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OOH-AAH MBABANE GIANTS CLASH!

Sports Section

By Bodwa Mbingo - THE SWAZI OBSERVER-12-Sep-2009

It that time again when soccer fans anxiously anticipate the one and only local version of the ‘Big Derby’

It that time again when soccer fans anxiously anticipate the one and only local version of the ‘Big Derby’ that is known to divide families, childhood friends, long time colleagues, you name it as Mbabane Swallows once again come face to face with their traditional rivals Mbabane Highlanders.

This epic MTN Premier League encounter is billed for the Somhlolo Stadium on Sunday and when the clock strikes precisely 4pm, the referee who will be tasked with handling this titanic match will blow his first whistle to signal the start of the match that soccer followers will not want to miss. It always draws the young and old, the short and tall, the stocky and skinny as the rivalry and aspiration to win over the other between undoubtedly two of the country’s football powerhouse clubs is unmatched. Soccer followers will either wrap their bodies in red and white or the opposite black and white as they cascade at the Somhlolo Stadium to witness what is no doubt expected to be a mouth-watering 90 minutes of football action.

This will be the ‘Beautiful Birds’ chance to shine and shed the tag of being whipping boys when faced with the ‘Black Bull’. The direct opposite will be true with Highlanders as they will be hoping to make it an amazing five wins in a row against their fierce rivals. All eyes will be on speedy striker Mfanfikile ‘Fash’ Ndzimandze who has just crossed camps between the two sides and will be facing his former team Highlanders for the first time since settling at the Beautiful Birds’ nest this season.

What will make this clash even more interesting is the fact that Swallows have further added flair into their star-studded side with the acquisition of midfield genius Lwazi ‘Zidane’ Maziya and Nigerian import defender Ifeanyi Ezewudo while Highlanders have secured the services of Zimbabwean-born hotshot Murape Murape to boost their squads.

Spectators are waiting to see if ‘Fash’ will be at hand to repeat his trade-mark celebration stunt of placing his right hand closer to his ears as if to call for more cheers from his supporters after locating the net or whether Highlanders’ on form striker Msizi Lukhele will also be seen sending a message of ‘didn’t I tell you so’ with his celebration number.

This is it and it is referred to as the ‘Mbabane Derby’ where others get heart attacks as the ball swings towards their team’s end and others lose their appetite on its aftermath. Who in their right senses would deliberately want to miss this clash? I definitely won’t miss it for anything, see you there!

WHAT THE MATCH WINNERS HAD TO SAY:

‘Highlanders should not expect any mercy’ Mfanfikile ‘Fash’ Ndzimandze (Swallows’ striker) “Highlanders should expect no favours from me as I’m with Swallows now and should I get a chance to play on the day, all hell will break loose. They should just pray that I don’t get a chance at goal as I will be at my best. Swallows’ supporters should come in their numbers to celebrate with the team.” ‘We will make it five in a row’ Msizi Lukhele (Highlanders’ striker) “This will be another Swallows’ nightmare as I’m eager to score against them to help Highlanders win the match. They should know by now that we rule the capital city and urge our supporters to come in their numbers to watch a pulsating match on the day.”

THE COACHES HAVE THEIR SAY:

‘This is the time to end Highlanders’ jinx over us’ Abou Badara Konate (Swallows’ coach) “This is the right opportunity to end Highlanders’ jinx over us. The squad is ready to make the supporters happy and we urge them to come in their numbers. This will just be like any other match that we want to win to improve our position on the log standings.”

‘Swallows must not expect an easy ride’ Philip Mbofana (Highlanders’ coach) “With the long lay-off we faced put aside including what has been happening behind-the- scenes in the team, we will be at our best as preparations have gone well. Swallows may have been active for a while now compared to us but that will count for nothing as my boys are raring to go.”

WHERE? SOMHLOLO NATIONAL STADIUM WHEN? SUNDAY TIME? 4PM ENTRANCE FEE? E20


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