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‘BIRDS’ FOUR-CE PIGG’S PEAK RANGERS OUT

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MANZINI – Three-time champions Mbabane Swallows did not need to engage the second gear to fly to the semi-finals of the Ingwenyama Cup at the expense of listless National First Division side Pigg’s Peak Rangers.

Unanswered goals by brace hero and super substitute Siyabonga ‘Gusheshe’ Zwane and the duo of Ayanda ‘Gandaganda’ Gadlela and Sizolethu ‘Nunu’ Shabalala steered the capital city giants pass the minnows at a nearly packed Mavuso Sports Centre yesterday. For a second game in a row, Swallows were celebrating a 4-0 win after crushing Madlenya by the same score line in a league fixture about a week ago. Despite the drubbing, Rangers bowed out with pride, as they were the only remaining side from the lower ranks before yesterday’s upset. They are guaranteed E75 000 for reaching the quarter-final on top of E30 000 for being the best finisher from the lower division.

For Swallows, they have thrown their name into the hat for the semi-final draw alongside fellow big guns and former winners Young Buffaloes and Green Mamba. Completing the semi-final line-up are Mbabane Highlanders. On top of getting closer to their fourth title, the capital city giants are guaranteed a minimum of E210 000 for reaching the Last 4. Despite a cagey start, the hosts eventually found their mojo, with  Gadlela breaking the deadlock with a neat header from  a Newman  Philiso cross in the 39th minute. It was the goal that separated the sides at the end of a half that was punctuated with a tense moment when both sets of players attempted to arrange each other’s faces. On resumption of play, Swallows injected more pace into their game by introducing the enterprising duo of ‘Gusheshe’ and ‘Nunu’ who replaced Oscar Zitha and Sibusiso Masuku.

run

Zitha and Masuku got a rare run in the continued absence of injured stars who include Sandile Hlatjwako and Felix ‘Fela’ Badenhorst. Bongiswa ‘Romario’ Dlamini, on the other hand, was called in to deputise for Sandanezwe Mathabela in the absence of sidelined second choice goalkeeper Qiniso Nyawo. Before the start of the second half, Rangers also introduced the adventurous Mphumelelo Maseko. However, it became clear that the Pigg’s Peak-based ensemble had brought a knife to a gunfight. ‘Gusheshe’ did not take long to settle in,  firing wide from close range following a quick transition from defence to attack in the 63rd minute. Three minutes later,  Zwane made amends for his earlier blushes as he let fly a rocket from outside the box to stun the visitors into silence following slow-build ups. In the 79th minute, the speedy ‘Gusheshe’ was celebrating his brace and Swallows’ third with a grass-cutter from  outside box, as Rangers took forever to clear their lines.

shining

Former Mbabane Highlanders star Lindokuhle ‘Ntolo’ Fakudze was a shining light in the Pigg’s Peak-based ensemble but the outfit still left Swallows goalkeeper Mathabela underemployed between the sticks. Swallows, on the other hand, still had an insatiable appetite for goals, with substitute ‘Nunu’ completing the rout with a tap in from close range following a Gadlela assist, five minutes from time. It was one-way traffic towards the end, and when Referee Wandile Mamba who was found wanting at times signalled for the end of proceedings, Swallows cruised to the semi-final in style.

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Should exam questions be in both English and siSwati?