Saul Chaminuka

Chaminuka in second attempt for a King’s congratulatory handshake

Noel Munzabwa

FORMER Warriors assistant coach Saul Chaminuka gets a second chance to a King Mswati III congratulatory handshake when he guides his lads Mbabane Highlanders against Young Buffaloes in the SMVAF Ingwenyama Cup final set for Somhlolo National Stadium on Sunday.

After a futile first attempt two years ago, Chaminuka faces the same opponents that denied him glory in the 2017 Eswatini Bank Cup final against a stake of being winless against the army side but there can always be a first time for everything.

Chaminuka will be eyeing glory in his second major cup final in Eswatini and interestingly he will square up against the same opponents, Young Buffaloes, the side he lost to in his first cup final.

The army outfit, Young Buffaloes beat Chaminuka’s then Matsapha United outfit 2-0 in the 2017 SwaziBank Cup final — which was his first and only major domestic cup final in Eswatini.

In an interview this week, the Zimbabwe mentor believed it could still be done.

“I am aware this is the same side that beat me in my first Swazi final two years ago and I am aware I have never won against Young Buffaloes but just like them we are in it to win it. If anything such a background has not intimidated me but rather inspired me.

“For Highlanders I know the pregnancy of emotional hope this final carries considering the lengthy period they have not won anything which leaves little space as margin of error. While the biggest load is on us the coaches and players the fans equally have a role to play on Sunday. There is always a first and God will provide on Sunday,” said Chaminuka.

And if they believe in themselves, they will conquer but one thing certain is that victory won’t be given on a silver platter, this sound booming from the Young Buffaloes patron, Sobantu Dlamini who has ordered his troops to bring it home.

“What I can tell you is that my players will be all out on Sunday and there is no turning back as the hour has come. We can’t afford to lose in the final of this tournament again. Bring it home,” ordered Dlamini.

Buffaloes have been two SMVAF Ingwenyama Cup finals, losing both to the only and three time winners Mbabane Swallows — a solid piece of tournament statistics assuring of new and second winner from this edition.

On their way to the finals Highlanders finally remembered the taste of a cup exactly after seven years, another ghost tumbling out of the cupboards, thanks to a 2-0 win over Malanti Chiefs in a semi-final.

The last time Highlanders were in a cup final was in 2012 when they lost to the Lloyd Mutasa coached Green Mamba 3-1 in the SwaziBank Cup with 2010 being their last cup final triumph when they hit a double.

In their last major cup glory, served with a double dose, they first clinched the SwaziBank Cup with a 1-0 win over Umbelebele Jomo Cosmos before clinching the season opening SPTC Charity Cup with a 1-0 win over Manzini Wanderers.

On the flip side, Young Buffaloes are not new to winning cup finals they developed a winning mentality in their adrenaline after bagging the last editions of the Eswatini Bank Cup. — @NoelMunzabwa