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MANZINI – Eswatini has got talent.

At least not only Brazilian and former national team Sihlangu coach Ted Dumitru said this, but Mbabane Highlanders, Kaizer Chiefs and Sihlangu legend Abel ‘Chacklas’ Shongwe has said it too. After being part of some of the MTN Premier League 2022/23 season’s big fixtures like the Mbabane Derby and Mbabane Highlanders against Manzini Wanderers last Sunday, ‘Chacklas’ was positive about the talent on display. “I was here when Highlanders and Swallows played not so long ago, then again now I’ve seen Highlanders and Wanderers and I can safely say some players don’t deserve to play in this league but better. There’s so much PSL quality, especially at Highlanders and Swallows. They showed us good football last time and then again today (last Sunday),” he noted.

The legend said the gap in quality between Highlanders and Wanderers was quite clear and it showed one thing. “Wanderers need to beef up; they need players, otherwise well done to Coach Nyanga for pushing the boys to surviving relegation. I saw some good players there too but they must seriously beef up,” ‘Chacklas’ said. However, he would not single out the players he thought could make it in the money-spinning South African (SA) Premier Soccer League (PSL). It was later revealed that some of the players he raved about, among others, were Highlanders and Sihlangu gifted wing midfielder Philani Mkhonto, winger Kenneth ‘Mashaba’ Moloto, Sihlangu central Mpendulo Tfomo, Swallows’ Felix Badenhorst, Leon ‘Chuster’ Manyisa and Kwakhe Thwala.

Of these, only Badenhorst who finished as the season top goal scorer has played in SA PSL for TS Galaxy, only returning home after a season with them following the termination of his contract ahead of the end of the 2021/22 season. ‘Chacklas’ observed that the country also needed to attract sponsorship, so seeing such talent was encouraging. He said more tournaments were also needed. Only two were played in the recently ended season and those were the inaugural MoMo Cup, which had too many shortcomings and the MTN Premier League.

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