Lobamba: The Prime Minister Ambrose Mandvulo Dlamini abandoned the mandatory players’ handshakes in a coronavirus precaution ahead of the Ingwenyama Cup final kick-off.
Correctional Services side Green Mamba beat Mbabane Highlanders 2-0 on Sunday, March 8 to win the tournament sponsored by Sincephetelo Motor Vehicle Accident Fund (SMVAF) for the first time in history. Mandatory, the guest of honour prior to kick-off of a football match is introduced to players by team captains where handshakes are exchanged.
The PM was led down to the lining players at Somhlolo National Stadium by acting Eswatini Football Association (EFA) Acting Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Sinamandla Mavuso. Dlamini who was in the company of Minister of Sports, Culture and Youth Affairs Harries ‘Madze’ Bulunga, EFA president Adam ‘Bomber’ Mthethwa and Premier League of Eswatini (PLE) chairman Peter ‘Touch Magagula among other dignitaries only showed the respect gesture to the players and match officials before doing same to those on the technical bench.
With a seventh case reported in neighboring South Africa, the coronavirus scare has risen in the kingdom. The virus broke out in China, Wuhan with 105 820 people infected by it, passing a grim milestone last week when it reached six figures. From these there have been 3 558 deaths.
The coronavirus outbreak continued its remorseless spread around the globe with authorities reporting major variations in the disease’s impact in different countries. Already three cases have been reported in South Africa, Eswatini’s biggest trader.
His Majesty King Mswati III also addressed the nation after the game where he raised awareness of the global crisis around the virus. The monarch, interviewed by South African sports anchor Phumlani Msibi of SuperSport said it was necessary that all citizens adhere to precautions set before them.
He noted that the virus moves fast and that it was important that countries of the world work together to curb it.
“We cannot afford to have it (coronavirus) here nor affect our neighbors as Africa as a continent is already affected by other diseases,” he said.
The king entered Somhlolo National Stadium at half time to roars of ‘Bayethe’, in time to present the winners in both football and culture competitions at the sound of the final whistle.
Fever, dry cough and trouble breathing are the common symptoms of the disease which makes it largely a respiratory virus.
An officer from the Ministry of Health was also called to the podium to teach precautions to be taken to avoid being infected with the virus.
Goals from either side of the half by Mcolisi Mkhontfo and Mthunzi ‘Xavi’ Mkhontfo were enough to brush aside Highlanders as Green Mamba won the Ingwenyama Cup, pocketing E1.4 million for their efforts.