The Senior Men’s National Team players will be playing the match of their lives in as far as their international football is concerned when Eswatini (Sihlangu SeMnikati) play against South Africa (Bafana Bafana) on Tuesday evening in the 2023 Hollywoodbets COSAFA Cup. Kick-off for this match is at 1800hrs at the Princess Magogo Stadium in KwaMashu. Eswatini will be looking for maximum points to keep the chances of proceeding to the semi-finals a reality.
South Africa is on the summit of Group A with 4 points, Botswana is second with 3 points, Eswatini are third with 3 points, and Namibia are fourth with 1 point. Sihlangu SeMnikati finalized the preparations of this humdinger of a fixture at the Northwood Crusaders 1 in Durban with all the players present except for Ncamiso Dlamini who is recuperating from an injury he sustained during the match against Namibia.
According to the national team’s head coach, Dominic Kunene, the preparations for this match went very well and the players knows the significance of this match. “The preparations went well and the players know the importance of this match”, Kunene said. Sihlangu SeMnikati also be looking forward in recording the maiden victory against Bafana Bafana and as per the head coach, the only formular in achieving this is through the creation of more goal scoring opportunities. “Every match of football has knew results thus you cannot dwell much on the history. In order to achieve our desired result in this match, we must create more goal scoring opportunities,” Kunene said.
The head coach also highlighted that changes can be expected in as far as this match is concerned. “We can expect changes in this match,” Kunene said. Sabelo Ndzinisa trained fully with his teammate for the first time after he sustained an injury during the opening match of the tournament against Botswana. “The return of Sabelo Ndzinisa will boost the team”, Kunene said.
It was a good day for the Senior Men’s National Team on Saturday evening as Eswatini was victorious against Namibia in the on-going 2023 Hollywoodbets COSAFA Cup that is played in Durban, South Africa. With the hosts recording a win in the earlier match at the expense of Botswana, both Eswatini and Namibia had to play catch-up to both teams. The victory for South Africa put the at 4 points, Botswana at 3 points. As a result of today’s victory for Eswatini, Sihlangu has 3 points whilst Namibia still has the single point.
Sihlangu’s technical bench made several changes compared to the opening match of the competition. In this match, Neliswa Dlamini, Philani Mkhotfo, Mzwandile Mabelesa, Mlamuli Msibi and Siboniso Mamba were the changes that were made in the starting line-up. In the absence of Sabelo Ndzinisa, Mxolisi Mkhontfo was the top man. Kwakhe Tfwala was shifted to the left back position. It was a more offensive line-up that which could also defend. Both the right back (Mlamuli Msibi) and left back gave more options when going forward with their ability to deliver quality crosses. Siboniso Mamba added more stability and hight at the back.
Sihlangu was more mobile and gave the opposition tough times from the first whistle to the last. The was more mobility and urgency in the team with man of the match Bongwa Matsebula giving Ivan Kamberipa tough times thus being substituted in the 26th minute of the match. Namibia drew first blood in the 34th minute through a well-executed dead ball outside the 18-area box that found the left corner of Ncamiso Dlamini’s net. Eswatini responded through the run of play with a thunderous strike from Sifiso Matse in the 39th minute. Bongwa Matsebula won the match after placing the ball past an advising Edward Maova in the Namibian’s goal in the 42nd minute. In the 43rd minute Eswatini was forced to replace Ncamiso Dlamini in goal after he was injured and he was replaced by Sandanezwe Mathabela.
The referee sent both teams to the dressing rooms for half time with Eswatini leading by 2-1. In the second half, Eswatini continued to search for more goals; however, the goal scoring chances went begging. As the match approached the final whisthle, Eswatini made changes as Neliswa Dlamini, Philani Mkhontfo and Mlamuli Msibi were rested for more defensive players by the name of Sihlangu Mkhwanazi and Lindo Mkhonta. Fanelo Mamba also came in for Philani Mkhontfo. The referee ended the match to the jubilation of the travelling Eswatini fans.
The Senior Men’s National Team’s (Sihlangu SeMnikati’s) striker, Sabelo ‘Sikhali’ Ndzinisa is doubtful for the second match against Namibia in the 2023 Hollywoodbets COSAFA Cup to be played at the King Zwelithini Stadium at Umlazi in Durban. Kick-off is at 1800hrs. This is a must win match for Sihlangu in order to keep the hopes of advancing to the next round of the tournament alive. Sikhali suffered an injury during the opening match against Botswana.
“Sikhali is doubtful for the match against Namibia; however, the medical team is racing against time in as far as his recovery is concerned,” said Sihlangu head coach, Dominic Kunene. Sikhali did some light training as he jogged around the training pitch whilst Philani Mkhotfo who missed the opening match due to a ligament injury trained with the rest of the players and will be available for selection.
As this is a must win match for Sihlangu, the head coach highlighted the significance of creating more goal scoring opportunities and as a technical team they have prepared the players psychologically following the lose against Botswana. “We will apply both the offensive and defensive tactics and most importantly create more goal scoring chances. Yes, the players are fresh from a loss but we have prepared them psychologically in order to rise to the occasion”, Kunene said. Currently Eswatini is at the bottom of Group A and a win can see Eswatini leap frogging Namibia on the log and possible South Africa depending on their results against Botswana.
The Senior Men’s National Team Head Coach Dominic Kunene has lamented the loss against Botswana to poor reaction in the first half. “We started badly and allowed a simple goal; however, we played well in the second half. Our poor reaction in the first half costed us the match, Kunene said. When looking at the future of the 2023 Hollywoodbets COSAFA Cup, Sihlangu Head Coach stated that they have to focus on the finishing as they are creating scoring chances but not converting. “We do create goal scoring chances unfortunately we do not convert thus we have to concentrate on our finishing,” Kunene said. Eswatini will be in action again on Saturday against Namibia at the King Zwelithini Stadium. Kick-off is at 1800hrs.
The Senior Men’s National Team (Sihlangu SeMnikati) started the campaign of the 2023 Hollywoodbets COSAFA Cup on a low note after suffering a loss at the expense of Botswana at the King Zwelithini Stadium at Umlazi in Durban. It was a tight encounter in the first fifteen minutes with both sides being extra cautious when going forward.
It took Botswana twent-two minutes to break the deadlock after an unmarked blonded Lebogang Ditsele to score the first goal of the match. This was after a long throw from the right that was flicked in the box and found an unmarked Lebogang Ditsele in the box who side-footed the ball in the back of the net with Ncamiso Dlamini being exposed by his defence.
That was the only goal in the first half as the referee of the match Godfrey Nkakananga from Malawi sending both teams to the dressing rooms to signal the end of the first half. In the second half, Eswatini played with more urgency and creativity unfortunately they were to shy in front of goal. Eswatini was forced to make a change after Sabelo Ndzinisa was injured and the MTN Player of the season, Mxolisi Mkhontfo was rested. Sikhali was replaced by Mzwandile Mabelesa whilst Mxolisi Mkhontfo was replaced by Mthokozisi Gwebu.
In the 86th minute, Mthokozisi Gwebu’s header went over the cross bar with Lesenyane Malapela well beaten. Eswatini kept on applying the pressure unfortunately the created goal scoring opportunities were not converted. The referee blew the final whistle of the match with Botswana still leading by that first half solitary goal thus winning the match. After the first match day of Group A, Botswana is on the summit of the log after Namibia and South Africa played a 1-1 draw. Eswatini is at the base of the log with two matches left for each team.
Inspiration comes from within yourself. This is the spirit the national team midfielder Kwakhe Tfwala and his international teammates are currently demonstrating in camp ahead of the opening match of the 2023 Hollywoodbets COSAFA Cup to be played tomorrow at the King Zwelithini Stadium at Umlazi in Durban. Kick-off for this match is at 1500hrs. When interviewed after today’s training that was held at Virginia FC, the left footed utility player stated that, the time they were waiting for in as far as this tournament is concerned has arrived and as players, they have committed themselves to do better than before. “The time has arrived and the is no turning back. As players we had fully committed ourselves during the preparation and now, we want to make the nation happy”, Tfwala said. Stopper as he is affectionately called by his teammates highlighted that this will be a competitive match; however, they have to get maximum points from this match. “Botswana is not an easy team to beat, but we have to get the maximum points from this match,” Tfwala said.
When queried about the huge opportunities that are attached to this tournament in terms of getting lucrative contracts from international teams, Kwakhe highlighted that even though he was aware about that, he does not want to put himself under too much pressure on himself. “Yes, the are huge opportunities in terms of being watched by scouts but I don’t want to put too much pressure on myself,” Tfwala said. He also advised other players who will be playing their maiden Hollywoodbets COSAFA Cup tournament to take it easy and play their normal game. “I advise players who will be making their first appearance in this tournament to keep it simple and play their normal game”, he said. Finall, he urged EmaSwati to support them during this tournament. “I urge the nation to support the national team,” Kwakhe concluded.
The Hollywoodbets COSAFA Cup 2023 is has arrived and the Senior Mens’ National Team (Sihlangu SeMnikati) has arrived in Durban, South Africa. Sihlangu left Eswatini on Sunday afternoon and safely arrived in Durban in the evening. The Domenic Kunene led teamis scheduled to realize the first training session today in readiness of the opening match against Botswana who also arrived on the same day as Eswatini. Sihlangu is in Group A together with Botswana, Namibia, and South Africa.
Sihlangu has assured the nation of a better performance than previous editions of this tournament. During the farewell function of the national team at the EFA Technical Centre in Lobamba on Sunday morning, the national team Head Coach Dominic Kunene promised that, they will play with the aim of reaching the final stages of the tournament. “Even though it was not easy to prepare the team due to the previous results, we promise that we will play well and reach a better stage of the tournament than the previous editions”, Kunene said.
The similar sentiment was stated by the national team captain, Lindo Mkhonta. “We are ready for the tournament and we urge the fans to support us through prayers. We also urge them to go to Durban to watch good football. Psychologically and physically, we are ready for the tournament and we want to perform better than the previous editions. Psychologically and physically, we are ready for the tournament and want to perform better than previous editions,” the skipper said.
The Eswatini Football Association (EFA) is also confident that the national team will perform well. This was highlighted by the EFA’s Vice President Steve Horton. “The nation wants results, and we know you will do well,” Horton said.
Eswatini will play the opening match against Botswana on Wednesday at the King Zwelithini Stadium and kick-off is at 1500hrs.
The Senior Men’s National Team (Sihlangu SeMnikati) is aiming high in as far as the 2023 Hollywoodbets COSAFA Cup is concerned. Sihlangu has been semi-finalist in four (4) editions of this tournament. The national team Head Coach, Dominic Kunene has highlighted that they are aiming to perform better that before in this year’s edition. “We have to do better than before and reach the stage that we haven’t reached before,” Kunene. He also highlighted that this will not be achieved easily as they are in a tough group.; however, as a technical team they are preparing the players to be ready for the task. “We are in a tough group and the fact that we want to do better than before, puts pressure on its own. We are preparing the players both physically and psychologically”, Kunene said.
The coach’s words were echoed by the national team speedy winger, Philani Mkhontfo and the veteran goalkeeper Sandanezwe Mathabela. “We have the experience in this tournament which I believe will work on our advantage. As a motivation, we want to market ourselves during this tournament and redeem ourselves after the unsuccessful TotalEnergies AFCON Qualifiers,” Mkhontfo said.
Also, the national team goalkeeper, Sandanezwe Mathabela stated that as players they are ready for the task. “The players are ready for the challenge and we have to do better considering the fact that a majority of the players have been in the national team set-up for some time,” said Mathabela who was recalled to the national team after the TotalEnergies AFCON Qualifier Match against Togo.
Eswatini is in Group A together with Botswana, Namibia, and South Africa.
The football family continues to eulogize MTN Eswatini for her fantastic role towards the development of football in the country. Both the Eswatini Football Association (EFA) and the Premier League of Eswatini (PLE) sang the same tune for the sponsor of both the MTN Premier League and the MTN National First Division during the prize presentation ceremony for both leagues that was perfectly realized at Sibane Hotel.
“I consequently, from the onset, would like to express our candid distinction to MTN, for the customary generous sponsorship and investment that continue to endure our national senior leagues,” said the EFA President, Mr. Peter Simelane. The Premier League of Eswatini’s (PLE’s) Chairman, Mr. Mark Carmicheal through the PLE Executive Member Mr. Polycarp Dlamini also expressed PLE’s appreciation for the wonderful partnership of the PLE and MTN Eswatini over the years through this sponsorship. “The PLE appreciates and passes her sincere gratitude to MTN Eswatini for her support in the past twenty-two (22) years”, Carmicheal said. He also highlighted that the PLE looks forward to further collaborations with MTN Eswatini and other stakeholders for the betterment of football. “The PLE is looking forward to further collaborations with MTN Eswatini and other stakeholders for the betterment of the sport”, Carmicheal said.
During this event, Green Mamba FC’s captain and Senior Men’s National Team midfielder Mxolisi Mkhontfo was crowned the Player of the Year for the MTN Premier League whilst Rangers FC’s Mfanasibili Kunene was crowned the Player of the Year for the MTN National First Division. Other individual prize winners were as follows;
MTN Premier League
MTN National First Division
The MTN Eswatini’s Chief Executive Officer Mr. Wandile Mtshali highlighted that as a sponsor for both leagues, these prizes are for celebrating the efforts of the players and they will remain committed in developing football in the country. “Congratulations to the champions of both leagues and the winners of the individual prizes. These awards are for celebrating the efforts of the players. MTN Eswatini remains committed in developing football in the country,” Mtshali said.
The Senior Men’s National Team has shifted focus to the Hollywoodbets COSAFA Cup to be played in Durban, South Africa from the 5th – 16th July 2023. A total of twenty-five (25) players are currently in full-time camp at the EFA’s Technical Centre in Lobamba. The players that are part of the tentative squad are as follows:
Ncamiso Dlamini (Royal Leopard F.C.), Sandanezwe Mathabela (Mbabane Swallows F.C.), Khanyakwezwe Shabalala (Mbabane Swallows F.C.)
Siyabonga Silenge (Green Mamba F.C.), Mcolisi Manana (Green Mamba F.C.), Simanga Masangane (Royal Leopard F.C.), Mlamuli Msibi (Royal Leopard F.C.), Vusi Vilakati (Mbabane Highlanders F.C.), Mpendulo Tfomo (Mbabane Highlanders F.C.), Sihlangu Mkhwanazi (Young Buffaloes F.C.), Siboniso Mamba (Young Buffaloes F.C.), Lindo Mkhonta (Zesco United F.C.), Lucky Gamedze (Madlenya F.C.)
Mcolisi Mkhontfo (Green Mamba F.C.), Mzwandile Mabelesa (Royal Leopard F.C.), Sifiso Matse (Royal Leopard F. C.), Neliswa Dlamini (Mbabane Swallows F.C.), Kwakhe Tfwala (Mbabane Swallows F.C.), Siboniso Ngwenya (Young Buffaloes F.C.), Bongwa Matsebula (Young Buffaloes F.C.)
Sabelo Ndzinisa (Green Mamba F.C.), Njabulo Magagula (Green Mamba F.C.), Philani Mkhontfo (Mbabane Highlanders F.C.), Fanelo Mamba (Young Buffaloes F.C.), Mthokozisi Gwebu (Manzini Sea Birds F.C.).