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MBABANE – The Premier League of Eswatini (PLE) has dismissed strugglers Tambankulu Callies’ bid to play their game against Mbabane Swallows away from the Prince of Wales Sports Ground.

The Lubombo-based side, who are the visitors in this fixture, yesterday wrote to Premier League of Eswatini requesting that they move their clash away from the capital city. Swallows will be hosting them on Saturday at 3pm, according to a fixture released yesterday.  The club Director Sithembiso ‘Ngudze’ Mamba had petitioned the PLE chief executive officer’s (CEO) office, proposing that their game be moved to a venue that is line with the Federation of International Football Association (FIFA) and Confederation of African Football (CAF) standards. Despite having played at Prince of Wales Sports Ground two months ago, Callies had raised a number of concerns pertaining to the venue in their letter.  “There are no dressing rooms and toilets, thus a health hazard and risky for both teams. Dressing up or undressing in the open is an act of public indecency, which is a crime,” reads part of the letter directed to the CEO Makhanya’s office yesterday. Callies are deep in the relegation zone, as they are 13th on the log with 14 points from 21 games.

Meanwhile, Swallows are on the spot with 44 points, and are still contending for the league title. “There are no security barriers or areas where one can seek shelter in case of violence or any other unforeseen situation. This applies to team players, officials and even the match officials. The proximity of the fans to the field and easy access to it can be an intimidating factor to the match officials, thus they could be easily intimidated and influenced during the game in fear of their lives,” further explained Mamba in the letter. Meanwhile, the CEO Kenneth Makhanya confirmed receipt of Callies’ request and said they unfortunately could not fulfil their request. Makhanya mentioned that it was the right of Swallows to fixture the game at Prince of Wales as per the rules and regulations. He also mentioned that an away team could not change a fixture. “Unfortunately, their terms could not be met as none of the stadiums in the country currently comply with international standards. We’ve been compromising all along under this situation with the hope that things will get better one day. Beside that, rules expect us to control the last two fixtures; for now the rights solely belong to the hosting team,” said Makhanya.


Out of possible eight venues that could be used to host games by PLE, none of them meet either FIFA or CAF standards. The country books stadiums outside the country for its CAF category ‘A’ games. In the meantime, Somhlolo National Stadium is being refurbished. Furthermore, the league rules and regulations also state that should any club wish to request a change to a fixture; such request must be submitted at least seven days before the scheduled start of the match.  Article 7.3 further states that fixtures are only amended under extreme circumstances and at the discretion of the PLE.