Mbabane Swallows General Manager Sandile Zwane has appealed to clubs both in Swaziland and South Africa to respect their brand by refraining from illegally poaching their players and instead follow correct procedures if interested in their players.
His plea come amid reports that core of the team that humiliated South African Platinum Stars during the 2017 CAF Confederation Cup and has currently qualified for the CAF Champions League group stages, could be dismantled as South African clubs continue to raid the Mbabane team for their talent.
Bidvest Wits lured attacking midfielder Banele “Pupu” Sikhondze (pictured) to their lair in Milpark but just when everybody thought the dreadlocked player could sign on the dotted lines, Sikhondze was instead unveiled by Polokwane City as their latest acquisition.
National First Division side Mbombela United has, reportedly signed another attacking midfielder Felix Badenhorst, previously linked to Bloemfontein Celtic, while striker Sandile Hlatswako and defender Sanele Mkhweli are linked to NFD side TS Galaxy.
However, according to information from the mountain kingdom, Hlatswako has allegedly signed multiple contracts with different clubs while still contracted to Mbabane Swallows, something Zwane attributes to the illegal raid by unscrupulous clubs onto their Swallows nest.
“I plead with clubs both inside and outside Swaziland to respect us as an institution and approach us if they are interested in our players,” wailed Zwane. “It serves no purpose to approach players behind our backs because we should all be guided by the FIFA rules of fair play and do things accordingly.”
Since the brutal murder of the club boss – Victor Gamedze – by unknown assailants in early January, there has been a lot of uncertainty within the beautiful “Birds” with the largest following in the mountain kingdom.
In addition, leading striker Sanele Ginindza (who plundered all four goals when Swallows defeated Platinum Stars 4-2) and was scouted by Orlando Pirates, SuperSport United, Maritzburg United and Bloemfontein Celtic, suffered a life threatening injury that has kept him out of the game for almost a year now.
Ginindza suffered a head injury during the annual Telekom Charity and was rushed to the nearby clinic. However, nurses failed to pick up the extend of his head injuries and discharged him the same day, even though he was brought to the hospital bleeding from the mouth, ears and unconscious.
They prescribed pain tablets and sent him home, only for the player to complicate that night and his face started swelling up. In desperation, his family called the late former club owner Gamedze who in turn dispatched an ambulance that rushed him to a private hospital. This was where doctors diagnosed a cracked skull and performed an emergency operation.
But as Swallows prepare for a visit by Tunisian giants Etoile du Sahel in a third round CAF Champions League group match, a spirit of despondency has settled on the once boisterous Mbabane giants and fears are that they could suffer humiliation from henceforth.