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MBABANE – Some fans who feel that Kwakhe Thwala is not eligible to play the derby are offside.

Mbabane Swallows, who face Mbabane Highlanders in the big derby on Sunday, are eligible to field their anchorman, according to FIFA rules and regulations. Thwala is one of four Swallows players who are expected to make their maiden appearance in the derby, when they take on Highlanders at Mavuso Sports Centre. Some fans, who seemed to be Mbabane Highlanders’ loyalists, have taken to social media, saying that Thwala would be a defaulter when the old foes meet, as they have played against him three times. The former Young Buffaloes left back switched camps during the second transfer window, with the army side having played Highlanders in the second round.

However, the Federation of International Football Associations Regulations on the Status and Transfer of Players (RSTP)  of October last year spells out that a player is restricted to play for only two teams per season. “Players may be registered with a maximum of three clubs during one season. During this period, the player is only eligible to play official matches for two clubs. As an exception to this rule, a player moving between two clubs belonging to associations with overlapping seasons, such as start of the season in summer or autumn as opposed to winter or spring may be eligible to play in official matches for a third club during the relevant season, provided he has fully complied with his contractual obligations towards his previous clubs,” reads Article 5.4 of the RSTP. Notable is that Thwala will not be the first player to play three times against an opponent. Among others who have done so, are Young Buffaloes’ Njabulo Maziya. The former Madlenya striker has played three times against Manzini Sea Birds.


Meanwhile, MTN Premier League Rules and Regulations mention that the transfer and registration of players shall be in accordance with the rules and regulations governing the application of the Eswatini Football Association (EFA) statutes, the FIFA RSTP and any other regulations as may be directed by EFA, Confederation of African Football (CAF) or FIFA from time-to-time. According to an expert who did not want to be named,  being ‘cup-tied’ usually apply in knockout tournaments. “Being cup-tied applies with knockout competitions, where a player is not allowed to play it in more than one team per season. Some tournaments begin after the first window period. ‘‘In that case, they will be defaulters if featured by the second team,” said the expert.