The Senior Women National Team (Sitsebe SaMhlekazi) redeemed themselves against Mozambique when they won their first match against the Mozambicans by 3-1. It was a perfect revenge for Eswatini after losing against Mozambique in an international friendly match in June. This international friendly match was played in Mozambique.
In the 3rd minute; Mozambique took the lead through Lucia Mocambique after an assist from Deolinda Gove. Eswatini dominated the first half as Sitsebe created a lot of opportunities but couldn’t put the ball in the back of the net. Both teams went for the half time break with Mozambique leading by an odd goal. In the 2nd half; Eswatini continued to apply more pressure to the Mozambicans as a result Eswatini scored the equalizer in the 52nd minute through Nomvula Sanga who out-paced the Mozambican defence from the half way mark and superbly placed the ball past the helpless Mozambican goalkeeper.
Eswatini took the lead in the 52nd minute through Tenanile Ngcamphalala after the Mozambican defence failed to clear the ball to safety. In the 57th minute; Phumzile Dlamini laid a perfect pass to Tenanile Ngcamphalala who unleashed a scorcher that was too much for the Mozambican goalkeeper as the ball went past her and it stoped at the back of the net. The scoreline was 3-1 up until the referee blew her final whistle. The player of the match was Mazwi Dube.
The Senior Men’s National team Head Coach, Kostadin Papic is very much satisfied with the style of play of Sihlangu SeMnikati however; he is also concerned about the lack of a win for the national team. “We are playing good football and creating a lot of chances to score unfortunately we are not converting most of the chances into goals which is why in most of the matches we played draws which is not characteristic to the style of football we play”; Papic said. He highlighted that in as much as people are criticising what they are doing and how they are doing it; they have the richest style and in that case they have to win the next match in Angola. He promised that in the second leg, they are going to try and win the match. “We are going to attack and surprise them”, Papic said.
The national team will leave for Angola with twenty (20) players which include both Sisekelo Matsenjwa and Allen Mabuza who won themselves their first full international caps during the first leg against Angola in the match that was played on home soil this past weekend. The big blow for Sihlangu is the unavailability of Sandile Gamedze who also missed the first leg due to an injury. “Sandile is not going to Angola after he failed a fitness test”, Papic said. Over and above this match, the coach he also highlighted that this year is going to be a busy year for the national team as from September to December they will be competing.
The Sihlangu SeMnikati’s Captain Banele Dlamini, has highlighted that players are available and ready to fight for the nation. “Players are available and ready to fight for the nation”, Dlamini said. He made his remarks during training at the Technical Centre, preparing for second leg to be played against Angola on Saturday, 3rd August 2019 at the 12 000 seater Estadio dos Coqueiro in Luanda. Kick off for this international match is 1600 hrs (Angola time) which is 1700hrs (Eswatini time).The national team captain missed the first leg encounter due to an injury is confident enough that they will be able to eliminate the Angolans on their own backyard. “We know we owe EmaSwati and we will make them proud in Angola. I urge EmaSwati to put us in their prayers as this match is very important to us as a country”, he added.
The Sihlangu skipper’s words were echoed by Fanelo Mamba who showed confidence which is a positive signal that they are ready for the match in Luanda, Angola. He highlighted that despite being under pressure to score goals away from home; they are equal to the challenge. “We are ready for the challenge. We have to be positive and deliver”, he said. Over and above, he stated that they won’t be intimidated by the 12th player in the stadium as they clearly know what they have to do in Angola in order for them to stay in the competition. “We won’t be intimidated by Angolan fans .We will focus on playing football and make sure that we deliver”, he added.
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.