Swaziland
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FROM STRIKER TO TOP ’KEEPER

(With Bongiswa ‘Romario’ Dlamini)
1. Manzini Wanderers goalkeeper Bongiswa Dlamini was born at Mbabane Government Hospital and is the lastborn in a family of three boys and one girl. “On my mum’s side there are two boys,” he reveals.
2. Bongiswa stayed at Ludzeludze before moving to Mbabane at the age of seven years. “It was a warm environment living with both parents and both were soccer fanatics. My dad supported Manzini Wanderers while my mum supports Mbabane Swallows,” he says.
3. The Wanderers goalie got the name Bongiswa from the then famous Mbabane Swallows attacking player, Bongiswa ‘Romario’ Nhlabatsi, who he says was his late father’s friend from the past. “I think that’s where I got football brains,” he laughed.
4. Growing up, he wanted to play for Wanderers or Swallows because they were teams closer to his heart. “I watched most of their games with my late dad,” he shared.
5. The hub giants goalkeeper started as a striker through his junior years playing for Mbabane Celtics development but prioritised playing in goals. He looked up to former Eswatini international goalkeeper, Mphikelei ‘Rabo’ Dlamini, Bayern Munich shot-stopper Manuel Neuer and Mamelodi Sundowns number agile goalkeeper Ronwen Williams. “I have always loved former Orlando Pirates goalkeeper Moeneeb Josephs,” Bongiswa said.
6. ‘Romario’, as he is nicknamed, rubbed shoulders with Mamelodi Sundowns gifted footballer Sipho Mbule in one of the ‘stokvel’ tournaments in South Africa. “ It was an amazing experience because I got to gauge myself since we play in the same division, which is the premier league,” he said.
7. He said he wants to play for DStv Premiership side Mamelodi Sundowns in the near future because of the style of  Coach Rhulani Mokoena side. “I think my playing style also fits them because they are a team that likes building from the back and I’m comfortable with that style,” he mentioned.
8. The former Mbabane Swallows development player got his first singing-on fee at Wanderers, which he mentioned that it was transferred to his mother’s account but he was able to buy clothes. “It was the same thing with my first salary, until I got to own my personal card,” he remembered.
9. The lanky goalkeeper’s best experience was when he was called up to the national Under-23s squad during the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON). “I think I was one of the youngest players there and the experience was great. Every footballer dreams of representing their country .Leon ‘Chuster’ Manyisa and Lindani ‘Rio’ Matsenjwa were closest to me in camp,” he added.
10. The debut game against Mbabane Highlanders, which they drew 1-ll, was his best game for the maroon and white team.