From left PLE Chairman Peter Magagula, Eswatini Bank MD Zakhele Lukhele, Minister of Sports Culture and Youth Affairs Harries Bulunga and EFA President Bomber Mthethwa with the Ladies Rreplica cheque.


Eswatini Bank has made a deliberate effort to make this year’s competition a family affair, firmly embracing both women and development football as part of the main tournament, dubbed ‘Solo Inje’. This policy position was announced by the bank’s Managing Director Zakhele Lukhele on Tuesday along with an increased sponsorship of E2.9 million, making the 16th edition of the tournament E375 000 richer. Lukhele announced that the tournament,
traditionally known as the SwaziBank Cup, will henceforth be called the Eswatini Bank Cup in line with the bank’s change of name. Introducing the sponsorship package, Lukhele said, “I am pleased to announce that this year’s Eswatini Bank Cup sponsorship is E2.9 million, an increase from last year’s E2.6 million.” He went on to announce
that the ladies’ tournament package stood at E150 000, which is double last year’s sponsorship of E75 000. The Managing Director explained that the bank had decided to maintain the family affair nature of the tournament begun
last year, as it now involves senior men, juniors and women; and all indications suggest that the bank intends to keep things that way.The Eswatini Bank Cup has also lined up a series of promotions to run alongside the tournament and aimed at benefiting fans and clubs, increasing the bank’s customer base. Customers who will transact using the banks MasterCard, debit card and prepaid cards qualify to win cash prizes every fortnight, which is going to last for the duration of the tournament. Customers will stand a chance to win as many times as they keep on transacting.
On another note the team that will mobilize the highest number of customers to open accounts or buy prepaid cards will also benefit from the promotion and win themselves E20 000 at the end of the promotion. The MD said they would announce more exciting competitions as the tournament progresses. The MD also announced two winners of the slogan competition which was run in November last year, and these will share the E8000 prize money, for coming up with
the slogan ‘Solo Inje’.

Minister Madze forgets not where he comes from

Minister of Sports, Culture and Youth Affairs Harries ‘Madze’ Bulunga passionately pleaded the case of small teams who have qualified to compete in the Ingwenyama Cup to be financially capacitated ahead of the tournament commencement. “What I am about to say should ordinarily be discussed behind closed doors,” the minister said, abandoning his written speech for a moment. “I come from Msunduza where there is limited resources and I have played for and coached small teams who struggle to make ends meet. I do intend to engage the relevant authorities
on this, but I will state it for the record that small teams who qualify to play in this tournament need to be capacitated financially ahead of the commencement of the tournament. This will allow them to prepare properly
so that they avoid being disgraced in the tournament. More often than not, small teams lose because they lack
basic equipment such as soccer boots, among other things. You can imagine what it is like coming all the way from
the bundus to compete in a tournament in the city. The costs of preparation are the major undoing for such small
teams,” the minister said to roaring applause. The minister suggested that this could be achieved by re-assessing
the disbursement of the prize money so that a significant portion can assist small teams, who otherwise incur
huge costs in taking part in the tournament. He said as it were, a large portion of the prize money still benefits
the champion, yet it could be spread out to other teams as participation fee in the tournament. The minister
appreciated the presence of representatives of numerous sporting codes other than football, taking the opportunity
to declare that the time had come that sport is used as a vehicle to alleviate the high unemployment rate in the country. “As football and the entire sporting sector, we need consistent sponsorships to help us eventually achieve
the dream of professionalism, which in turn will play an important a role in helping the country reduce the high
unemployment rate,” said Bulunga.

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