Africa-Press – Eswatini. Three Premier League referees are lucky to be alive after being involved in a freak car accident on their way to officiate a game over the weekend.
The Premier League referees identified as Wandile Dlamini, Thembinkosi Magagula and Thokozani Dlamini were en route to King Sobhuza II Memorial Stadium in Nhlangano, where they were scheduled to officiate a match between Young Buffaloes and Tambuti at 2:45pm. The accident happened on Saturday morning at around 11:30am at Salem Road near Hlatikhulu.
Sources close to the matter hinted that the car in which the trio was travelling in, a sedan, veered off the road and overturned after its driver lost control of it while trying to avoid a head-on collision with oncoming traffic.
The referees are said to have been rushed to Hlatikhulu Government Hospital, where they were treated and discharged as they did not sustain bad injuries. Eswatini Referees Association (ERA) Secretary Mbongeni Shongwe confirmed the matter. Shongwe said the accident affected the game-plan as the FIFA-accredited referees had to be exempted from officiating the game and were substituted. Fortunately, the King Sobhuza II Memorial Stadium was due to host a double-header and the officials of the first game featuring premier league rookies Rangers FC and Manzini Sea Birds did a double shift as they also manned the Buffaloes and Tambuti clash.
“I can confirm that three referees were involved in an accident on their way to Nhlangano, where they were assigned to officiate a match between Young Buffaloes and Tambuti.
“They are recovering well and I must say that it was an unfortunate incident that affected the game because they had to be substituted,” Shongwe said. Eswatini Football Association (EFA) Communications and Marketing Officer Muzi Radebe sympathised with the referees on their misfortune and wished them a speedy recovery. “There is nothing formal yet, but I can confirm that we’ve received informal reports that three Premier League referees were involved in an accident on Saturday on their way to Nhlangano at King Sobhuza II Memorial Stadium.
“We thank God that no life was lost and we wish them a speedy recovery,” Radebe said. Radebe said his office was yet to receive an official written report containing the finer details of the accident since the incident happened over the weekend. Royal Eswatini Police Service Deputy Police Information and Communications Officer Inspector Nosipho Mnguni also confirmed the accident. “We attended the accident on Saturday at Salem. It was not critical. They passengers were treated and discharged at Hlatikhulu Government Hospital,” Mnguni said. This is the first car accident involving match officials to have been reported in the history of the MTN Premier League.