He won his first full cap in the national team and he is courageous like a lion. This is Sisekelo Matsenjwa who had a good game against Angola and he was unlucky not to score. This youngster believes that Sihlangu has a potential to advance to the next and final round of the 2020 Total CHAN Qualifiers. “As we go to Angola, we have to rectify our mistakes in order for us to score goals as we missed a lot of clear- cut scoring opportunities in the first leg on home soil”, said Sisekelo “Rio” Matsenjwa. When interviewed during the national team’s preparation for the upcoming away match in Luanda, Angola; Matsenjwa highlighted during the first leg which was also his first full international cap; he wasn’t that much intimidated as he used to play international games for the junior national teams; however, the was some difference as playing for the senior national team comes with its own high expectation more especially from the fans. “During last the first leg which was my first full cap; I wasn’t that much intimidated as I used to play international matches for the junior national teams; however, playing for the senior national team has its own high expectations from the public”; Matsenjwa said.
The Minister of Sports, Culture and Youth Affairs, Hon. Harries Bulunga has congratulated all the players of Sitsebe SaMhlekazi and the U-20 women national team for making it to their respective squads. “This is indeed a huge honour and privilege as you are all aware that you have been picked ahead of other good players. Representing your country on its own is a monumental achievement and I hope that it will be a driving motivation as you compete in South Africa”, Bulunga said. He made these remarks during farewell function held at the Technical Centre in Lobamba on Monday, 29th July 2019. These teams will be playing in the COSAFA Women Championships to be held at Port Elizabeth in the Republic of South Africa from 31st July -11th August 2019.
As a word of encouragement; the Honourable Minister urged the players to work very hard during these competitions as they will be representing the country. “We, however remain fully confident that you will make the country proud. I urge you to enjoy yourselves, savour these moments of history but also remember to fight all your might on the field of play”, Bulunga said.
“Our Ministry will continue to offer its full support to you and all sport in Eswatini. In as much as our country currently faces serious economic challenges, His Majesty’s Government will continue to develop sport and work towards turning it into a fully professional industry”, he continued. Moreover he highlighted that EmaSwati will benefit through stable employment opportunities and increased sport sponsorships across the board. He then wished the delegation a successful journey to South Africa. “I wish you a safe and successful journey to South Africa. Remember that you will be representing the whole Eswatini and make sure that you behave exemplary on and off the field. We, together with the rest of the nation, will be following your progress closely and cheering you on”, he added. The Head of delegation the Eswatini Football Association’s (EFA’s) Executive Member Mr. Thulani Mavuso and it consists of two national team Managers, doctors, coaches and forty players.
Eswatini and Angola played to an odd goal draw in a match that was played at the Mavuso Sports Centre in Manzini. This was the first encounter between these countries with the second leg to be on the 3rd August 2019 at the 11 de Novembro Stadium in Luanda.
Sihlangu created numerous goal scoring chances more especially in the first half of the match but the Eswatini lads failed to put the ball in the back of the net.This resulted in this half ending in a 0-0 score-line. In the second half; Angola recovered very well after a shaky start of the first half. This barred fruits for the visitors as they were able to score the opening goal of this match through Augusto Quitbeto in the 50th minute.
The visitors almost got the crucial away win however; the perseverance of the Eswatini national team finally paid off as Menzi Sithole scored the equalizer for Eswatini in the 88th minute after an excellent cross by Fanele Mamba. The home side applied more pressure in search for a winning goal however time was no longer there thus the match ended in a 1-1 draw.
The Senior Men’s National Team Head Coach, Kostadin Papic, has shared his feelings about the preparations of the upcoming 2020 Total CHAN Qualifiers match to be played on Sunday 28th July 2019 at the Mavuso Sports Centre. The Serbian born coach is very much happy with the preparations and the attitude of the players towards playing football and is hoping for a positive result against Angola on Sunday 28th July 2019. He clearly stated that the spirit in camp is good and it is good that the players are even thinking ahead of the Angola match. “Angola is strong, as it is one of the African countries that played in the Total AFCON competition but we have to focus to the upcoming match on Sunday”, Papic said said. The coach has also highlighted that the national team is not preparing for Angola but they are preparing for future. “We will do our best and if fans come in their numbers and give us support it will be easier for us to get positive results”, Papic said.
The Sihlangu SeMnikati’s Captain, Banele Dlamini has highlighted that the spirit in camp is high from players and they are confident about the upcoming match. He made his remarks during their training at the Technical Centre in preparation for the upcoming 2020 Total CHAN Qualifier match against Angola at the Mavuso Sports Centre on Sunday 28th July 2019. “We are not going there to worship Angola but to play and respect them. We can play and we are going for a win not a draw”, Dlamini said. He clearly stated that it won’t be easy to win against Angola as they play high tempo football but they are looking for a win. He is hoping that this match they are going to play will make EmaSwati proud.
“I don’t think the departure of the other players who went to play outside the country will affect us. We can play even in their absence”, he said. He was answering a question from the media regarding the departure of Sabelo Ndzinisa, Njabulo Ndlovu, Colani Sikhondze and Mthunzi Mkhontfo as they are currently attached with football clubs in the neighboring countries. “I congratulate them for getting this opportunity and wish them good luck”, Dlamini continued. He then invited all EmaSwati to come and support their national team. “I invite all EmaSwati to come and support the national team and see what we have prepared for Angola”, he added.
“We are ready for Angola” said Lindo Mkhonta, the Sihlangu’s full back. When interviewed during the national team’s preparation for the upcoming match; Mkhonta showed confidence and appreciated the work done by the coaches as they are now prepared to play any match.
Such spirit shows that the national team is not only prepared for Angola but for the future as well. He also invited all EmaSwati to come and support them on Sunday at the Mavuso Sports Centre. “I ask Emaswati not to bully us but to come and support the national team”, he said. This 2020 Total CHAN qualifier match will kick-off at 1500 hrs (3:00 pm).
The Eswatini Football Association’s (EFA’S) CEO, Mr Frederick Mngomezulu has acknowledged the role played by OnTime Investment in supporting football in the country. OnTime Investment has bought 100 tickets to the value of E5 000.00 for the Eswatini Football Supporters Club for the upcoming Total CHAN Qualifier match between Sihlangu and Angola that will be played at the Mavuso Sports Centre on Sunday 28th July 2019. “I would like to express my thankfulness and appreciation to OnTime Investment for the generosity and kind gesture they have showed to Eswatini Football Supporters Club”, said the Chef Executive Officer of EFA Mr. Frederick Mngomezulu. He made these remarks during Press Conference held at the Eswatini Football Association’s Head Office at Sigwaca house in Mbabane on Wednesday, 24th July 2019.
He highlighted that it is not their first time for this company to give supporters such opportunity, as they helped them when Sihlangu was playing with Malawi the CHAN competition as they even branded the supporters very well; and they also supported the national team very well which is what EFA always encourages to supporters as this motivate the players. “I therefore, urge other companies to follow suite as this is a very good gesture that could be copied and followed by anyone or multiplied to even greater heights. Our intention is to have that stadium full to capacity when it comes to watching our national team”, he said. On a marketing point of view; this opportunity provides a perfect opportunity for brand awareness as companies can even brand the football fans that they buy for them the match day tickets.
Over and above, he then invited all EmaSwati to come in their numbers to support their national team. “I invite all EmaSwati to actually fill the stadium and be ready to support the national team. I am looking forward to witness a full stadium as we watch exciting football by our very own stars”, he added.
In the the past weekend, Sitsebe SaMhlekazi and the U-20 Women National Teams have played two international friendly matches against Botswana’s Senior and U20 Women National Teams respectively. All these national teams are preparing for the upcoming COSAFA Women Championships to be held at Port Elizabeth in the Republic of South Africa starting from the 31st July – 11th August 2019.
On Saturday, 20th July 2019 both the seniors and U20s international friendly matches were played at the King Sobhuza Stadium in Nhlangano in the Southern part of Eswatini. The U20 played to a barren draw whilst in the seniors; Eswatini defeated Botswana by 4-3. On Sunday, 21st July 2019 both countries played two international friendlies with one involving the senior and the other one for the U20 national teams. The senior national teams played to a goalless draw whilst in the U20s, Botswana won the match by an odd goal.
The Honourable Minister of Sports, Culture and Youth Affairs Honourable Harries Bulunga congratulated the participants of the FIFA MA Elite Coaching Course that he officially closed on Friday 19th July 2019. “I now take this moment to congratulate all 30 of you here for successfully partaking in this course which I have no doubt has sharpened your knowledge and understanding of the beautiful game”; Bulunga said. This Honourable Minister further urged the coaches to impart their knowledge on the local game.
The Vice President of the Eswatini Football Association (EFA) Mr. Peter Simelane also urged the coaches to implement the information that they learnt to their various teams. “I urge you to implement what you have gained and continue to get more information as knowledge is key”; Simelane said.
The coaches who were participants of the FIFA MA Coaching Course acknowledge the Federation of International Football Association (FIFA) and Eswatini Football Association (EFA) for empowering them. “As coaches, we would like to acknowledge FIFA and EFA for empowering us as coaches through such courses”; said Mr, Anthony Mdluli who spoke on behalf of the participants during the closing ceremony of the FIFA MA Elite Coaching Course. He also highlighted that this course will give them direction and also urged EFA to organize more international courses for them as they enhance their impart in their respective teams.