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MBABANE – Bombshell!

This is the story of Mbabane Highlanders goalkeeper Khayakwezwe Shabalala, who  revealed that he was called by a Premier League of Eswatini (PLE) official before the MTN League awards, that he had been picked as the best goalkeeper of the 2023/23 season. The best goalkeeper of the season Award later went to league runners-up Young Buffaloes goalkeeper Mlungisi Nxumalo, who took home the E9 000 prize money on Wednesday at SibaneSami Hotel in Ezulwini, where the awarding ceremony was held.

Our sister publication, Eswatini News, reported that the Premier League of Eswatini (PLE) Executive Committee and PLE Awards Committee were exposed in a humiliating manner following the awards winners changing in the last minute when other candidates had already allegedly been told they had won. Evidence in our possession points that the awards committee selected Mbabane Highlanders’ number one goalkeeper Khanyakwezwe Shabalala as the winner for the Best Goalkeeper Award, but it was handed over to Young Buffaloes’ Mlungisi Nxumalo.“ I was called before the MTN Premier league awards that I must come to the ceremony because I was picked as the best goalkeeper of the season. To tell you the truth, I was very happy to defend the award because I had also won it in the previous season,” he said.


The inkundzi Emnyama shot-stopper went on to reveal that while he was happy preparing for the awards he got a call from the same PLE official that the award had been given to someone else after some officials did not agree that he should  be given the award though the award committee had chosen him to win. “ It broke my heart to be called again that I must not come to the awards ceremony because some people didn’t believe that I must win the award even though  I was initially told that I had won the award . I was left embarrassed by this because I had already told my family and friends that I had already won the award. I guess it’s now water under the bridge and right now my focus is on the upcoming season,” he added.

Meanwhile, an unsigned report from the awards committee also revealed  Nsingizini Hotspurs’ Mnotfo Dlamini as the best PRO of the season but the latter was also not given the award after changes in the last hour. The gong went to Frank Hurube of Royal Leopard. The vibrant Shiselweni-based PRO said if it was true that something like this happened, he had nothing to say, “I’m speechless,” he lamented.

The awards committee chaired by Denver Sundowns and national team Sihlangu legend Rodney ‘Stumbo’ Charles earlier on revealed that they were also surprised  by the changes in the awards. “We were all wondering what was going on because these were not the individuals we selected to win the awards. I was confused as well regarding the awards. We need to talk to PLE to find out on what really happened. I was disappointed to hear about what happened and I never even got a letter of invitation to the awards. I’m in the dark with the matter and I’m still to know their reason of changing in the last hour,” he said. PLE Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Kenneth Makhanya said It was true that  Shabalala was called by one of their PLE officials before  the awards ceremony . “I got a correspondence from Mbabane Highlanders pertaining the awards and as the PLE office we will investigate the matter,” he said briefly.