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MANZINI – As rain bucketed down at Mavuso Sports Centre, Mbabane Swallows saw their chances of winning the MTN Premier League first round ‘carrot’ slowly being washed away.

This, after a 1-all draw with archrivals Mbabane Highlanders.  Before guests led by Minister of Sports, Culture and Youth Affairs Bongani Muzi Nzima and legislators, who included Nathi Hlophe and Bishop Bhekibandla Vilakati, as well as a roaring crowd of over 4 000, the two sides could not be separated after the feisty MTN Premier League clash yesterday.  
With two games to go, it was a huge blow for Swallows in their first round incentive ambitions.

They are now four shy of the top spot occupied by Green Mamba with 26 points. It was equally a setback for Highlanders, as they remained outside the top four after yesterday’s match.
Despite the slippery surface, the game lived up to its billing.It was a game of two halves, with Highlanders, who paraded a relatively unchanged side, taking the match by the scruff of the neck to gain an early advantage. It was Thami Zulu who broke the deadlock after he rose highest to fire home the opener with a neat header from a Philani Mkhonto corner kick when the game was 14 minutes old, much to the disappointment of the home fans who roared in disapproval from almost every call made by Referee Letticia Viana.


While Swallows, who threw Qiniso Nyawo into the deep end between the sticks, slowly grew into the game, their finishing left much to be desired during the early exchanges. However, Man of the Match Neliswa ‘Tiger’ Dlamini almost pulled a rabbit out of the hat on the stroke of half-time, as his cross from the right wing almost caught goalkeeper Khanyakezwe Shabalala off guard. The latter recovered swiftly to parry the  ball to safety. Highlanders took the narrow lead to the interval.Just before the resumption of play, Swallows Coach Caleb Ngwenya sacrificed the ineffective duo of Newman Philiso and Orion Orion Samba for veteran forward Sandile Hlatjwako and Siyabonga ‘Gusheshe’ Zwane. This was done to inject more pace into their game.


The change paid dividends as Zwane’s defence-splitting cross saw trusted Mbabane Highlanders centre-back Mandla Palma driving the ball past his own goalkeeper, attracting wild celebrations from the animated Swallows fans in the 56th minute. While the pendulum swung Swallows’ way for the better part of the second half, it was a see-saw after the hour mark, with Menzi Sithole shaving the crossbar from a Mkhonto cross in the 65th minute. It was not before Swallows attacking midfielder Felix Badenhorst rattled the woodwork with a neat header from a scramble. Both teams were expectedly cautious due to the poor surface, with both sets of fans expectedly frustrated. There was no separating the two sides at the end, with Swallows’ winless run in the league against Highlanders stretching to five matches.

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: Exam questions
Should exam questions be in both English and siSwati?