Swaziland
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CAPITAL CITY DERBY DIVIDES NOT ONLY FAMILIES, FRIENDS… BIRDS, PLE CLASH OVER E10 000 SECURITY ISSUE

MBABANE – The country’s biggest football fixture is playing tomorrow at 3pm but it appears hosts Mbabane Swallows are already deep in it.

Umkhonto KaShaka as Swallows are fondly known, are already fighting a battle with the Premier League of Eswatini (PLE). They are not all pleased with the treatment they are receiving from the PLE office, ahead of the match against traditional rivals Mbabane Highlanders. The tie is scheduled for Mavuso Sports Centre in Manzini, in the second round fixture of the MTN Premier League. Highlanders won the reverse fixture 2-1. There was chaos soon after the final whistle, as Swallows supporters invaded the pitch targeting match officials, particularly the first assistant for a disallowed goal that would have seen them earn a point with a 2-2 draw. In-form Felix Badenhorst had scored the goal. He currently has 20 goals and leading the scorers’ race.

An impeccable source close to the red and white side, said they received a letter from the PLE through the office of the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Kenneth Makhanya, requesting them to provide extra security measures for the derby. The source said they were taken aback by the PLE’s request of providing 40 security personnel. “We were surprised by the PLE’s demands of providing 40 security personnel and when we made quotations from providers of this service, they said each person will cost us E250, which is a ridiculous price for us as a team,” the source said.

This means that the Caleb Ngwenya-coached side would have to part with E10 000 for the provision of the 40 security personnel. The team also expressed its disappointment at PLE for demanding that they provide security barriers around the stadium, which he said was a first of its kind in local football, as even in the first round there were no barriers. “Why are we treated as animals and why is the PLE is trialling this on Swallows, as we have never seen teams providing such a number of security guards and crash barriers, we are so disappointed by them,” the source said.

Communicate

The source said the PLE failed to communicate with them timely, for the team members to join the organisation during the security inspection of the venue done on Thursday. He said it was mind boggling why the PLE usually take an inprecedent move when it came to Swallows as they were informed that the PLE employed extra security measures for other teams. “It’s a known fact that Swallows were convicted for our previous transgressions, but that must not be used against us every time we are hosting other teams. The PLE must refrain from treating our supporters as animals, hence for affecting this uncalled for security measures,” the source said.

He further said they were not only viewing this behaviour by the PLE as a financial drain but also as differential treatment to them. The source said the PLE was refusing to tackle the real issue in this regard, which was poor refereeing. He said Swallows were of the view that implementing the security measures would not help the situation. Swallows General Manager (GM) Sandile ‘Beyond 2000’ Zwane asked not to comment on the matter as much as he did not deny it. “We undertake to affect the usual security measures that are usually affected to the rest of the premier league teams,” he said.

Despite

No immediate comment could be sourced from PLE CEO Makhanya despite efforts to get hold of him. However, PLE Football Manager Pat Vilakati acknowledged seeing the Swallows letter from the CEO, but referred all questions to him. It is worth mentioning that according to the 2022/23 MTN Premier League Rules and Regulations Article 19.4 and 5, the host team shall provide a security plan for all its matches, while Article 19.5 says the hosting team shall provide enough personnel to man all entry points for all their home games. These gatemen/women must be available at the stadium at least three hours before the start of the game.