The Eswatini Men National Team (Sihlangu) is very much cautious ahead of the semi-final match against Senegal to be played on Friday, 15th July 2021 at the Nelson Mandela Bay in Gqeberha and kick-off is at 1400hrs (2:00 p.m.). This is an important match in the history of the national team as a win will guarantee Sihlangu a place in the final for the first time in this competition. Sihlangu Head Coach, Dominic Kunene has given this fixture the special attention that it deserves as he views it to be a difficult one. “This will be a difficult match and we will plan for it accordingly as the technical team of the national team”, Kunene said.
Sihlangu skipper, Lindo Mkhonta highlighted that they will take each match as this come and the players are positive about booking a place in the finals. “We will take each match as it comes and the lads are positive about booking a place in the finals”, Mkhonta said. His words were echoed by Sihlangu’s marksman, Sabelo ‘Sikhali”Ndzinisa who believe that the national team has a chance of qualifying for the final of this competition. “We have a chance of winning the match against Senegal”, Ndzinisa said.
They came to this competition as underdogs, but the Senior Men National Team (Sihlangu) has rose to the occasion by qualifying to the semi-finals of the COSAFA Cup 2021 that is taking place in Gqeberha in the Eastern Cape province, South Africa. Eswatini finished on the second position in group A with 7 points behind the host nation who has 10 points.
It was the 19th minute goal by Sihlangu’s marksman Sabelo ‘Sikhali’Ndzinisa that guaranteed Eswatini a place in the semi-finals of this competition. The Eswatini goal scorer was also the man of the match of this highly intensive match as the Zebras of Botswana were fighting for a win in order to book a place in the semi-finals however, the game ended in a 1 all draw after Thatayaone Kgamanyane equalized in the 65th minute. The Dominic Kunene led Sihlangu will play against Senegal on Friday for a place in the final to be played on Sunday.
American golfer Tiger Woods once said “Winning solves everything”. This are the exact words that are in the minds of the Eswatini Senior Men National Team (Sihlangu) players ahead of their final group A match against Botswana Senior Men National Team (Zebras) to be played on Wednesday, 14th July 2021 (tomorrow) in the COSAFA Cup 2021 that is currently held at Gqeberha in the Eastern Cape Province, Republic of South Africa. Kick-off is at 1500hrs (3:00 p.m.). It is a must win match for the Zebras to guarantee their qualification to the semi-finals whilst a draw for Sihlangu is enough to achieve the same.
The Eswatini lads are aiming high in as far as this fixture is concerned. “We want to win this matchas it is very important for us to qualify to the semi-finals of this competition”, said Sihlangu captain Lindo Mkhonta. The skipper also acknowledged the prayers and support that they get from EmaSwati back home. “We acknowledge the prayers and support that we get from EmaSwati back home”, said Mkhonta.
“We will miss both players”, lamented Dominic Kunene the Eswatini Senior Men National Team (Sihlangu) Head Coach as both Fanelo ‘Order’Mamba and Mzwandile Mabelesa will be out of the next match against Botswana due to the yellow card rule of the COSAFA CUP 2021 competition. Eswatini will play against Botswana in a must win match to guarantee a semi-final slot in this competition that is taking place in Gqeberha in the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa.
However, thenational team Head Coach is confident enough that he have quality players in his squad that can win the match against the Zebras as the Botswana Senior Men National Team is affectionately known. “We have quality players who will have an opportunity to win the match”, Kunene said. On a positive note, Felix Badenhorst who have 39 caps and the current all-time goal scorer of the COSAFA Cup will be available for selection after serving his suspension during the victorious match for Sihlangu against Zambia. “The players who did a wonderful job against Zambia are also competitive of which Felix has to work very hard in training to reclaim his position in the starting line-up”, Kunene said.
The senior Men National Team (Sihlangu) winger Fanelo ‘Order’ Mamba is issuing orders to the opponents in the COSAFA Cup 2021 that is currently held in Gqeberha in South Africa. The pint size Eswatini international is terrorising defenders in the competition thus winning the man of the match awards for the matches against Lesotho and Zambia respectively. He is not shy to take on opponents and creating scoring opportunities and assisting in defence.
The former U20 international has scored one goal in the competition. “These awards mean a lot to me and I must give credit to the technical team, my teammates and the support from the fans back home for these achievements. The business is not yet finished, as we have to work extra hard as a team in order to achieve the desired results. As an individual, these awards have also come with some pressure as they have increased the level of expectation from a lot of people for me to deliver in every game that I will play in the competition.” Mamba said.
They are coming thick and fast. After Sihlangu’s victorious result against Lesotho, it’s matchday yet again this afternoon at the Wolfson Stadium against South Africa who is the host of the COSAFA Cup 2021 in Port Elizabeth. Sihlangu and Bafana Bafana will be looking for their second win in the competition after Eswatini won against Lesotho by 3-1 whilst South Africa won against Botswana by 1-0. A win will guarantee one national team the summit position in Group A of the competition.
“The players are fine and looking forward to the match against South Africa”, said Sihlangu Head Coach Dominic Kunene. His words were echoed by Sihlangu striker, Sabelo Ndzinisa stated that they are geared up for this match even though it is a tough fixture. “It will be a tough match however we will manage them”, Ndzinisa said. Kick off for this match is at 1500 hrs and it will be broadcasted live on COSAFA TV and SuperSport PSL Channel.
Sihlangu Vice Captain, Felix Badenhorst is now the current all-time goal scorer of the COSAFA Cup after scoring his 9th goal in this competition in a 3-1 win for Eswatini against Lesotho at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium with the other goals being scored by Khethokuhle Mkhontfo and Fanelo Mamba.During the 2019 edition, he equalled the former Zimbabwean international Peter Ndlovu and ex Mozambican international Emmanuel ‘Tico-Tico”Bucuane who have 8 goals each.
“I would like to thank God Almighty for giving me the talent and strength of playing for my country and I am very much exited for my achievements”, said Badenhorst.The lanky midfielder also expressed his excitement in breaking the record that was held by legends of Peter Ndlovu and Emmanuel ‘Tico-Tico Bucuane’s calibre. “I grew up watching Peter Ndlovu and Tico-Tico not knowing that one day I will be counted amongst them as COSAFA legends and I am over the moon in breaking such a record that was set by great players”, Badenhorst said.
After travelling for 16 hours by bus from Eswatini to Port Elizabeth, Sihlangu players flexed their muscles for the first time today at the Old Lady Sports Centre in Port Elizabeth. The players looked focus and sharp ahead of the competition. For them it is clear; they are in Port Elizabeth for international duty.
“It was a long trip from Eswatini by bus however; before match day we would have fully recovered and focused to the competition. Our aim is to play the final match of the competition”, said Lindo Mkhonta who is the captain of the national team.
His words were echoed by Sihlangu and TS Galaxy striker Justice Figareido who minced no words about their business during this competition. “I have fully recovered and 100% fit. I am looking forward to this competition. We want this cup thus our aim is to qualify for the knock out stages and ultimately be one of the finalist who claim the championship”, said Figareido. Sihlangu will play the opening match against Lesotho on Tuesday before playing against South Africa and Botswana respectively.
The Eswatini Football Association (EFA) has a new President after the successful implementation of elections during the organisation’s Ordinary General Assembly that were held on Sunday, 28th June 2021 at the Happy Valley Hotel in Ezulwini. This was after Mr. Peter Simelane got the majority of the votes (33) out the 48 votes that were casted by the EFA delegates for the presidency. He is not new in the EFA’s Executive Committee of the EFA having been both the Vice President and Executive Member in previous terms.
Another Executive Member of the EFA who is making his return to the Executive Committee is Mr. Mashumi Shongwe who was voted to be one of the Vice Presidents of the EFA which is the same position he once occupied in the Executive Committee of the organisation. Former Premier League of Eswatini’s (PLE’s) Executive Member, Mr Steve Horton is the other Vice President that was voted for by the Delegates. The elected Executive Committee Members were Mr. Sicelo Nene who was the General Secretary of the Lubombo Regional Football Association and Mr. Sipho Kunene who was the Chairman of the Eswatini Referees Association. These elections were implemented under strict COVID-19 Regulations and the only observers were the CAF’s Executive Committee Member and Botswana Football Association’s President, Mr. Maclean Cortez Letchiwit and Eswatini Government officials with the former focusing on the application of the COVID-19 protocols.