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By BHEKISISA MAGONGO - SWAZI TIMES -25-Jul-2009
MBABANE - It seems like Mbabane Swallows will be the team to watch this season after the ‘Beautiful Birds’ engaged in a Grace Mugabe-inspired shopping spree.
The MTN League defending champions, despite losing their talismanic goal poac-hers Mfanafuthi ‘Taribo’ Bhembe and Etienne Massoye to South Africa, are searching for more jewels in the forthco-ming season.
The team is closing in on Mhlambanyatsi Rovers’ cult hero Lwazi ‘Zidane’ Maziya, Mbabane Highlanders’ Mfanf-ikile ‘Fash’ Ndzimandze, Th-okozani Mkhulisi and Ifeanyi Ezewudo.
The Beautiful Birds are due to spend a fortune for the quartet, who might also be joined by Malanti Chiefs and Sihlangu strong defender Sifiso ‘CJ’ Dlamini. Apart from the Sihlangu number one goalkeeper, Mkh-ulisi, the other three are almost certain to join after tendering their resignation letters early last week. And the team stated categorically clear that they would want to sign the players before next week’s Swazi Telecom Char-ity Cup.
Team secretary Sibusiso Manana refuted the figures mentioned in the media about some of the players they are chasing, but said as a team they have a policy when it comes to recruiting players. “We do have resignation letters for both ‘Fash’ and Lwazi, but negotiations for their clearances have not yet started. Our wish when we recruited them was to use this season, starting with the Swazi Telecom Cup,” he said.
Commenting about the players’ packages, he said they had a limit that they do not exceed, and refuted claims that, they have offered Rovers midfielder E40 000 as per the player’s claim to his former team.
But investigations from this publication have disclosed that the club has offered ‘Fash’ Ndzimandze about E20 000 signing on fee, plus a monthly salary of about E1 500. This was also confirmed by a source at Highlanders who said the player had so much for Swallows than at Highla-nders. “He disclosed that he was offered a huge signing on fee plus a salary that he cannot resist. He came to bid me farewell this week,” the source said. The player said there was an offer on the table that is still subject for discussion, but he stressed that he was ready to once again don the red and white Swallows’ jersey.
“We will agree on the terms first, but I am looking forward to the challenge,” he said. They have also offered the same amount for Nigerian defender Ezewudo, who was also wanted by Mbabane Highlanders. His papers are almost in place and he is likely to make his debut next week Sunday. It was however, uncertain as to what the team has pledged as an offer to Sihlangu goalkeeper Thokozani Mkhulisi, who is hard at training with the Birds.
Yesterday, Malanti Chiefs defender Sifiso ‘CJ’ Dlamini confirmed that he has held talks with the league champions with the view of joining them this season. “We did talk, but nothing as yet has been finalized. So I can’t say I will sign or not, because even if I can agree terms, my fate will still have to be decided by Gumede. I have nothing against Gumede to betray him,” he said.
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