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‘Birds’ in E10 million CAF Champions League jackpot

Sports Section

By BHEKISISA MAGONGO - SWAZI TIMES-15-Sep-2009

MBABANE – Mbabane Swallows will next year join other African champions in the fight for the over E10 million first prize money in the continental tournament.

The tournament, which was won for a record sixth times by Egyptian champions Ahly last year, was sponsored by giant mobile phone company MTN which has not renewed the sponsorship. Taking over will be global mobile phone giant Orange.

Information sourced from a COSAFA website reveal that the new prize increase was also ratified by a CAF executive committee meeting held over the weekend in Cairo. The exact first prize money will be E11 250 000, a figure that reflects a 50 per cent increase from the previous amount. The runners-up will take home E7.5 million and the semi finalists will get a staggering E 5 250 000.

Last year Zimbabwean club Dynamos F.C reached the semi finals, before losing to eventual runners-up Coton Sport of Cameroon. The third and fourth placed teams in the final group stages will pocket E3 750 000 and E3 million respectively. Swallows will be making their first return to the tournament since their 7-2 humiliation by Orlando Pirates in 2005. The Soweto ‘Buccaneers’ went on to reach the last four where they lost to Tunisian side Etoile Sahel.

Commenting on the new sponsorship, Swallows secretary Sibusiso Manana said they were ready to go out and compete for the prize money at stake. He however minced no words in stating that they will be beefing up their squad ahead of their preliminary rounds that are due to be played early next year.

“It’s a good incentive that we will take seriously as a team. We are very ambitious when it comes to such tournaments and the truth is that we are going to add more quality players in the team ahead of our first game. We want to go as far as we possibly can. And yes we want a stake in the lucrative prize money,” he said.

Manana disclosed that they were finalising registration logistics of the tournament which is due before the end of the year. In fact the draw for next year’s tournament will be held during the finals of this year’s edition in December.


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