When Hank Ballard and The Midnighters penned “Teardrops On Your Letter” proved prophetic for former Mbabane Swallows coach now Manzini Wanderers mentor Thabo Koki Vilakati when the two sides squared up in the MTN Premier League of Eswatini at Somhlolo National Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
Probably in his mind he had that divorce letter he received from Mbabane Swallows a few weeks ago and probably singing “Teardrops on your (dismissal) letter that I got from you made me realize every word you wrote was true,” as he led his new paymasters to a sweet 2-1 victory that reshaped the race on both ends of the log standings.
At the relegation end it moved Manzini Wanderers from third from the bottom (12th) to eighth with 18 points eclipsing Tambuti, Moneni Pirates, Malanti Chiefs and Vovovo easing off demotion worries albeit temporarily.
At the top end the result completed a rearrangement of the top five dropping Mbabane Swallows one place down to fifth while confirming archrivals Mbabane Highlanders into fourth. The Saul Chaminuka coached Mbabane Highlanders had ascended into fourth after a 1-0 win over Manzini Sea Birds in an early kick-off.
But for Wanderers whose fortunes had been wandering in the football wilderness recently enduring the bridesmaids tag against their opponents, joy was delivered in sweet form courtesy of a Sifiso Maseko brace (a goal for a corner in each half) before a 87th Sandile Hlatswako consolation gave a nerve wrecking and edge sitting nail biting death to this match.
And yet at the end of it all it had to be Wanderers celebrating – a celebration probably extended to Green Mamba, Royal Leopards, Young Buffaloes and Mbabane Highlanders in the meantime.
It all started in 37th minute when Maseko outjumped the static Swallows backline to head home the opener past Sandanezwe Mathabela off a corner kick before doubling the lead from almost a replica in the 69th minute. This is not the first time Maseko has delivered such beauties and should you doubt it ask the Matsapha United fans.
Sensing defeat, Musa Manyatsi brought in Sandile Hlatshwako to add to venom upfront and it almost paid dividends with the 87th minute consolation but it all proved a shed too late to salvage themselves from the jaws of defeat.
Meanwhile in a an early kick-off, a Vusumuzi Zungu goal gave Mbabane Highlanders a perfect and winning weekend with triumph over Sea Birds to move within two points of log leaders Green Mamba.
Business is really getting too tight as the league wears on towards the penultimate end presenting numerous dramatic twists.
MTN PLE Week 16 Results:
Played on Saturday
Mbabane Citizens 0-1 Tambuti FC
Malanti Chiefs 0-2 Royal Leopard
Moneni Pirates 1-1 Young Buffaloes
Green Mamba 2-0 Vovovo FC
Manzini Sundowns 0-3 Matsapha United
Played on Sunday
Mbabane Highlanders 1-0 Manzini Sea Birds
Mbabane Swallows 1-2 Manzini Wanderers
The championship is as excited as never before this season.