On another note; the same delegates of EFA currently attending the FIFA Congress are expected to upon conclusion of the FIFA Congress, also join with Football Officials overseeing women football in FIFA’s respective Member Associations globally, to attend the FIFA Women Football Convention, also scheduled to be hosted in Paris from the 6th to 7th June 2019. The Chairman of the Women Football Association, Mr. Sonnyboy Mabuza, by virtue of his position within the EFA, will attend this very first FIFA Women Football Convention. This convention will discuss various women football development issues. The EFA delegates are expected to return on the 9th June 2019.
On his capacity as being the Honouree Vice President of the Council of South African Football Association (COSAFA); the Eswatini Football Association’s (EFA’s) President Mr. Adam Mthethwa took his valuable time and met the Senior Men’s National Team (Sihlangu) at the Garden Court Marine Parade in Durban yesterday after lunch. Sihlangu is currently in Durban competing in the COSAFA Senior Challenge and the national team’s fate in this year’s edition depends on the outcome of today’s group A final match between Mauritius and Comoros.
“So far you have played two games in the 2019 COSAFA Senior Challenge which both of them ended with a draw; but the Eswatini nation is still fully behind you”; Mthethwa said. The EFA President also urged the national team to soldier on and not lose hope as they are not yet out in the tournament and if that’s the case; there are still other competitions that they can use to redeem themselves. Finally he wished the national team the very best of luck in the future.
The Senior Men’s National Team Head Coach, Kostadin Papic is pleased with the performance of his players thus far, which is why he still believes in them. “I am pleased with my players and I believe in them”; said the Serbian born coach. Papic highlighted that the players are improving in their play and they did very well in the two matches that they have played in the on-going COSAFA Senior Challenge.
His words were echoed by some Sihlangu fans through the Eswatini Football Association’s facebook page where some of them expressed a lot of delight towards the performance of the national team. Having said that; both the Head Coach and the fans did show their concerns on the defensive errors made by the national team in recent matches. In this year’s COSAFA Senior Challenge Sihlangu has scored 2 goals and also considered the same number of goals. “We are able to score goals which is good; but what is strange is that we also concede goals cheaply for that matter”; Papic said. The conceded goals have put the national team’s future in the 2019 COSAFA Senior Challenge in a limbo as Sihlangu’s progress in the competition relies much on the results of today’s match between Mauritius and Comoros.
The casualties in Sihlangu camp that is currently in Durban competing in the 2019 COSAFA Senior Challenge has increased to 3 players. Siboniso Mamba missed the 2nd and final Group A match for the national team due to a knee injury that he sustained against Mauritius in the opening match. Njabulo Ndlovu and Sibusiso Mamba are the 2 additional players to join the list of injured players in the camp.
These latest players got minor knocks on their ankles respectively as a result; they were rested on today’s one and only training session this morning at the People’s Park in Durban. According to the national team’s doctor Melusi Lukhele all these injured players got minor knocks that will be monitored and they should be fine soon. “All the injured players got minor knocks with Njabulo and Siboniso’s knees needing some attention”; Lukhele said.
The chances of Sihlangu advancing to the semi-finals now hang in the balance as the final group A match will decide the fate of Eswatini in the tournament. This was after Eswatini and Comoros played to a 2-2 draw with Sihlangu playing their final group stage match and Comoros playing their opening match in the tournament. Sihlangu displayed good inter-change of passes during the match but continued to be shy in front of goal; whilst at the same time, the defence was found wanting in some instances.
As erly as the 3rd minutes, Eswatini missed the first chance of the match with Sandile Ndzinisa’s head failing the find the back of the net. In the 14th minute; it was the same case with the man of the match Felix Badenhorst whose header missed the target from a Lindo Mkhonta’s cross. In the 24th minute, Sabelo Ndzinisa redeemed himself from the early miss as he converted a Lindo Mkhonta’s cross. In the 35th minute, Eswatini missed another scoring opportunity when Njabulo Ndlovu missed a sitter in the box after an immaculate interchange of passes by Sihlangu.
Lindo Mkhonta made a suicidal error on the right flank when he tried to play a back pass that was not meant to be as it was intercepted only for Sandanezwe Mthabela at goal to be well beaten by Mradabi Chadhuli. The half time score was 1-1.
In the 2nd half; Felix Badenhorst scored his second goal of the 2019 COSAFA Senior Challenge which makes him the all-time joint goal scorer of the competition alongside the Zimbabweni born legend Peter Ndlovu. Both players have 8 goals apiece. Comoros equalized in the 56th minute through Youssouf Ibroihim. Eswatini applied more pressure in search of a winner and they came very close to that only for a Felix Badenhorst low shot to hit the post. The referees blew the final whistle with the final score at 2-2 which made Eswatini to have 2 points after 2 matches. The winners of this group will be decided after the final match of the group between Mauritius and Comoros. The winner of this match will be guaranteed a fixture against Zimbabwe in the quarter- finals.
It is a do or dies match for the nation’s pride as they will play against Comoros in their final group stage match. The only positive result that the national team needs to have any chance to proceeds to the quarter finals is a win. Scoring more goals as possible is also very important to be precise.
“We will play three strikers just like the first in the first match as we want to win this match”; said Sihlangu Head Coach, Kostadin Papic. This will be the first match for the Comoros national team in the competition.
Sandile “Sikhali” Ndzinisa also echoed the head coach’s words as they are also aware as to how important this match is to them as players and the nation as well. “In the dfirst match we created a lot of scoring opportunities and missed a majority of them; of which in this match, it is a must that we convert the scoring opportunities created”, Ndzinisa said.
This match will kick off at 1700 hrs and it will be played at the King Zwelithini Stadium.
The Senior Men’s national team (Sihlangu) managed a single point against Mauritius in the opening match of the 2019 COSAFA Senior Challenge. This was after they played to an odd goal draw in a match that was played at the King Zwelithini Stadium.
Sihlangu created a lot of chances in this match however the national team was shy in front of goal. The national team had to come from behind twice in this match. Ashly Nazira who was the man of the match was a thorn to the Eswatini Side and that was proved by the brace that he scored for the Mauritius National Team. Eswatini scored her goals through Siboniso Ngwenya after a 1-1 cross from Lindo Mkhonto. The second goal was scored by Felix Badenhorst who scored Eswatini’s goal with his head.
This result men- both national teams have a single point with each team to play against Comoros on Monday and Wednesday respectively. Eswatini will play against Comoros on Monday whilst Mauritius will play against the same opposition on Wednesday.
“They look sharp and the morale is good”; said Sihlangu Head Coach, Kostadin Papic. Indeed they are as his words were echoed by the national team players on the eve of the 2019 COSAFA Senior Challenge opening match against Mauritius at the King Zwelithini Stadium. “We have good coaches and we are better prepared. We must get 3 points”; said Felix Badernhorst who was the top goalscorer of the 2016 edition of this tournament.
The 2018/19 MTN Premier League top goalscorer, Musa Dlamini promised the Eswatini nation goals when given the opportunity. “We promise a win and if given a chance, I will do what I did during the MTN premier League; and that is to score goals”; Dlamini said.
For the past two editions Sihlangu has not performed very well in the competition and the players are hungry for success. With the experience Head Coach leading the national team and with the confidence that the players have; it seems like the Mauritius will experience fireworks in this match come Saturday afternoon.
The Senior Men’s National Team Head Coach Kostadic Papic has named 28 players for the training camp in preparations of the 2019 COSAFA Castle Cup to be played in Durban, South Africa. This training camp will commence on Sunday, 19th May 2019 at the Technical Centre in Lobamba. The players are as follows:
Vilakati Vusi (Mbabane Highlanders FC), Machado Jose (Manzini Wanderers FC), Ndlovu Njabulo (Mbabane Swallows FC), Ndaba Ndumiso (Mbabane Swallows FC), Ndzinisa Sabelo (Mbabane Swallows FC), Mathabela Sandanezwe (Mbabane Swallows FC), Dlamini Banele (Green Mamba FC), Mamba Siboniso (Young Buffaloes FC), Mkhonto Lindo (Green Mamba FC), Dlamini Melusi (Royal Leopard FC), Magagula Junior Andy (Royal Leopard FC), Shabalala Khanyakwezwe (Mbabane Highlanders FC), Shabangu Wandile (Young Buffaloes FC), Matsenjwa Sisekelo Rio (Young Buffaloes FC), Ngwenya Siboniso (Young Buffaloes FC), Dlamini Machawe(Royal Leopard FC), Gamedze Sandile (Young Buffaloes FC), Matse Sifiso (Royal Leopards FC), Mamba Fanelo (Young Buffaloes FC), Mkhonto Mxolisi (Green Mamba FC), Dlamini Musa (Green Mamba FC), Msibi Phephisani (Royal Leopard FC), Figareido Justice (Maritzburg United FC), Sikhondze Banele (Polokwane City FC), Badernhost Felix (Mbombela United FC), Dlamini Phinda (Green Mamba FC), Dlamini Sibonginkhosi (Royal Leopard FC).
As per their promise; the Kostadin Papic led Sihlangu has made the nation proud after playing to an odd goal draw against Malawi in Blantyre at the Kamuzu Banda Stadium. This score line guarantees Eswatini a fixture against Angola in an encounter that is set for July.
The goal for the local side came from a thunderous boot of Sandile Gamedze whose shot beat Malawian shot Hopper to give jubilation and hope to the Eswatini side. The Malawian’s applied more pressure to Eswatini and on the 61st minutes they were able to find the back of the net through Mhone. AS the Malawians continued to search for the second, the Eswatini national team stood their ground more especially in defence.
As a real tactician, Kostadin Papic brought in Ndumiso Ndaba who is a defender for an offensive Sabelo Ndzinisa to enhance the defence of Sihlangu. Towards the end of the match, Malawi was pressing a lot on Eswatini however Papic’s troops stood the ground as they were able to protect the away goal advantage up until the last minute of the game. The final whistle at the 96th minute of the match was good music for the Eswatini lads and the technical bench.