(By ESRC Communications)
“Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and others have greatness thrust upon them.”
Renowned English poet, playwright and actor, William Shakespeare uttered these never-to-be forgotten words a long time ago.
From humble beginnings, Celucolo ‘Dino’ Dlamini has risen to stardom through natural talent, hard work and perseverance. Meet the Eswatini Sport and Recreation Council (ESRC) Board Chairman.
In this frank one on one interview, Dlamini makes known his wishes regarding the country’s sports.
Observer: Briefly tell us who Celucolo Dlamini is.
Dino: Celucolo Dino Dlamini is a happily married husband and father. I have three children and I am proud to say that I paid 18 cattle as lobola for my wife. I am a teacher by profession.
Observer: We will just cut to the chase. What is your wish for local sports?
Dino: I have so many wishes for our sports in this beautiful kingdom. My biggest one though is for everyone in the country from the youngest to the oldest to realise just how important sports are. Sports are key and are the answer to many of our society’s ills.
Observer: May your kindly elaborate on that.
Dino: For instance, with sports our youth becomes fully focussed and hardly has time for mischief. This was even noted recently by the Police Commissioner in his speech when recognising Sibusiso Matsenjwa’s achievement in the Olympic Games staged recently. The Police Commissioner noted that since sports were banned due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the crime rate has gone up as a result.
As I was saying, should everyone truly realise the importance of sports, I am positive that even the budget allocated to sports would increase. With an increased budget, we would be in a position to accomplish a number of projects. A project that easily comes to mind is the construction of sports centres all over the country. By all over, I mean in each and every Inkhundla so that our people can be exposed to some of the best facilities.
Observer: Sounds interesting.
Dino: Of course, it is. There is no doubt that there is a lot of talented youngsters in the country in as far as sports are concerned. With an increased budget, these youngsters would be exposed to the best coaches and qualified trainers. We would have enough coaches for all of our sports disciplines.
I would also like to see more if not all of our sports associations have relationships with our respective schools. It is not a secret that schools are the ideal places to scout for talent because this is where they spend the better part of their time at. My other wish is to see more companies invest in sports because without their financial input we can only do so much as a sporting fraternity.
My greatest wish perhaps though is to see both the Ministry of Education and Ministry of Sports, Culture and Youth Affairs sign an MOU. This is because both ministries largely deal with the youth.
Observer: Congratulations on your appointment as the Eswatini Sport and Recreation Council (ESRC) Chairman of the Board. How did you find yourself involved in sports?
Dino: I can safely say that my affiliation with sports dates a very long way back. I was the youngest school team player in standard 3 during my primary school days. My talent and leadership skills could not be missed as I was made captain of the school team in standard five.
Observer: That is interesting. We assume you continued pursuing your passion even in secondary school?
Dino: Of course I did! It was around this time that I joined a team, Hungry Lions as a striker. I had forgotten to mention that previously I played as a central defender. My time with Lions helped me greatly in seeing my other qualities as a striker. I was literally a game a goal striker, as I banged the net almost effortlessly.
Observer: In High School?
Dino: This was at Lobamba National and to be honest, the school team here was great. I sort of tried to hide my talent and I managed to do that until form five. I will never forget the fact that I was beaten thoroughly for hiding my talent by the sports teacher at that time after he discovered that I was an accomplished goal scorer, who played football at a competitive level.
On completion of my High School education, I was recruited by the then Mhlume FC, who were under the mentorship of Zambian coach, Daniel Kabwe. Unfortunately, I could not play any role for the team because I then enrolled at the University of Eswatini. I found myself re-joining Sigombeni Cosmos.
The government posted me to Mswati High School in the Hhohho Region which was my first post. I then joined Pigg’s Peak Bush Bucks. However, three or four of my students were part of the team and it was a bit uncomfortable, so I had to make the ultimate sacrifice and called it a day in football. It was no loner conducive for me to play alongside my students.
Observer: Is that how you found yourself in administration at a young age?
Dino: In a way, yes. When Sigombeni Cosmos amalgamated with Hub Sundowns to form a team, the director, Steve Horton asked me to assume administrative duties with the club and I became the PRO.
This coincided with a number of positions as well. I was a teacher, remember, hence got elected in a number of SNAT positions like being elected as the SNAT Pigg’s Peak Branch Chairman. By the way, I held this position for about eight years.
Observer: How did you then join Mbabane Highlanders?
Dino: The then Highlanders director Bheki Simelane roped me into his team, probably after seeing me excel with Hub. I joined Highlanders as PRO. However, I was soon appointed the team’s first CEO in its history. Before that though, most will recall that I had also served the now defunct Matsapha United as CEO.
Observer: But you also had other appointments outside of football, right?
Dino: Of course I did. For instance, you will recall that I was the Schools Sports Association President and I was also the Confederation of Schools Sports Southern Africa Vice President. I was during this time that we managed to host the entire region in schools sports games at the Mavuso Sports Centre, which was a big achievement for us as a country. It would be folly for me though to take the credit alone, as a number of stakeholders ensured that the competition was a huge success.
Partners like the Eswatini Royal Police, Athletics Eswatini and the Sports Council amongst others, really outdid themselves in helping us to successfully host the games for the first time here.
Observer: Thank you for your time Chairman
Dino: The pleasure is all mine
Full name: Celucolo ‘Dino’ Dlamini
Date of birth: 10/10/76
Position: ESRC Chairman of the board