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
The Senior Men’s National Team Head Coach, Anthony Mdluli has named his tentative squad in preparations for the upcoming COSAFA Castle Cup Competition in Limpompo, South Africa. Sihlangu is currently in a full time training camp at the Technical Centre in Lobamba. This list is expected to reduce to 20 players on the 30th May as the national team is scheduled to leave for Limpompo on the following day. The players in the tentative squad are as follows:
Sandanezwe Mathabela, Nhlanhla Gwebu and Phephisani Msibi
Banele Dlamini, Siboniso Ngwenya, Siboniso Mamba, Lindo Mkhonta, Phumlani Dlamini, Wandile Maseko and Sanele Mkhweli.
Mandla Palma, Menzi Simelane, Sihlangu Mkhwanazi, Zweli Nxumalo, Tony Tsabedze and Njabulo Ndlovu.
Wonder Nhleko, Phiwa Dlamini, Barry Stenkamp, Sifiso Mazibuko, Musa Dlamini, Xolani Sibandze, Felix Bendenhorst, Fganelo Order Mamba and Bonginkosi Dlamini.
The National Football Association of Swaziland (NFAS) hereby extends a special tribute and momentous gratitude to His Majesty King Mswati III together with the Royal Household for gracing the 15th edition of the Swazi Bank Cup Finals. As football association and family, we are humbled by His Majesty’s attendance. The presence of His Majesty gave this event the glamour and Royal extravagance.
Further appreciation goes to the Head of Government of the Kingdom of Eswatini, his Cabinet and Civil service, Members of both Houses of Parliament, Swazi Bank, Football family, invited guest, Fans and the Media for being part of this historic event. They are also the principal reason the whole event was a success as football was the ultimate winner. The different fan engagement initiatives and other marketing strategies that revolved around this competition were a good indication that indeed Swazi Bank is a Bank with a Heart. It is for this matter that the NFAS urges the nation to continue supporting this bank as it has already shown its everlasting commitment in uplifting the economy of the country.
Finally; the NFAS would like to congratulate all the six (6) teams that made it to the final day which was a first to have all three categories (Men, Women and U20 competitions ); and Young Buffaloes FC for their triumphs. Also, additional congratulations go to the other football teams who competed in this tournament as they added a lot of value in the competitiveness of this competition. None of such could have been actualized without the sponsor, Swazi Bank and the Swazi Bank Organizing Committee who presented a well- coordinated competition from its launch to the very end of this edition. The football family remains greatly indebted to Swazi Bank.
On another note, the NFAS would like to acknowledge Mbabane Swallows FC for getting a crucial away point against Zesco FC in Ndola, Zambia on Saturday during their opening group stages match in the TOTAL CAF Champions League match against the Zambian side. Swallows, however, still needs to put more effort in their next home matches for them to be in a position for the knockout stage of the competition. It is for this reason that the NFAS pleads with the nation especially the corporate world to support the team as it continues with their participation in the CAF Champions League, the premier cup of the confederation. The next match for Mbabane Swallows FC is scheduled for Tuesday, 15th May 2018 at the Mavuso Sports Centre and kick off is at 1500hrs (3:00 pm).