlamini. This is after the duo did not turn up for training this week as they had forwarded requests to be paid part of their salaries due to personal problems like unpaid bills, among other things. The players informed the club, according to impeccable sources that they had challenges that needed financial attention as they had families and bills to cater for.

However, the response from the club was negative as they were told that there was currently no money in the team’s coffers, but efforts to resolve the matter were underway. The duo then opted to stay away from training all week. ‘Gudas’, a former Swallows and Mbabane Highlanders player, who has been a revelation at Wanderers despite their struggles this season as they stare relegation in the face with eight matches to play, was coy when reached about the news. “I have been training with the team,” he said before dropping the call. His teammate, Langa was not available to comment despite several efforts to get his comment. It is an open secret that Wanderers have not paid palyers their salaries for over six months now and even lost crucial stars in striker Fabrice Mopina and national team Sihlangu midfielder Neliswa ‘Tiger’ Dlamini to their bitter rivals, Highlanders and Swallows as well as goalkeeper Phila Mamba to Tambuti, among others.

“Thabo and ‘Gudas’ have not been going to any of the club’s training sessions since the start of the week and both players are not injured. The situation in the club is very sad because the team wants to help the players but at the current moment, that is not possible as there are financial challenges,” revealed a source within the Wanderers camp in condition of anonymity. The hub giants Public Relations Officer (PRO), Lucky ‘Majayivane’ Dlamini, said he was not aware of the latest developments when reached on Friday afternoon as he had not been attending the sessions. Wanderers recently parted ways with Zimbabwean-born coach Terisayi Changara, who had his contract terminated after poor performance was cited as the reason. Coach Mpendulo Mawelela took charge of LiWeseli since last week, but got a rude welcome as Denver Sundowns beat them 5-0.

The maroon and white side’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Diana Girlie Johnson said this was news to her. “There is nothing formal communicated with the CEO’s office. All I know is that players who are not attending training are those with injuries,” she said. However, the team’s Management Committee (MC) Chairman Berger ‘Hotline’ Nxumalo affirmed last evening that the pair was not part of the team’s plans this afternoon as much as they would like to see them play. “They didn’t train with us and we couldn’t agree on anything with them on their issues so that means they’re out as they also didn’t train. Even Koko didn’t train last week and he didn’t play so the same goes for these two,” he said. The maroon and white side are currently 12th in the MTN Premier League standings with 14 points in 18 games. This is only one point above the relegation zone with eight matches to go.

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