MATSAPHA United caretaker coach Takesure Chiragwi guided his side to four crucial points out of a possible six during the extended four-day weekend that pushed them strongly towards safety.
Left in charge after the departure of Rodwell Dhlakama who returned to Castle Lager Premier Soccer League side Chapungu, Chiragwi didn’t disappoint at all.
Matsapha United were on the block against defending champions Mbabane Swallows on Thursday at Mhlume Stadium, stealing away a point with a 1-1 draw as other relegation threatened sides faltered.
And if anyone thought they had flattered only to deceive, boGandaganda edged the not-so-safe Moneni Pirates 1-0 on Sunday to jump to 26 points and eighth on the log standings, seven points clear of second from bottom Vovovo.
Two teams will be relegated to the MTN National First Division with Mbabane Citizens already relegated. One of the seven — Manzini Sea Birds, grieving Malanti Chiefs, Matsapha United, Moneni Pirates, Manzini Sundowns, Tambuti, Manzini Wanderers or Vovovo could complete the relegation puzzle.
The MTN Premier League of Eswatini makes way for the Eswatini Bank Cup final between Royal Leopards and defending champions Young Buffaloes.
Meanwhile, Steven Makatuka and Cabby Kamhapa’s Mbabane Swallows’ bid to return to Caf club tournaments after a consistent and uninterrupted three-year participation in Total Caf club tournaments has been brought to a halt by Royal Leopards’ 2-0 MTN Premier League of Eswatini Week 24 triumph at Somhlolo National Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
The MTN Premier League of Eswatini was the only remaining hope after last month’s exit from the Eswatini Bank Cup — a tournament which provides the winners with a Caf Confederations qualification, again at the hands of Leopards.
And Sunday’s tie was only remote control Swallows but however, found themselves falling to a Charles Edoa Nga first half opener before Barry Steenkamp put matters beyond reach with a late second half penalty conversion.
Leopards moved to 54 points — five ahead of second-placed Green Mamba and seven ahead of third-placed Young Buffaloes who each have outstanding fixtures against Malanti Chiefs who were granted “compassionate leave” to mourn the late Burundi international Papy Faty.
In fact, Faty collapsed and later died during Malanti Chiefs’ match against Green Mamba which had to be brought to a premature end after the demise news filtered through to the players at the hour mark with the latter leading 3-0.
The 0-2 defeat to Leopards saw the former champions, Swallows slump to fifth on 41 points leaving them with a maximum possible points tally of 47.
Swallows had enjoyed a group stage qualification in the 2017 Total Caf Confederations edition in which they took the continent by storm before cementing the status by reaching the 2018 Caf Champions League edition group stage.
However, Swallows found the going tough, bowing out of the on going transition edition at second round stage.
Week 24 Sunday 28 April 2019
Manzini Wanderers FC 1-1 Vovovo FC, Mbabane Swallows FC 0-2 Royal Leopards FC, Green Mamba 5-1 Mbabane Citizens, Matsapha United FC 1-0 Moneni Pirates FC, Tambuti FC 2-0 Manzini Sea Birds FC, Manzini Sundowns FC 0-3 Mbabane Highlanders FC.