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PLE SPECIAL MEET: ADDRESS INCONSISTENCIES

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This evening the Premier League of Eswatini (PLE) is expected to hold its special general meeting.

The meeting comes against backdrop of a number of problems besieging the organisation. It has been more than 30 months since the Mark Carmichael-led Executive Committee was ushered into office, taking over from the Peter ‘Touch’ Magagula leadership. The new committee was welcomed with euphoria by those who were looking for a change of personnel. To their backers, it was indeed a dawn of a new era. One of their immediate task was to employ a chief executive officer, whom after much wrangling within the executive itself, Kenneth Makhanya was employed, replacing the erstwhile former Simanga Nhleko, whose departure cost the organisation a fortune as a result of the PLE’s breach of contract.

ascendency

The committee’s ascendency and time spent in office thus far has come with disappointment from some of their backers, who feel the land of honey they envisioned was a pipe dream. It is a fact that currently all is not well in the organisation. Therefore, this meeting is a perfect platform for the Board of Governors (BoGs) to demand answers from the Executive. Most importantly they should give us a clear direction on what they want the organisation to achieve in their time at the helm. In their pursuit for answers from the executive committee, the following issues should not be left unattended.

Firstly, the issue of ticketing, needs a decisive resolution from the BoGs. It must be noted and appreciated that the clubs’ survival rests mostly on gate collections. Failure to have a sound mechanism to collect the money greatly jeopardises their sustainability. This issue was put to rest some time in 2018, when the same BoGs resolved to enlist the services of a third party to sell tickets on their behalf. When the ‘Touch’ Magagula-led committee employed Nhleko, his immediate task was to implement the resolution. Nomakunini was engaged as the agent to sell tickets. One would admit that at first the system was a headache to clubs. Nhleko, with the support of the executive, worked tirelessly to perfect the system and the efforts paid off.

Nhleko and the Magagula-led executive committee left office then at lighting speed the system was dismantled at the expense of the clubs. At the start of the season, the tickets were sold through the Mobile Money (MoMo) platform, before the dramatic switch to the traditional way of selling at the gates. The old method is said to be done simultaneously with the MoMo ticketing. This has brought unnecessary confusion. After all, MoMo should be prioritised to ensure a return on investment on the sponsor’s part.

inconsistencies

Secondly, the inconsistencies in disciplinary matters meted to clubs must be explained by the executive committee. Not long ago for example, Mbabane Highlanders FC and Mbabane Swallows FC faced identical misconduct but different sanctions were meted. Reports suggested that one of the club’s charges were drawn in violation of the set down rules in respect of match officials’ reports. This is one matter the BoGs should seek answers about and assurances in respect to equal treatment of clubs. Furthermore, on the same issue of discipline, the PLE of yesterday was quick to bring wayward officials to order by taking disciplinary measures against them. Of late clubs officials, even those not mandated by their clubs to issue statements, have the tendency to hurl unwanted attacks to the executive committee without fear of repercussions.  Such behavior if left unpunished has the hallmark of bringing the organisation into disrepute, scare potential and chase away existing sponsors, something the PLE currently can ill afford.

status

Thirdly, the BoGs need to find out from the executive committee, on the status of the knockout tournaments. Since the departure of the Ingwenyama and the EswatiniBank cups, our elite football has never been the same. The supporters and all those who follow our football deserve answers. Those answers can only be availed if the BoGs can be bold enough and fully debate this matter. Fourthly and lastly, we have gathered from the corridors of power that the relationship between the CEO and some of the BoGs and certain executive members is strained.  This must be investigated and dealt with decisively. From our sources, one member of the executive has gone to an extent of absconding meetings because the two cannot stand the sight of the other. Furthermore, the choice of words used by the CEO when addressing some BoGs is said to be unwelcome. The issues raised above require the BoGs to put aside their personal egos and be candid in demanding responsibility from the executive. The meeting must not be a talk show. It should be where a spade is called a spade.

mandate

The executive committee should know that its mandate is to implement resolutions of the BoGs taken in a properly constituted Assembly. Failure by the BoGs to hold the executive accountable would have far reaching repercussion to all associated with the organisation. These include supporters, players, sponsors, referees, coaches and even members of the media, to mention but a few. To the BoGs, this is the opportune time to act.

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