3. OBITUARY: Alabama A&M keeper Mdluli killed


Alabama A&M goalie Mlondi Mdluli, who started the first two games of the 2006 college season before returning to his native Swaziland, was killed Monday night when the Toyota Corolla he was driving drove into a ditch and then hit a concrete wall. Three other passengers -- two former soccer players and a female companion -- also died in the crash, which took place in the Nhlambeni area of Manzini region at about 5 a.m.

Mdluli, a 25-year-old sophomore, had started in the Bulldogs' 2-1 victory over VCU and 4-3 loss to James Madison before leaving the school and returning home last Thursday. An Alabama A&M release stated he had returned home, according to members of the team, to help an ailing mother. The Swazi Observer reported Mdluli, who went by the nickname of the "Chicken," was said to have experienced "undisclosed problems in the USA and could not finish his course."

Mdluli played for Sihlangu, the Swazi national team, in the 2005 COSAFA Castle Cup. His work in goal for Sihlangu attracted the interest of A&M, which built it reputation as a national power in the late 1970s for its recruitment of Africans. Three other Swazi internationals remain on the '06 A&M team: Swazi Maziya, MfanaFuthi Bhembe and Sibusiso Macwele.

The accident came only hours after Swaziland lost to Angola, 2-0, in African Nations Cup qualifying. A&M's Swazis were reportedly omitted from the team because the Swaziland FA couldn't afford to pay for their plane tickets. Mdluli was not on the roster for the Angola game.

With Mdluli's departure, no other goalie is listed on A&M's roster. Mosito Ranko and Bhembe, both listed as forwards, played in goal in the Bulldogs' next two games, a 4-1 loss to the College of Charleston and a 7-1 loss to UNC Wilmington.
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