Having been confirmed as the interim head coach for the Senior Men’s National Team (Sihlangu SeMnikati), Sifiso Ntibane first test wasthe Hollywoodbets COSAFA Cup 2024 opening match against Botswana (The Zebras). Sihlangu SeMnikati and Botswana played a goalless draw at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium on Wednesday afternoon.

Eswatini was unlicky not to be victorious in this match as a lot of goal scoring chances were created and one of them was prevented by the crossbar after a thunderous shot outside the box by Ayanda Gadlela hit the cross bar. The Zebras goalkeeper Victor James also played a great role for Botswana as he made crucial saves thus being named the man of the match.

Eswatini paraded a youthful squad in this match with Nkosing’phile Shongwe and Gift Gamedze getting their maiden full caps. As an overall, the national team head coach expressed his delight in as far as the performance of the players was concerned. “A win would have been better but we accept the draw. Having just assembled the team, the players expressed themselves very well. The cross bar and the Botswana goalkeeper prevented us from getting the maximum points from this match”, Ntibane said.

He also highlighted the excellent performance by the debutants as they had no choice but to adapt quickly. “The players who got their first full caps did very well as they had no choice but to adapt quickly”,Ntibane said.

The head coach was confident that all the players will be equal to the task as some had played together in junior squads. “Some of the players were international teammates in junior squads; thus, the team cohesion was more organized,” Ntibane said.