Gazprom and FIFA has provided a life-time experience for two (2) youth football players by being part of the Football for Friendship Programme that will be held in Mosco, Russia. This programme will commence on the 9th and end on the 14th of June 2018. The participating children are from the 211 member countries of FIFA. The major purpose of this programme which started in 2013 is to promote the key values of this programme which are friendship, equality, fairness, health, peace, devotion, victory, tradition and honour. The travelling children are Vunokuhle Dube who travel on his capacity as a player of one team that will be competing during this programme whilst Vuyolwethu is travelling on his capacity as a journalist as the is also a role for young journalist as part of this programme as it focuses on the youth. They were chosen from the U13 BuildIt Football Development Programme. These children will be accompanied by the Chairman of the Swaziland National Referees Association Chairman, Simanga Nhleko and Friday Myeni who is the Youth Football Development Officer of the NFAS. They are expected to also witness the opening ceremony of the 2018 FIFA World Cup before returning back home on the 16th June 2018.
The NFAS has acknowledged Gazprom and FIFA for the Football for Friendship Programme as it will enhance football development in the country. This was highlighted by the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the National Football association of Swaziland (NFAS) Frederick Mngomezulu in a press conference at Sigwaca House in Mbabane. “The NFAS is very acknowledges the Football for Friendship Programme as it will enhance the development of football in the country”, said Mngomezulu. The CEO also expressed that this initiative will present a perfect platform for the children in the sharing of ideas and experiences. “These children will have an opportunity to share ideas and experiences with other participants from different countries and backgrounds” the CEO said. Finally he also acknowledged the support from their parents in allowing the NFAS to use their children in this programme and also thanked other parents in general for allowing their children to participate in other football development programme.
The Head Coach of Sihlangu SeMnikati, Anthony Mdluli has named the 20 players for the COSAFA Castle Cup that is currently taking place in Limpompo. The players are as follows:
Sandanezwe Mathabela, Nhlanhla Gwebu
Banele Dlamini, Siboniso Ngwenya, Siboniso Mamba, Lindo Mkhonta,Wandile Maseko, Sanele Mkhweli.
Mandla Palma, Sihlangu Mkhwanazi, Zweli Nxumalo, Tony Tsabedze, Njabulo Ndlovu
Wondor Nhleko, Barry Stenkamp, Sifiso Mazibuko, Musa Dlamini, Xolani Sibandze, Felix Bendenhorst, Bonginkosi Dlamini.
Sihlangu SeMnikati is ready for the 2018 COSAFA Castle Cup Competition. The nation’s pride’s opening match is against the Lekuena from Lesotho on Saturday, 2nd June 2018 at the Old Peter Mokaba Stadium in Polokwane. Speaking during the media day at the Somhlolo National Stadium, the Head Coach, Anthony Mdluli assured the nation that as the technical bench, they will take a team that will do very well in the competition. “We will have a team that will possible play 3 games in the COSAFA Castle Cup competition”, he said. When focusing on the national team’s opening match against Lesotho, he highlighted that the Basotho are a good team as they a very quick when in possession of the ball. “The Basotho are a good side as they are very quick when they are in possession of the ball thus we also have to be quick in order to match them”, he said.
With the COSAFA Castle Cup already in progress in Limpompo, the sky is the limit for the national team players. The nations pride is aiming at rewriting history by being the first group to reach the COSAFA Castle Cup Finals. This is evidence as the players are sweating it out in every training session in preparations for this competition. Sihlangu goalkeeper, Nhlanhla Gwebu highlighted that the preparations are going very well as they are very much focused to this international assignment. “The preparations are going very well and the competition amongst ourselves as players of the national team is very healthy as everyone wants to be part of the travelling team”, the shot stopper said.
The 2016 COSAFA Castle Cup top goal scorer, Felix Bendenhost echoed Nhanhla Gwebu’s words as he stated that the training camp is going very well and they are ready for their opening match in the competition. “So far so good in the training camp and we are ready for the match against Lesotho”; he said. When quizzed about the focus on personal glory in as far as being the all-time top gaol scorer of the competition, he said his focus is on assisting the national team in breaking previous records in the competition and if such happens, it will be an icing on the cake. “My focus is on the team achievements rather than on personal achievements, however; if that happens it will be a good thing for me”, he said.The Sihlangu player also noted that the recently played matches in this year’s edition shows that the standard of play is improving in each participating country.
The Head Coach of Sihlangu SeMnikati, Anthony Mdluli has praised the national team players after their win away in Kenya against the Harambee Stars as the Kenyan National Team is known. The nation’s pride won this international friendly match by an odd goal. “We are pleased as technical bench and players for the positive results. Players really worked hard for the victory”. The coach also highlighted that it was not an easy match as the Kenyans are a good and very tactical side, however the nations pride was also tactically disciplined through out the game and the defence was very organized. On conclusion he noted that as a technical team, they were able to spot some areas that need some improvements. “We have been able to spot areas that need improvements and we are hopeful we will correct those areas”, he said.
The Senior National Team (Sihlangu SeMnikati) left the country on Thursday, 23rd May, 2018 for Kenya to play an international friendly match against the Harambe Stars of Kenya. This international friendly match is scheduled for Friday, 25th May 2018 in Nairobi, Kenya. This match is part of Sihlangu’s preparations for the upcoming COSAFA Castle Cup competition.
Present during the farewell function of Sihlangu was the Honourable Minister of Sports, Culture and Youth Affairs; Minister David Ngcamphalala, NFAS President; Senator Adam Mthethwa, NFAS CEO, Frederick Mngomezulu and Howard Gayle who is a Liverpool FC legend just to mention but a few.
As part of his remarks, the Honourable Minister, assured the Head Coach of the national team; Anthony Mdluli and the national team as a whole that His Majesty’s Government is fully behind Sihlangu SeMnikati. “As His Majesty’s Government, we will support the Head Coach and the national team as a whole and we would like to urge the nation to also do likewise”, the Honourable Minister said. He also pleaded with the private sector to invest in the national team as with more resources, the national team will be in a better position to get positive results.
The Pick’n Pay brand has dressed up all the primary schools that will participate in the U15 Primary Schools with soccer kits. These schools were nominated by the Pick’n Pay customers during the in-stores promotions that were held as from the 20th March- 6th May 2018. This event was held at the Sigwaca House in Mbabane.
When addressing the gathering the Honourable Minister of Sports, Culture and Youth Affairs, Minister David Ngcamphalala acknowledged Pick’n Pay for supporting football development in the country as by so doing, the future of the sport will stay good. “Thank you Pick’n Pay for your support towards football development as the future of the sport is good through companies like you”, he said. He also urged the sponsor to spread such initiatives to the rest of the country. Finally, he pleaded with the nation to support Pick’n Pay.
The Vice President of the NFAS, Dr. Comfort Shongwe also thanked the sponsor for partnering with the NFAS in developing football in the country. “As the NFAS, we thank Pick’n Pay for enhancing the development of football in the countryas this is also driving His Majesty King Mswati III’s vision 2022”, he said.
The 84 schools are scheduled to play in the preliminary round this coming Saturday, 26th May 2018 at the Ezulwini and UNISWA sports grounds respectively. All the winners on the day will be part of the main competitions which are scheduled for the 2nd and 9th June 2018.
The Senior National Team (Sihlangu SeMnikati) players took their time off the playing field and headed for The Gables in Ezulwini to register for the upcoming elections. The nation’s pride is currently in a full time training camp in preparations for the upcoming COSAFA Castle Cup competition. All the players and the technical bench was part of this significant national exercise. The national team captain, Tony Tsabedze urged the nation to participate in this important exercise in the country. “I am happy that I have registered for the upcoming election and I urge the nation to also register”, said the skipper. The national team is scheduled to leave the country for the COSAFA Castle Cup on Thursday, 31st, May 2018