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.).
The Eswatini Football Association (EFA) has acknowledged the support by the fans during the TotalEnergies AFCON Qualifier match between Eswatini and Togo that was played on Sunday evening at the Mbombela Stadium. Through a press release, the EFA acknowledged the fans for supporting the national team and highlighted the significance of their presence during this match.
“The Eswatini Football Association (EFA) here-by take this opportunity to acknowledge the support by the fans during the execution of the TotalEnergies AFCON Qualifier match between Eswatini and Togo that was played on Sunday evening at the Mbombela Stadium. Their presence at the stadium and following the action on television and other media platforms was a huge motivation to the players”, read part of the media release.
Eswatini lost this match by 2-0 which confirmed the national team’s exit n the competition with a single match left which is an away match against Burkina Faso. With Cape Verde winning the match against Burkina Faso, these results confirmed the qualification of Cape Verde and Burkina Faso to the finals of this competition in Ivory Coast early next year.
The EFA also stated that the final match of the national team in these qualifiers will enhance Sihlangu’s preparations for the upcoming 2026 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers scheduled for November 2023. In conclusion, the EFA has urged the fans to support the national team in the upcoming Hollywoodbets COSAFA Cup to be played as from the 5th -16th June 2023 in Durban. “As part of the living the football spirit and our pride, the EFA urge fans to continue supporting the national team during this competition; with the matches to be played on the 5th, 8th and 11th July 2023”, read the press release.
The match between Eswatini and Togo is more like a final as both camps are targeting for maximum points in order to still have some hope of qualifying for the TotalEnergies AFCON Finals to be played early next year in Ivory Coast. When speaking to the press, the assistant coach of the Togolese Senior Men’s National Team, Paulo Pedro highlighted that Eswatini has progressed a lot over the years. Eswatini is a team that progressed a lot and they work hard as a team. They fight a lot for the ball thus we expect a competitive game”, Pedro said.
Having said that, he also stated that their aim for this match is to do their best in as far as this match is concerned. “We have the best players at the moment and we will do our best in as far as this match is concerned,” Pedro said. His words were echoed by Emmanuel Hackman who is a defender. “We have a great time at the moment and we are confident that we will win”, Hackman said. In as far as the 1st leg match was concerned, the defender highlighted that they were punished by Eswatini on the mastakes that they made. Eswatini held Togo by 2-2 in Lome and they are at the bottom of the log whilst Eswatini is on the 3rd spot and both national teams have 2 points.
The Eswatini Football Association President Mr. Peter Simelane met with the members of the media on Tuesday afternoon where he updated them about the current EFA business. This gathering was held at Sigwaca House in Mbabane and it provided a perfect opportunity for the media to ask the EFA President and the General Secretary about the overall EFA business.
In his remarks, the EFA President highlighted on issues that touched on governance, infrastructure, football development programmes and national teams.
Under this item, the President assured the media that the EFA is properly governed as the is a constitution and policies in place. “The EFA have a constitution and policies that guide the governance of the organisation”, Simelane said. He also alluded that the EFA is currently developing a four-year strategic plan. As for the management of finances as most of the EFA funds come from FIFA; the President stated that the organisation applies the FIFA Forward Regulations and the Contract of Agreed Objectives. Also, the organisation is being audited twice a year. “As most of the funds comes from FIFA, the EFA applies the FIFA Forward Regulations and the Contract of Agreed Objectives. The organisation is also audited twice per year and that being the internal audit and the central review”, Simelane said. He also highlighted that the sourcing of sponsorships is a priority for the organisation when it comes to revenue generation in order to maximise the implementation of football development programmes like the execution of the U20 COSAFA Cup that was successfully hosted last year. “Sponsorships are key when it comes to revenue generation as it enhances the execution of football development programmes as you may recall that last year we had sponsors that assisted us during the execution of the U20 COSAFA Cup”, the EFA President said. “It must also be noted that yearly, the organisation hosts a General Assembly where it reports about the activities and finances to the Delegates” Simelane said.
The EFA President highlighted that the infrastructure development is very key in as far as football development is concerned. “Infrastructure development is very important when it comes to football development. The EFA have its Head Office and commercial wing in Mbabane, Technical Centre in Lobamba, Nhlangano and Mkhuzweni which is almost ready for usage”, Simelane said. The next project will be the construction of another technical centre in Manzini. The issue of grandstands is something that the EFA is considering as some of the technical centres are used for the execution of competitions due to the insufficient facilities in the country.
Football Development Programmes
Football development is the main mandate of the EFA. Most of the football development programmes were disturbed by the Covid-19 pandemic; however, they are now steadily coming back. “ Post Covid, football development programmes are back. These are the Build it U13 Football Development Programme, Pick n Pay U15 Football Development Programme, U20 Girls’ Schools Development Programme amongst others”, Simelane Said. The EFA is also funding the U19 PLE League and the Women Football League.
The EFA President stated that the national teams are active. When it comes to the selection of players for the national teams, the EFA President highlighted that the coaches choose the players autonomously. “We don’t interfere in the selection of the players for any national team, Simelane said.
The Senior Men’s National Team (Sihlangu) has commenced the preparations for the upcoming TotalEnergies AFCON Qualifier match against Togo. This match will be played at the Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit, South Africa on Sunday, 18th June 2023, and kick-off is at 1700hrs (5:00 p.m.) local time. For this full-time training camp which is implemented at the EFA’s Technical Centre in Lobamba, the head coach Dominic Kunene has called a 26-player squad. These players are:
Ncamiso Dlamini (Royal Leopard FC), Sibusiso Dlamini Nsingizini Hotspurs FC), Colani Gama (Green Mamba FC)
Lindo Mkhonta (Zesco United FC), Simanga Masangane (Royal Leopard FC), Mlamuli Msibi (Royal Leopard FC), Sihlangu Mkhwanazi (Young Buffaloes FC), Siboniso Mamba (Young Buffaloes FC), Siyabonga Silenge (Green Mamba FC), Mcolisi Manana (Green Mamba FC), Vusi Vilakati (Mbabane Highlanders FC), Lucky Gamedze (Madlenya FC)
Mwandile Mabelesa (Royal Leopard FC), Sifiso Matse (Royal Leopard FC), Neliso Dlamini (Mbabane Swallows FC), Kwakhe Tfwala (Mbabane Highklanders FC), Siboniso Ngwenya (Young Buffaloes FC), Bongwa Matsebula (Young Buffaloes FC), Mcolisi Mkhontfo (Green Mamba FC), Mpendulo Tfomo (Mbabane Highlanders FC), Philani Mkhontfo (Mbabane Highlanders FC)
Mthokozisi Gwebu (Manzini Sea Birds), Sabelo Ndzinisa (Green Mamba FC), Njabulo Magagula (Green Mamba FC), Sandile Gamedze (Young Buffaloes FC), Fanelo Mamba (Young Buffaloes FC)
Eswatini Football Association (EFA) and FIFA+, the new one-stop digital destination for football fandom, have teamed up to take Eswatini football to the world. As part of its mission to give fans engaging and innovative ways of interacting with the beautiful game, FIFA+ offers free access to live football action from every corner of the globe, which now includes matches from the Premier League of Eswatini and the Eswatini National Women Football League.
The platform, which is available on the web, as a mobile app and on select connected devices, and is now accessible in ten languages, represents a ground-breaking approach to showcasing live football from men’s, women’s and youth leagues and cups to a global audience.
The EFA Chief Executive Officer and General Secretary, Frederick Mngomezulu, has expressed a note of delight at this novel extension into the data and digital space of the marketing of the game of football in the country, more particularly the universal coverage of Eswatini’s domestic competitions, which not only augurs well with EFA’s objective to grow the game by assimilating new technological advancements but also promotes the Eswatini game globally, a first to happen, which will bring the exposure and prospective economic platform which had otherwise been missing.
Charlotte Burr, Director of Strategy & Digital for FIFA, said: “For the first time ever, our MAs can seamlessly tap into a truly global football fan base and grow a direct relationship with it on a daily basis. We are proud to work side by side with Eswatini Football Association and are excited about helping to really grow the game across Eswatini and beyond.”
Since its launch, FIFA+ has steadily expanded its reach and added exciting new content streams in order to deliver a truly multifaceted digital experience.
Completely free, the platform offers an extensive archive (including all men’s and women’s FIFA World Cup™ matches), thousands of live fixtures every year, interactive games and predictors, and a slate of original documentaries, docuseries, talk shows and shorts.
By the end of 2023, FIFA+ will be streaming over 20,000 live games per year from more than 100 MAs across all six confederations, including thousands of women’s matches. FIFA+ provides live coverage ranging from Europe’s topflight leagues to previously unserved competitions from around the world in men’s, women’s and youth football. FIFA+ can be accessed worldwide at fifaplus.com and on major app stores.
One American lawyer, Wendell Willkie once said "Education is the mother of leadership". Along those lines, the Federation of International Football Association (FIFA) is currently implementing her first-ever Technical Leadership Diploma in a Granja Comary Training Centre in Brazil which commenced on the 11th of May 2023. The participants of this football development programme were chosen on a global basis and there are 24 participants including Eswatini Football Association’s Technical Director (TD) Bhekisisa Mkhonta. This initial onsite learning period will end on the 16th May 2023 and will be followed by 3 further onsite blocks, with comprehensive distance and self-directed learning between each block. The FIFA Technical Leadership Diploma is a globally recognised qualification designed to create an industry standard and offer recognition of competence. It is a unique approach to development that encompasses the various discipline within the technical leadership role. This football development programme will help to prepare the participants for distinct challenges and opportunities presented by Technical Leaders (TLs) within the football association. It is designed to create a generation of transformational leaders who are influencers, decision-makers, and change agents. This programme offers recognition of knowledge, understanding and competence, and bring professional value to the role of being a TL.
The FIFA Technical Leadership Diploma is a level 6 accredited vocational qualification awarded by Transcend Awards, developed in partnership with FIFA and regulated by the Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation (Ofqual). The Ofqual regulation means that the qualification is recognized globally. A Technical Leader (TL) needs to be adaptable in fulfilling their management responsibility to deliver short term results, while also working strategically towards long term development. The FIFA Technical Leadership Diploma will help in preparing the participants for the distinct challenges and opportunities presented by the technical leadership role and the Member Association (MA).
One Swedish proverb says “Those who wish to sing always find a song”. Two former national team players were able to find the perfect song on Saturday after watching the football matches that were played at the Manzini Club under the banner of the Build it U13 Football Development Programme where Mphola Celtics were crowned champions.
Former Senior National Team captain, Jerry ‘Mbazo’ Gamedze and Sifiso ‘Haiso’ Dlamini acknowledged both the EFA and Build it for the perfect execution of this football development programme which has unearthed a lot of talent over the years which include players like Kwakhe Thwala who plays for Mbabane Swallows FC and the national team, and Mayibonwe Mabuza who is currently playing for Nsingizini Hotspurs FC and the U20 Men’s National Team to mention but a few.
“The Eswatini child deserves such initiatives and I acknowledge the EFA and Build it for this football development programme. In fact, development must bring life to the senior teams as it is the future for any football team. Football development is not about winning, but about development which is the future of this sport. That is why I also urge other companies to invest in such initiatives as it enhances the proper development of a child”, Gamedze said.
His words were echoed by another former national team player, Sifiso ‘Haiso’ Dlamini who also acknowledged the EFA and Build it for the implementation of this football development initiative. “We acknowledge the EFA and Build it for having this initiative as it is an excellent base for the development of future football stars. What I have also noticed is that the participants (children) are exited which is an indication that they are enjoying themselves”. Dlamini said.
The next Build it U13 Championship will be held on Saturday, 22nd April 2023 at the KaLanga Technical Centre.
“Football is not for the faint hearted,” said the Senior Men’s National Team head coach, Dominic Kunene during the post-match interview at the Mbombela Stadium. The head coach was reacting on the loss of Eswatini in the expense of Cape Verde which was a TototalEnergies AFCOIN Qualifier match. Eswatini created numerous scoring opportunities which included a penalty but failed to find the back of the net. This result has dented the chances of the national team in as far as the qualification for the TotalEnergies AFCON 2023 Final is concerned.
The head coach also lamented this loss to the tactical discipline and professionalism of the Cape Verde players which also forced him to approach this match in a defensive mode and catching them on counter attacks. “The Cape Verde players are tactically good and very professional thus the decision to delay the full-backs in going forward and catching the on counter attacks. The is no way you can play an open game against a category A national team”, Kunene said.
Sihlangu is on the third position in Group B with 2 points and is yet to play against Togo (home match) and Burkina Faso (Away match).