Africa-Press – Eswatini. DRAMA all round – from the pitch to the technical area, up to the stands and spilling to the makeshift royal box at the modest Mavuso Sports Centre.
Somehow, Mbabane Swallows squeezed through, travelling up the Malagwane Hill with all three points thanks to a Banele ‘Pupu’ Sikhondze’s close range header two minutes after the half hour mark.
Nhlanhla Ngwenya’s initial shot was parried back to play by Wanderers goalkeeper Bongiswa Dlamini and Njabulo ‘D4D’ Ndlovu picked up the pieces only for his goal bound shot to be deflected on the path of ‘Pupu’ for the only goal of the match.
Doubled Nhlanhla should have doubled Swallows, advantage at the stroke of half time when he was released by Sandile Hlatshwako but with Bongiswa at his mercy, he blasted straight at the shot-stopper.
During the break, a scuffle ensued at the tunnels’ entrance as marshals from both sides wrestled for what was believed to be foreign substances. Immediately after resumption, Swallows had a forced substitution as ‘D4D’ looked to have come second worse in a clash of heads and had to be rushed to hospital.
Attacks That was the last time the about 300 Swallows fans at the far end saw the best of their team. From here, Wanderers took over with waves of attacks but the red and white giants’ defence led by Kingsley Kwakyi held firm.
Bandile Shabangu thought he had found the equaliser,but his attempt was controversially stopped by Kingu Pemba on the goalline with Wanderers fans and the technical team alike screaming for a penalty but referee Thulani Sibandze could hear none.
In a rare second half opportunity, Felix Badenhorst had a sneak at goal in added time but his shot was bravely saved by Bongiswa as Swallows walked away with maximum points. At the sound of the final whistle, Wanderers fans bayed for the match officials blood and police had to escort them out of the venue.
Wanderers: Bongiswa Dlamini, Sandile Mhlanga, ‘Chippa’ Motsa, Sihle Mkhonta, Mandla Palma, Mlandvo Dlamini (Phathizwe Mabuza), Bandile Shabangu, Reagan Kangumbu, Fabrice Mopina, ‘Jive’ Nkosi (‘Koko’ Gama), Majahesibili Ndlovu. Swallows: Sandanezwe Mathabela, Sifiso Mabila, Vukile Khumalo, Kingu Pemba, Kingsley Kwakyi, ‘Keita’ Blandja, Wonder Nhleko (Felix Badenhorst), ‘Pupu’ Sikhondze, Sandile Hlatshwako, ‘D4D’ Ndlovu (Tony Tsabedze), Nhlanhla Ngwenya (‘Nunu’ Shabalala).