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.
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.
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.
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:
Sandanezwe Mathabela (Mbabane Swallows FC), Khanyakwezwe Shabalala (Mbabane Highlanders FC)
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)
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)
Sandile Gamedze (Young Buffaloes FC), Fanelo Mamba (Young Buffaloes FC), Sabelo Ndzinisa (Mbabane Highlanders FC), Philani Mkhontfo (Mbabane Highlanders FC)
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.
It was a heart-breaking loss for Eswatini as Sihlangu lost the Hollywoodbets COSAFA Cup 2022 quarter final match against Senegal at the King Zwelithini Stadium at Umlazi in Durban. Eswatini created a lot of scoring chances for the entire 90 minutes of the game and only converted one after Senegal had taken the lead from a cross-cum-shot in the 8th minute that was tricky for Sandanezwe Mathabela in Eswatini goal. The half time score was 1-0.
In the 2nd half, Eswatini continued to create more chances in search of an equalizer but it seems Eswatini players forgot their scoring boots. It only took Eswatini 60 minutes to find the back of the net after Sandile Gamedze’s pass found the mobile Philani Mkhontfo who placed a low shot pass the advancing Aliou Faty in Senegal’s goal much to the relieve of the Eswatini camp. This goal was also followed by other goal scoring opportunities for Eswatini with man of the match Sandile Gamedze and Sabelo Ndzinisa being among the culprits. Sandanezwe Mathabela made up for his earlier that resulted in Senegal taking the lead by making a heroic save which was a one-on-one situation that forced the encounter to dramatic penalty shoot-outs.
All the Senegalese penalty takers converted them with Eswatini missing one sudden death penalty that guaranteed Senegal a place in the semi-finals against Zambia. Eswatini’s Mzwandile Mabelesa was the only player that missed a penalty as he ballooned his shot over the cross bar. The scorers of the Eswatini penalties were; Lindo Mkhonta, Leon Manyisa, Sabelo Ndzinisa, Junior Magagula, Peter Dlamini, Sihlangu Mkhwanazi, Philani Mkhontfo, Sandanezwe Mathabela and Sikhumbuzo Magagula. Eswatini will now play against Botswana on Friday in the plate competition of the Hollywoodbets COSAFA Cup 2022 at the Sugar Ray Xulu Stadium at 1500hrs.
Eswatini is through to the quarter-finals of the Hollywoodbets COSAFA Cup 2022 that is currently executed in Durban, South Africa. Lesotho needed a minimum of a draw to qualify to the knock-out stage of this competition. The Basotho applied a defensive approach for this fixture with the hope of salvaging the much-needed point.
It wasn’s the case as Eswatini came to them fire- blazing and the pressure was too much for the Basotho as Sandile Gamedze opened his account in this year’s edition in the 10th minute. This was after the Basotho goal keeper Sekhoane Mceerane failed to deal with a long throw by Fanelo Mamba that provided an excellent opportunity for Sandile Gamedze to tap in the ball in the Basotho net Eswatini continued to search for a second goal and Sabelo Ndzinisa was able to score it in the 18th minute which was his 8th goal of the competition. The half time score was 2-0 in favour of Eswatini.
Lesotho came with a new tactic in the second half as they were more offensive as two goals were needed for them in order to be able to gain the advantage of a possibility of qualifying. Eswatini was able to absorb the pressure till the end of the match. The Basotho finished the match with 10 men after Koparo Tseka was given his marching orders by the referee after getting a second yellow card. This was after he fouled Eswatini marks-man Sabelo Ndzinisa on 2 occasion which gave the referee no option but the give him a red card. The referee blew his final whistle with no goal scored in the second half which made the final score to be 2-0 in favour of Eswatini who will now play against Senegal on Wednesday at the King Zwelithini Stadium at 1400hrs.
The never say die spirit by Eswatini paid off when the Senior Men National Team score a late equalizer against Malawi who had already counted a win in as far as this match was concerned. Malawi took the lead in the 46th minute through Khunda Myaba. It looked like Eswatini was about to pay the price for the missed chances in the first half as Sabelo Ndzinisa and Philani Mkhontfo let go two goal scoring opportunities that would have guaranteed Eswatini the lead in the first half.
Eswatini made three changes in the second half in search of the equalizer. First, Neliswa Dlamini was substituted for Bongwa Matsebula; and later a double substitution was implemented when Fanelo Mamba and Sifiso Matse were substituted for Khethokuhle Mkhontfo and Leon Manyisa. The pressure by Eswatini paid-off at stoppage time when Eswatini equalized through a penalty kick that was scored by Sabelo Ndzinisa which resulted in the match ending by 1-1. This result made Eswatini to have 4 points whilst Malawi is having a single point and out of the competition. Eswatini’s next match is on Sunday against Lesotho in a must win match in order to guarantee a place in the quarter finals against Senegal.
The Senior Men National Team head coach has congratulated Sihlangu players for the victory over Mauritius in the opening Group B Match of the Hollywoodbet COSAFA Cup 2022 played at the King Zwelithini Stadium in Durban. This was after Eswatini won this match by 3-0 in a match where Eswatini dominated.
It took Eswatini only nine minutes to break the deadlock via the boot of the national team captain, Lindo Mkhonta after a head ball by a Mauritian defender. Fanelo Mamba doubled the advantage for Eswatini after unleashing a powerful shot in the 78th minute. Eswatini’s prolific striker, Sabelo Ndzinisa sealed the match for Eswatini in the 86th minute which guaranteed Eswatini maximum points.
“I congratulate the players as it was a difficult match but they were able to manage the pressure from Mauritius”, said Dominic Kunene the Head Coach of Eswatini. The 2nd match for Eswatini will be against Malawi on Friday at the King Zwelithini Stadium and kick-off is at 1700 hrs.
One Chinese philosopher Confucius once said “A man who does not plan long ahead will find trouble at his door”. It seems like the Senior Men National Head Coach, Dominic Kunene had applied this philosophy as he stated that the is a plan for the Hollywoodbets COSAFA Cup 2022 match against Mauritius which will be the opening Group B match of the competition to be played on Wednesday, 6th July 2022 at the King Zwelithini Stadium.
“Our preparations went well and we have a plan for Mauritius”, Kunene said. The head coach also highlighted that all the players that made the trip to Durban are fully fit and looking forward to the match. "All the players are available for selection", Kunene said. The match will kick-off at 1400hrs.