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The race for a seat in Senate has drawn unprecedented interest from across a section of society, including football.

These comprise of National Football Association of Swaziland (NFAS) President Adam ‘Bomber’ Mthethwa, former Mbabane Highlanders boss Ngomuyayona Game-dze, Mvila Dlamini long serving Management Committee to name a few.

It was the former two who made it through what appeared to be a very complicated election system as many were left disappointed after failing to secure a seat in the available seats that were contested by 106 men and women.
We at Prime Target wish to congratulate the five men and women who made it to the august House, and wish them all the best. A lot of you expect us to pass a special congratulatory message to FA President Mthethwa and ‘Ngoma’ for making it.

True that we are happy for them personally, because no one doubts the humility that defines the two characters especially in the sporting world.
We have come to know them through football and as for ‘Bomber’ he has been a football person since time immemorial from his time at Home Sparrows in Pigg’s Peak through to his days at Mbabane Highlanders.

He then graduated to football administration cutting his teeth as secretary at Highlanders before holding a similar position at the National Football Association of Swazi-land (NFAS).
It was not su-rprising when he rose to foot-ball’s highest position in the 1990s before taking a five year break between 2001 and 2005.
‘Ngoma’ on the other hand has served at Siphofaneni Nationals now defunct, C&M Sales also defunct, Manzini Sundowns and Mbabane Highlanders as an administrator. Their involvement in football has no doubt played a key role in launching their political careers a decade ago.

Like I have said, it is good for them individually to be back in Parliament, but I do not know how that can help football this time around. They have been there but really there was nothing tangible that the sport can say benefitted from their presence, as the sports budget continued to fall far below the 31 sports associations’ expectations.

I don’t blame them for not trying, but it is a government priority that is skewed away from sports that has made things difficult for all soccer loving people.
Not even the establishment of the Ministry of Sports could turn things around, as even after the launch of the new Sports Policy by the then minister Hlobisile Ndlovu, the budget remained at E17 million, when the sporting fraternity had requested at least something around E41 million.
From the amount; the 31 associations received E7 million every year which needless to say also fell far below their own budgets, hence a lot of them have been kept alive by subventions from their international federations.

The FA, for instance, usually get about E100 000 from government and in the past five years the association had to pay an annual installment to government for bailing them out when they were about to lose their most prized asset; Sigwaca House.
But without being viewed as pessimist we will, like football people in the country, hope that this time the two gentlemen will add their voice in Parliament when issues pertaining to sport are discussed.

There are others in the House of Assembly such as Sikhumbuzo Dlamini, David ‘Cruiser’ Ngcamphalala who should also create a case for sport in government.
This they have to do it in the next five years, and they are lucky that they are joining an ongoing government dream of attaining First World Status by 2022, and sports have proven to be another key driver in economic development especially in countries like Swaziland that are struggling to compete in attracting Foreign Direct Investment (FDI).

We trust our men and wo-men in Parliament will push the agenda for sports as the country heads towards attaining its 2022 First World Status.
This they should do now or be content with being remembered as individuals who despite being given an opportunity in the country’s key decision-making position failed the sport.

CAF has already rolled in the Club Licensing programme which seeks to improve the structures of football clubs in the country.
It is a drive that has the potential of ushering in professionalism in sports as per His Majesty’s wish last year. The licensing among other things compels teams to operate transparently and be accountable to its stakeholders.
And at the end of the current season, the FA will be demanding among other things from clubs; audited financial statements on how they have used their finances during the current season.

It is an exercise that will force teams to operate professionally and openly. Government on the other hand has to assist by encouraging parastatals for instance to partner some of the elite league teams as is the case now in many countries in the SADC region.
The route towards professionalism demands a lot of money and it is through this partnership that it can be attained and at the end of the day sports will effectively play its role as a viable industry capable of providing job opportunities to a number of young people in the country.



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