The Eswatini football fraternity has been thrown into a state of mourning following the death of former Mbabane Swallows coach Thabo Vilakati on Friday, August 28 after a short illness, aged 49.
‘Koki’ as he was fondly called made history by guiding Swallows to the maiden appearances in the group stages of the CAF Confederation Cup and CAF Champions League in 2017 and 2018 respectively.
He had a brief playing stint at his childhood club Mbabane Highlanders development structures before developing his love for administration which saw him become a member of the Highlanders technical staff as a kit manager.
Vilakati climbed the ladder in the coaching profession as he become the head coach for Highlanders between 1994 and 1995 where he tasted his first success winning the league title. Later, he joined Denver Sundowns before enjoying stints with the likes of Malanti Chiefs, Young Buffaloes, Green Mamba, Mbabane Swallows and Manzini Wanderers.
He is among the select few to have coached Eswatini’s three top clubs – Mbabane Highlanders, Swallows and Manzini Wanderers.