Tuesday 2019-07-16




By Sibusiso Masilela | 2018-09-12

SOCCER – THE Premier League of Eswatini (PLE) has unveiled top local referee Simanga Nhleko as their new Chief Executive Officer (CEO).

The former FIFA accredited whistle man has joined the football organisation for a period of over two years. He comes with lots of experience in football having served in the NRAE executive committee for the past five years. The announcement was made by the PLE Chairman Peter ‘Touch’ Magagula during a press briefing held at the Sigwaca House yesterday.

“We are happy to announce Simanga Nhleko as our new CEO following a recruitment exercise conducted by the JBH Consultancy. Nhleko was chosen from a pool of over 50 candidates, who all expressed desire to join the organisation.

“Nhleko is joining us on a period of over two years but we are yet to discuss other contractual issues with our new CEO. We are confident he will execute his duties diligently by taking local football and the PLE brand to the next level,” he said.

The 44-year-old outgoing Eswatini National Referees Association Secretary, Simanga Nhleko said he was humbled by the appointment and further promised to work towards the betterment of the local football organisation.

“I am very humbled and hounoured to be given such a huge task. I promise to work hard in fulfilling my mandate of taking the organisation to greater heights since it is currently ranked 14th in the continent.  I have to ensure the organisation continues to grow by working and cooperating with all the stakeholders,” he said.

Nhleko further stated he would now relinquish his position as the ENRA Secretary due to his new job.

“I will no longer be part of the referees association which also means I will no longer be officiating during games.”

Nhleko started his career as a referee in 1991 under the Manzini Regional Football Association (MRFA) before being promoted to the Premier League in 1998. He assumed the FIFA assistant referee batch in 2003 and pulled out three years later before returning as the international referee in 2008 until 2016.

Nhleko once officiated in top CAF Champions League matches including the first leg encounter of South Africa’s Orlando Pirates and TP Mazembe from DR Congo in May 2013 at the Orlando Stadium.

Nhleko has joined the likes of Zakhele Dlamini, Zwelonkhe ‘Sport’ Dlamini, Nqobile Magagula, Sydney Simelane, Vuli Kunene and John Mazibuko in the list of PLE CEO’s. 

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