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NATIONAL TEAM REPLICAS ON SALE

As an initiative to celebrate the on-going FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, the Eswatini Football Association (EFA) has put the national team replicas on sale with each costing at E350 instead of the original E450. This sale will be applicable beyond the world cup covering the entire festive season which will present a more opportune period for the public to purchase the national team replicas at a lower price.

These replicas are manufactured by umbro and they come in three colours which are blue (home), white (away) and yellow (altarnative). The national team replicas are available at The Century Fashions (Mbabane), African Heritage (Mahhala) and Mr. Matata (Moneni). They are of high quality and light at the same time, which makes them more ideal to wear them during the summer season.

ESWATINI READY FOR THE ZAMBIA MATCH

Both countries commenced the campaigns in the the on-going TotalEnergies U20 AFCON Qualifiers very well after the collected maximum points in their first matches. Eswatini won their first match against Botswana on Friday whilst Zambia defeated Mauritius by 3-0 earlier on the day. With both countries being the pace setters in this group, this a must watch match.

According to the Eswatini National Team Head Coach, Mduduzi Nxumalo, the players are ready for this trilling encounter that will be played at the Somhlolo National Stadium on Sunday, 9th October 2022 and kick-off is at 1500hrs. “We have an injury free squad and the players are looking forward to the match”, said Nxumalo. Eswatini will be looking forward to utilizing the home ground advantage thus the coach also invited the fans to come to the Somhlo National Stadium to support the boys. “We invite the fans to come to the stadium and support the players”, Nxumalo said. The free tickets for this match will be available at the Eswatini Mobile Gazebos closer to the Stadium on a first come first save basis.

U23 NATIONAL TEAM READY FOR BOTSWANA

The U23 Men National Team is ready for the match against Botswana in the TotalEnergies AFCON Qualifier match that will be played on Friday, 23rd September 2022 at the Somhlhlo National Stadium. The kick-off for this match is at 1500hrs (3:00 p.m.) and entrance is free.

When speaking to the media on Wednesday afternoon, the head coach of the national team Sifiso Ntibane stated that the players are ready for the match. “Playing at home has that psychological motivation that we cannot lose and the players are ready for this match”, Ntibane said. Even though it is still off season in the country, the head coach highlighted that as a technical team they executed numerous practice matches to boost the players ’match fitness. Ntibane also emphasised on the importance of having a clean sheet and also scoring goals with the second leg still to be played away in Botswana. “It is important for us to get a clean sheet and also score goals to have and advantage when we go for the second leg in Botswana, Ntibane said.

The national team will be having the services of two players who have full caps in their disposal whom the head coach believe is a boost to the team. “Having Kwakhe and Tiger in the national team is a boost for the national team as their experience will be handy”, Ntibane said. Kwakhe Thwala who is the captain of the national team echoed the coach’s words as he promised good results in as far as this match is concerned. “We promise good results and on a personal capacity, it is an extra motivation for me to be the captain of the national team”, Thwala said. The vice-captain of the national team, Neliswa ‘Tiger’Dlamini stated that as players, they are ready and looking forward to the match. “We are ready for this match as we are looking forward to it”, Dlamini said.

LACK OF INTERNATIONAL EXPOSURE AND CONFIDENCE OUR DOWNFALL-SITSEBE HEAD COACH

The Senior Women National Team is out of the Hollywoodbets COSAFA Women Championship that is currently implemented in Gqeberha in South Africa. The youthful Sitsebe as the national team is also known, lost all the group matches and ended in the basement of Group B. Sitsebe lost against Lesotho by 3-0, then against Namibia by 5-1 and also lost the last match by 2-0 against Zambia.

According to the national team head coach, Simephi Mamba, they will take the positives from this competition and build for the future.  Mamba highlighted the lack of international exposure for the players as their downfall to this competition. “The lack of international exposure and confidence adversely affected the performance of the players in this competition”, Mamba said. She also asked the EFA to look after this team and implement more training programmes as a way forward. “I urge the football association to implement more training programmes for this team in order to enhance the performance for the future”, Mamba said. Sitsebe is expected back home on Thursday.

ESWATINI DEFEATED BY LESOTHO IN THE HOLLEYWOODBETS COSAFA WOMEN CHAMPIONSHIP

It was not a good start for the Eswatini Senior Women National Team as they lost their opening match against Lesotho in the on-going Hollywoodbets COSAFA Women Championship. This match was played at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Gqeberha. Eswatini goalkeeper, Eunice Mbuli did have a good day in office as she made two blunders that resulted in Lesotho taking a two-goal lead at half time. This forced Eswatini technical bench to substitute her at half time for Gcinile Dlamini. Both goalkeepers earned their first full cap for the national team which was a similar case with a majority of the Eswatini players as they have been promoted from the U20 Women National Team.

The Lesotho Women National Team Captain, Boitumelo Rabale was a thorn to the Eswatini national team as she scored a hattrick which made the final score to 3-0 in favour of Lesotho. The youthful Eswatini National Team did create some goal scoring opportunities in each half with Nonjabuliso Mokgale giving the Basotho defence some tough time. Mokgale was unlucky when her chip -shot was saved by the Basotho goalkeeper Mpolokeng Mothomotsoana after outpacing the defence of Lesotho.

Tibonile Dlamini should have reduced the deficit in the first half when her shot was saved by the Basoth goalkeeper in a one-on-one situation. Eswatini was also unlucky in the second half when the pacey Nonjabuliso Mokgale layed a pass for Lisanda Ndzinisa outside the box whose powerful shot hit the upright with Mpolekeng Mothomotsoana well beaten. Nonjabuliso Ndlela from South Africa who was the referee of this match blew the final whistle which guaranteed Lesotho’s maximum points with Eswatini still trailing by 3-0.

WE ARE READY FOR THE COMPETITION -SITSEBE SKIPPER

The Senior Women National Team Captain, Nokuthula Dlamini has highlighted that the preparations for the upcoming Hollywoodbets COSAFA Women Championship are going well ahead of the Hollywoodbets COSAFA Women Championship which is scheduled for 31st August to 11th September 2022 in Gqeberha, South Africa. She made her remarks during the media day on Thursday, 25th August 2022 at the Technical Centre, Lobamba.

 “We are ready for this tournament and we are going to compete to our best in order to pass the group stages”, Dlamini said. She stated that no player is injured and the only threat they have is Zambia in the group. “Zambia is a strong team but we are aware of the style of football they play”, she added.

 The captain’s words were echoed by Eunice Mbuli who showed confidence which is a positive signal that they are ready for this tournament. She highlighted that she’s attending this tournament for the third time. “I am very much excited and happy to compete in this tournament as we players will get international exposure”, Mbuli said.

EFA SUCCEFULLY IMPLEMENTED THE OGA FOR THE FIRST TIME UNDER PRESIDENT PETER SIMELANE’S LEADERSHIP

The Eswatini Football Association has implemented the first Ordinary General Assembly (OGA) under the leadership of President Peter Simelane. This event was implemented at the Happy Valley Hotel in Ezulwini. In his address the EFA President highlighted about the football business for the past year which is also the initial year for the current EFA Executive Committee.

It was a challenging year for football for the previous football season due to the existence of Covid-19 pandemic. “It is common knowledge that most of our business, most importantly our beloved football competitions at the regions stopped since 2020 even the only executed competitions at the national level, were first without fans and later on restricted numbers, something which severely comprised the economic and livelihood of the clubs and the general practitioners of the game” Simelane said.

Under his leadership, EFA and as a way of fighting the Covid-19 pandemic, implemented the Covid-19 Vaccination Vigour. “Delegates, we pride ourselves for having been amongst the first few and very decisive organizations in the country to launch the vaccination drive to create immunity against the coronavirus in our society”. Simelane highlighted. This drive persuaded government and the pertinent authorities to allow fans back into our football stadia to watch matches and by extension the return of football at the regional levels.

Also, in his first term of office, the EFA launched the partnership and national team replicas. “One of the most significant commercial business made, was the launch of the Umbro three-year technical partnership and replicas for the national team”, Simelane said. The launch of the replicas sought to ensure that the supporters and football consumers have a similar identity with the national team. The President highlighted that even though this was a successful business initiative, this was adversely affected by the hosting of the national team matches of foreign soil.

In terms of infrastructure development, the EFA President encouraged the regional associations to maximise the business opportunities by the regional associations who have the technical centres. “I encourage the regional associations who already have facilities, to create and assimilate the commercial opportunities that have been presented, through these facilities”, Simelane said.

As an effort of empowering football personnel, EFA continued to educate and train football personnel. “We have witnessed the very first graduation of two women in the Women in Leadership Programme as we seek to empower women folk to discharge their leadership responsibilities proficiently”, Simelane highlighted. The EFA President promised that such empowerment will continue in the coming year of the EFA calendar. Also, the EFA President highlighted the transformation of refereeing in the country. “Of a significant highlight is the growth of our refereeing, where we have witnessed leading referee, Letticia Viana, officiating at the third consecutive Women Africa Cup of Nations. She has since got a historic appointment to officiate in the VAR section of the FIFA U17 Women World Cup.

On the fiscal ecology of the EFA, the President highlighted that EFA is counted and continue to pride herself on that aspect. “EFA is counted and continues to pride herself, in that it has realized an unqualified audit opinion, being a sparkling audit, for the 2021 independent audit”, Simelane said. The organisation is also confident that it will pass the FIFA Central Review Audit which is currently ongoing. As a way of ensuring the practice of good corporate governance in football, EFA will continue empowering her members on that aspect. “Of significant note, is that we will try to continue to improve our good financial standing, as we have done recently to assure the compliance of our members with audit requirements through the establishment of financial templates for our member associations through which financial applications and reports for grants funding will be made forward”, Simelane stated.

With the EFA strategic plan having elapsed, the EFA President has called all members to commit themselves in as far as the crafting of a new one is concerned. “I therefore call members to commit to this crucial exercise of mapping our prospective football business for the next four years”, the EFA President said. He also called upon the EFA members to look into the forthcoming year and future of football as there is a need collaborate in order to create and recreate strategies that will evolve with the dynamic needs of the game of football.

EFA IMPLEMENTS THE REFEREEING COURSE

The Eswatini Football Association (EFA) is currently implementing a refereeing course at the Technical Centre in Lobamba. This is in readiness of the upcoming 2022/23 football season. A total of 32 referees are participants of this course and they include some FIFA accredited referees like Thulani Sibandze, Thembinkosi Magagula and Buyisile Mkhaliphi amongst others.

This course commenced on Monday, 1st August and will end on Friday, August 2022. When opening this course, the EFA President Mr. Peter Simelane acknowledged the facilitators and the participants for being part of this significant course. He also highlighted the EFA’s commitment towards the development of football refereeing in the country. “I would like to thank the EFA Refereeing Instructors and the participants for their attendance as this is an important course. Over and above, EFA is always committed towards the development of refereeing in the country thus the implementation of such courses”, Simelane said.

The EFA President also acknowledged the support from FIFA towards the development of football in the country over the years. He also stated that it is on of EFA’s objective in as far as the development of refereeing in the country is concerned to have at least one referee officiating in a FIFA World Cup Finals. “Having witnessed Letticia Viena doing a perfect job during the Women Africa Cup of Nations in Morocco is an indication that Eswatini have the potential of producing at least one referee to officiate in the FIFA World Cup”, said the President of the EFA.

Also present during the opening ceremony was the Chairperson of the EFA Referees Committee who is also the Executive Member of the EFA Mr. Sipho Kunene who thanked the EFA for her effort of developing the referees in the country. "We would like to thank the EFA for her splendid role in as far as the development of refereeing in the country in concerned", said Kunene.  

SIHLANGU AIMS FOR A WIN IN BOTSWANA

It’s a matter of a payback time for the Senior Men National Team in the TotalEnergies CHAN Qualifiers 2023 when Eswatini play against Botswana on Saturday in Francistown, Botswana. Both national teams are fresh from the Hollywoodbets COSAFA Cup 2022 that was implemented in Durban where they played against each other in the plate semi-finals where Botswana won the match by 2-0. Eswatini is aiming for a win come Saturday in order to increase the chances of advancing to the next round of this competition.

When addressing the national team, Eswatini Football Association (EFA) President Mr. Peter Simelane mandated the players to go to Botswana and finish the business. “You have to finish the business in Botswana”, Simelane Said. The head coach Domenic Kunene assured the President and the public that the national team is ready for the task ahead. “The national team is ready for Botswana”, Kunene said. The Captain of the National Team Lindo Mkhonta stated that this match is more than a revenge as they are aiming for bigger things in as far as this competition is concerned. “To us this match is more than a revenge as we are aiming for bigger things in as far as this competition is concerned. Our aim is to win in Botswana and ultimately eliminate them in the competition”, Mkhonta said. The travelling players are as follows:

GOALKEEPERS

Sandanezwe Mathabela (Mbabane Swallows FC), Khanyakwezwe Shabalala (Mbabane Highlanders FC)

DEFENDERS

Mlamuli Msibi (Royal Leopard FC), Sikhumbuzo Magagula (Royal Leopard FC), Lindo Mkhonta (Young Buffaloes FC), Sihlangu Mkhwanazi (Young Buffaloes FC), Kwakhe Thwala (Young Buffaloes FC), Simanga Masangane (Vovovo FC), Peter Dlamini (Mbabane Highlanders FC)

MIDFIELDERS

Mzwandile Mabelesa (Royal Leopard FC), Sifiso Matse (Royal Leopard FC), Junior Magagula (Royal Leopard FC), Khetho Mkhontfo (Green Mamba FC), Leon Manyisa (Mbabane Swallows FC), Neliswa Dlamini (Manzini Wanderers FC), Bongwa Matsebula (Young Buffaloes FC)

 STRIKERS

Sandile Gamedze (Young Buffaloes FC), Fanelo Mamba (Young Buffaloes FC), Sabelo Ndzinisa (Mbabane Highlanders FC), Philani Mkhontfo (Mbabane Highlanders FC)

 

 

 

SIHLANGU ‘S HOLLYWOODBETS COSAFA CUP 2022 ENDS ON A LOW NOTE

The Senior Men National Team started the Hollywoodbets COSAFA Cup 2022 on a high note with a convincing win against Mauritius by 3-0, a late draw aginst Malawi by 1-1 and a win against Lesotho by 2-0 which guaranteed Eswatini a place in the quarter finals of this competition with 7 points.

It was in the knock-out stages where Eswatini started tasting the bitter pill of the competition as Sihlangu lost against Senegal by 11-10 after sudden death penalties. The scoreline was 1-1 after 90 minutes. This made Eswatini to play against Botswana in the Hollywoodbets COSAFA Plate Semi-Final where Eswatini lost by 2-0. What was similar to these losses was that Eswatini created numerous goal scoring chances but failed to convert them into goals. As a consolation for Eswatini is that in all the matches that Sihlangu played, Eswatini payers won the man of the match awards. These players are Sandile Gamedze (twice), Sifiso Matse, Mzwandile Mabelesa and Fanelo Mamba.

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