‘BIRDS’, ‘WESLIANS’ TUMBLE
The MTN Premier League action returned with stunning results after a week’s break.
The past weekend games clearly injected new life into the competition.
The games resumed in midweek. However, on Saturday, shocks and upsets were recorded as the so called big guns bit the dust in spectacular fashion.
The biggest shock was recorded by Manzini Sea Birds, who clipped the MTN Premier League defending champions, Mbabane Swallows’ wings. Sea Birds were full value for their win after devising an effective strategy that frustrated their more glamorous opponents for longer spells of the clash, as Van Rooyen Magagula’s charges defended in numbers and relied heavily on a fluid-like counterattack.
Another big result was attained by RSSC United, the elite league rookies who stunned hub giants Manzini Wanderers. Manfred Chabinga seems to be slowly but surely assembling a team that will not only survive in their maiden top flight season but is likely to give a number of teams tough times.
Police ensemble, Royal Leopard can, however, cut the lead at the top to only two points if they win their pending game against Manzini Sundowns, which was called off due to bad weather.
Enjoy the read, as we review the Y’ello action.............
YOU ARE ONSIDE:
l More or less 2 000 soccer lovers watched the double header billing on Saturday at Mavuso Sports Centre, which featured Manzini Sundowns against Moneni Pirates and later on Mbabane Swallows against Manzini Sea Birds. It was a good attendance by the soccer lovers and the sponsors must have been happy, as the Manzini Wanderers versus RSSC United clash also attracted an impressive crowd.
l RSSC United and Manzini Sea Birds: Both teams did well to inject new life into the MTN League competition when they won their respective games over the past weekend against their more seasoned opponents. RSSC stunned hub giants Manzini Wanderers, whom they clobbered 2-1, while Sea Birds served thin slices of humble pie to the league’s defending champions, Mbabane Swallows, whom they beat 2-1 at Mavuso Sports Centre on Saturday.
YOU ARE OFFSIDE:
l A section of the Manzini Wanderers supporters and their RSSC United counterparts surely do not deserve to come anywhere near a football pitch, following the violence that erupted during their clash at Mhlume Stadium. Wanderers fans have a history of violence and they could land their team in more trouble with the Premier League of Swaziland (PLS).
l Some soccer fans wanted to gain free entry to the games at Mavuso but some of them were caught in the act by the police officers at the stadium.
GAME OF THE WEEK:
Mbabane Swallows vs Manzini Sea Birds –This one produced the biggest upset of the weekend if not of the season.
Sea Birds, who are only in their second season in the top flight, frustrated the league’s defending champions before punishing them by scoring two goals to overcome a 0-1 deficit and win the clash played at Mavuso Sports Centre. The result clearly threw the first round race wide open, as the Mbabane giants’ lead on the summit of the log standings was cut to only three points.
GOAL OF THE WEEK:
Manzini Sea Birds’ Banele Mdluli scored with a stunning drive to beat Mbabane Swallows’ Zimbabwean goalkeeper Jim Knowledge with ease. Mdluli’s free kick at the edge of the danger area had class written all over it the moment it left his boot. It was a worthy winner for the hard working Van Rooyen Magagula’s charges.
VILLAIN OF THE WEEK:
The Manzini Wanderers and RSSC United supporters, as earlier stated, deserve to be in the dustbin of football. They are taking our sport donkey years back. On Saturday, during their league clash played at Mhlume Stadium, the two sets of supporters decided to turn the venue into a battle field. Fortunately, no serious injuries were reported.
HEROES OF THE WEEK:
RSSC United and Manzini Sea Birds – Both teams defied the odds to stun their more fancied opponents to breathe new life into the competition. They must continue working hard and, who knows, they might rewrite the history books by finishing in the top four bracket at the end of the season.
STAR PLAYER(S) OF THE WEEK:
Ndoda Mthethwa (Young Buffaloes) – The speedy marksman is back to his devastating form after scoring his first hat-trick against rookies Umbelebele Jomo Cosmos which gave his team the maximum points, as they jumped to the second spot of the log standings.
Thabo ‘Koki’ Vilakati (Malanti Chiefs) – It was not the return the former Young Buffaloes coach was looking forward to, as police ensemble Royal Leopard beat them 3-1 albeit controversially. What a sad homecoming!
Zambian coach, Texan Phiri marked his return for a third spell at army side Young Buffaloes with an emphatic 3-0 win over rookies Umbelebele Jomo Cosmos. Surely he could not have asked for a better homecoming than this one.
The Good Boys:
Ndoda Mthethwa (Y. Buffaloes)
Barry Steenkamp (R. Leopard) 1 goal
Bongani Sibandze (R. Leopard) 1 goal
Sikhumbuzo Ntimane (M. Chiefs) 1 goal
Banele Mdluli (M. Sea Birds) 1 goal
Muzi Tsabedze (M. Sea Birds) 1 goal
Thulani Nothwaye (M. Sundowns) 1 goal
Neliso Myeni (M. Pirates) 1 goal
The Bad Boys:
Pride Zendera (M. Sundowns) red card
Thabiso Gumbi (M. Pirates) 1 yellow card
Thabo Langa (M. Sea Birds) 1 yellow card
Talent Maphosa (Mb. Swallows) 1 yellow card
Sicelo Mkhwanazi (M. Sundowns) 1 yellow card
Goodwill Magagula (M. Sundowns) 1 yellow
Wanderers vs Sundowns
Pirates vs Buffaloes
Leopard vs Sea Birds
RSSC vs Midas City
Swallows vs Umbelebele
G. Mamba vs Malanti
All eyes will surely be on the Manzini Wanderers vs Manzini Sundowns game in what will be the Manzini derby.
Manzini Sea Birds will also be hoping to continue with their fine run in form against police ensemble Royal Leopard.
It will also be interesting to see how defending champions, Mbabane Swallows treat their game against rookies, Umbelebele Jomo Cosmos.
Another potentially explosive encounter will feature Correctional Services ensemble Green Mamba against Malanti Chiefs.