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EFA CONDEMNS THE RECENT VIOLENCE DURING FOOTBALL MATCHES

The Eswatini Football Association (EFA) has condemned the recent violence during the implementation of football matches. In a press statement sent to the media houses on Tuesday, 20th December 2022, the EFA stated that the observed emergences of scenes of violence in some of the football matches of the premier league critically threatens the game’s universally envisaged accuracy of the image, its economic viability and most assertively, the safety and security of the stakeholders and consumers of the football product.

“At the very outset, Eswatini Football Association expresses its regret on the unfortunate scene of violence observed in some selected matches and in this regard would like to express a note of empathy and sympathy with all those that have been affected in various ways during and in the aftermath”, read the statement.

Meeting

As an effort to quickly curb this unwanted emergence, a critical meeting for the relevant stakeholders in the organisation and implementation of the matches including match officiation was implemented on Tuesday afternoon. During this meeting, all the critical stakeholders were reminded of their core responsibilities, the conduct and expected performances in the execution of matches to the satisfaction of organizers, the participants, the sponsors and the fans, albeit imperfectly. “It has been agreed that all the applicable stakeholders have to do due diligence as they implement their responsibilities and that relevant structures present to assure the appropriate performance of all capacitation where possible”, read the statement.

Assurance

The EFA assures her stakeholders and the general public of her commitment to address the root cause of the observed unfortunate incidences in order to assure the confidence and reliability of the game as a unifier and core necessity in the livelihood of not only the football fraternity but the entire populace as envisaged by its international governing bodies and proponents.

Responsibility

The EFA and her member associations and associate stakeholders have the primary responsibility of preservation of the good stead, the game of football has placed itself in the centrality of the livelihood of humanity universally. In order to achieve this, there must be appropriate implementation of the matches of the game of football in a manner that upholds the universally envisage truthfulness of the image of the game, its respect, its popularity and the innumerable benefits inherent.

DARK CITY FC CROWNED THE BUILD IT PLUS U13 MBABANE CHAMPIONS

On Saturday, 10th December 2022, the Build it Plus Mbabane U13 Football Development Programme was successfully executed at the Prince of Wales. At total of eight (8) football teams participated on the day. These teams were Mbabane Swallows FC, Tiki-Taka FC, Mighty Birds FC, Lobamba Cosmos FC, Dark City FC, Golden Kings FC, Majotini United FC and Mdzimba Arsenal FC.

The matches were implemented in a round-robin format with two (2) groups in place. The top 2 teams per group qualified for the semi-finals. Group A winners was Lobamba Cosmos FC and Mbabane Swallows fished in the second position. On top of the log in Group B was Dark City FC followed by Mdzimba Arsenal FC. In the semi-finals, Mdzimba Arsenal won against Lobamba Cosmos by a solitary goal and advanced to the finals where they played against Dark City who had won against Mbabane Swallows FC by 4-0.

Then came the finals where Mdzimba Arsenal FC played against Dark City FC where the match ended in a barren draw. The match went straight to penalties where Dark City FC won by 4-2 and became the Build it Plus U13 Mbabane Champions. Mbabane Swallows FC finished in third in the overall championship after the won by 2-1.

Awards

For their effort, Dark City FC won themselves a Build it branded football kit, sports bags, soccer ball and gold medals. Mdzimba Arsenal got Build it branded string bags, soccer ball and silver medals. Mbabane Swallows FC won a soccer ball and bronze medals. The were also individual prizes where the top five (5) performing players were selected by the Eswatini Football Association’s (EFA’s) youth coaches and for their efforts they will get stationary kit for the next academic year plus soccer boots. These players are Khayalethu Ngwenya (Lobamba Cosmos FC), Sibahle Dlamini Mbabane Swallows FC), Sandziso Shongwe (Mdzimba Arsenal FC) and Akhile Kunene (Dark City FC). The player of the tournament was Akhile Kunene who also won a trophy and a pair of soccer boots for this award.

THE BUILD IT PLUS U13 MBABANE CHAMPIONSHIP OFFICIALLY LAUNCHED

Since 2006, the Build it brand has been a true friend to Eswatini football by investing towards the development of the beautiful game in the country. Yearly this football development programme has provided a perfect platform for the development of Eswatini Child. After the two-year break due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, this initiative is back once again.

On Friday, 9th December 2022, the Build it Plus Mbabane U13 Championship was officially launched at the sponsor’s premises in Mbabane. Present during this occasion was Build it Operations Manager Mr Loekie van Niekerk, EFA’s Executive Member Mr. Sicelo Nene and U23 National Team Captain and Senior National Team player Kwakhe Thwala who is a product of this football development programme to mention but a few.

When making his remarks, Mr Loekie van Niekerk highlighted about the aim of this initiative. “Investing in areas where Build it trades, the programme is aimed at uplifting Southern African youngsters and giving them a chance to develop their talent in a sport which is considered to be the passion of the people”, Mr Loekie van Niekerk.said. He also expressed the sponsor’s appreciation for the fact that this initiative is used by EFA to identify players for the U13 National Team. “The EFA have over the past few years used the Build it festival as a platform to identify their national U13 football squad. “As a brand, we are honoured to be able to present this amazing opportunity to aspiring young football players from Eswatini”,  Mr Loekie van Niekerk said.

EFA TO EXECUTE A STRATEGIC PLANNING SESSION

On Sunday, 11th December 2022 the Eswatini Football Association (EFA) will hold a Strategic Plan Development Session to be hosted at the Sibane Hotel. This event will commence at 0900hrs (9:00 a.m.).

This follows the elapsing period of the previous four-year strategic plan of the EFA. The newly developed strategic plan will be applicable for the next quadrennial (2023-2026) which will also act as the foundation for the construction of the Contract of Agreed Objectives between the EFA and FIFA for the 2023-2026 cycle and the core reason for the EFA’s existence.

                                                                                                                

EFA IMPLEMENTS THE FOOTBALL GOVERNANCE INDUCTION WORKSHOP

On Sunday, 3rd December 2022 the Eswatini Football Association (EFA) implemented the Football Governance Induction Workshop at the Happy Valley Hotel and Resort in Ezulwini. This follows the successful realization of the elective congress by the EFA’s Member Associations respectively. The EFA’s Member Associations are the Hhohho Regional Football Association, Manzini Regional Football Association, Lubombo Regional Football Association, Shiselweni Regional Football Association, Women Football Association, Premier League of Eswatini, Eswatini Coaches Association and Eswatini Referees Association.

The participants of this workshop were the Executive Committee Members of the EFA, Executive Committee Members of the respective EFA Member Associations and the General Secretaries of the EFA Member Associations and the facilitator was the General Secretary of the Eswatini Football Association Mr. Frederick Mngomezulu. This workshop gave the participants the perfect opportunity to be equipped as they are still new in their offices in as far as their terms of office are concerned. “This was a timely and informative workshop which touched very significant areas in football business. More similar workshops are needed for the empowerment of our football personnel which will enhance the development of the game in the country”, said Mr. Kenneth Makhanya who is the Chief Executive Officer of the Premier League of Eswatini.

Some of the topics that were discussed in the workshop included Football Governance, FIFA Forward Regulations, FIFA and EFA Contract of Agreed Objectives, Communication and Finance amongst others.

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.

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