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MBABANE - The top 16 schools in the inaugural cash-spinning Instacash Schools Soccer Tournament have started reaping the sponsor's benefits.


In an event held at the mobile money company at Swazi Plaza in the capital city, the schools under the banner of Eswatini Schools Sports Association (ESSA) were all represented as their draw was conducted before they were presented Instacash-branded kits. This is part of the E350 000 sponsorship package. ESSA Executive Committee, including President Anthony Mdluli were also present. "As Instacash we are pleased to associate with schools and development. We are happy the games have come this far and we'll today present kits to the excelling branch champions.


"We also thank the schools for the support and we will continue our partnership even next year. Let’s also say it that only schools with our accounts will qualify to play," Instacash Managing Director (MD) Mandla 'Cheeks' Nxumalo.His remarks were met with a huge round of applause by the teachers and pupils from the various schools who will start the fight to the semis next Tuesday until Friday.


ESSA President Mdluli said they were also grateful to have Instacash as he encouraged a continuation of violence-free games. He encouraged fair play, good conduct and support from other head teachers by releasing pupils to the games despite not making it to this stage. He also emphasised on the usage of the branded kits throughout the Instacash Under-17 games. Eswatini Sport and Recreation Council (ESRC) representative in Communications Officer Dumsani Ntiwane, said they were also against violence but vouched for partners like giants as big as big as Instacash who promote their goal of mass participation.


The draw was then conducted by ESSA Secretary Felicity Dlamini who explained at least two schools will be drawn out of their region to be the fourth team in the four groups of four. Two streams in A and B were drawn. Stream A has groups A and B (Lubombo and Manzini) while Stream B has groups C and D (Hhohho and Shiselweni). The schools will be listed at the end of the article but the champions after the finals expected next week, will pocket E20 000, runners-up get E10 000 while it will be E5 000 for third place.


Worth noting is Hluthi had been drawn to join Hhohho but were able to negotiate with Eric Rosenberg who preferred travelling to play Mpofu High School. Furthermore, Manzini Central High School whose principal is renowned former Mbabane Highlanders Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Celucolo 'Dino'  Dlamini are back in the tournament after opening the most Instacash accounts than any other participating school, over 400. They had lost to neighbours Malunge High and were interestingly drawn against the other in the quarter-finals draw. Malunge had won the Manzini branch tie 10-9 after sudden death penalties following a 1-all draw in regular time. After these games, group A winners will meet group B winners to determine finalist while group C winner takes on group victors.




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