“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.
The Senior Men’s National Team (Sihlangu) has left the country for Malawi to play the second leg of the TOTAL CHAN qualifier match against the Flames. The local national team needs a minimum of a score draw to advance to the next round of the competition and a play against Angola in July.
In his remarks; the Minister of Sports, Culture and Youth Affairs, Honourable Minister Harris Bulunga stated that when considering the latest performance of the national team and more especially the first leg between this two nations; Sihlangu is capable enough to win in Malawi, “There is a lot of positives in the national team of late and during the first leg that was played in Mavuso, you played very well of which you are capable of winning in Malawi and advance to the next round”, Bulunga said. The Honourable Minister also highlighted to the players that it is very important to take your chances so that you can win the match, as he observed that during the first leg ; a lot of chances were created but the ball didn’t find the back of the net. Finally he congratulated the travelling players and gave them a challenge to make history for the country and themselves by qualifying to the next round. “I challenge you to make history for yourselves and the country by being the first players to qualify to the second round of the quaifiers for this ccompetition”; Bulunga said.
The Senior Men’s Team has promised a win away from home in Malawi. Sihlangu will face the Flames in Blantyre on Saturday 11th May 2019 at Kamuzu Banda Stadium in Blantyre and the Kick-off is at 1430hrs (2:30 pm), “We promise the nation that we will do our level best to win the match”, said Banele Dlamini the skipper of the national team. The towering defender also assured the nation that as players of Sihlangu they want to represent the country very well and make the country to be well represented in the world of football. His words were echoed by the national team Head Coach; Kostadin Papic who said that they are going to Malawi to perform and make the country proud and happy. “We will try our level best to perform very well and make the country proud”, said the Serbian born coach. He also highlighted that even though it won’t be an easy game, but they are prepared to fight for the country in the field of play.
The Eswatini Football Association (EFA) through the football association’s President , Mr Adam Mthethwa is hopeful that the Senior Men’s National Team (Sihlangu) will perform well in Malawi, “As EFA we are hopeful that the national team will perform well in Blantyre, Malawi”, Mthethwa said. The President stated that even though it won’t be an easy match for the lads but as an association they have confidence that the team will score in Malawi which will also increase the chances of advancing to the next round of the competition. A minimum of a score draw will guarantee the national team an encounter against Angola in the next round in July.
The Eswatini Football Association (EFA) has extended a special tribute and momentous gratitude to His Majesty The King Mswati III together with the Royal Household for gracing the fifteenth (15th) edition of the Eswatini Bank Cup Finals, which decorated the winners of the 2019 Eswatini Bank Cup Competition. “As football association and family, we are always greatly humbled by His Majesty’s attendance”; said part of the statement sent to the media.
The presence of His Majesty The King Mswati III gave this event the glamour and Royal Extravagance. Even though the game of football has the potential of unifying people; the presence of His Majesty The King Mswati III endorsed the unifying factor of the nation and this added majestic value and ensured the success of this event; read part of the statement from EFA.
“Further appreciation goes to the Head of Government of the Kingdom of Eswatini, his Cabinet and Civil Service, Members of both Houses of Parliament, Chiefs, the Sponsor-Eswatini Bank, the Football Family, invited guests and the media for being part of this historic event. They are also a principle reason the whole event was a success”; the statement read. Indeed “Solo Inje” as this tournament’s slogan goes assured to keep to the standards as it was well executed and football was being played in a good spirit which perfectly endorsed the bank’s slogan of being “ A bank with a Heart”; the statement continued.
Finally the EFA congratulated the Winning Clubs; Young Buffaloes FC for the Grand Prize, Tambuti FC for the U20 championship, and Manzini Wanderers Ladies Team for being champions in the Women’s competition. None of such a success could have been actualized without the sponsors, Eswatini Bank and the Management Committee of this tournament who presented a well coordinated programme from its inception to the very end of the edition. The football family remains greatly indebted to Eswatini Bank, the statement concluded.
Sihlangu Head Coach has named a 27 men squad for the training camp that will start on Sunday, 5th May 2019. The national team will be preparing for the 2nd leg match against Malawi in the 2020 Total CHAN Qualifiers. The players are as follows:
Msibi Phephisani (Royal Leopards FC), Shabalala Khanyakwezwe (Mbabane Highlanders FC), Mathabela Sandanezwe (Mbabane Swallows FC), Machado Jose (Manzini Wanderers FC), Mkhonta Lindo (Young Buffaloes FC), Dlamini Melusi (Royal Leopards FC), Vilakati Vusi (Mbabane Highlanders FC), Dlamini Machawe (Royal Leopards FC), Mamba Siboniso (Young Buffaloes FC), Dlamini Banele (Green Mamba FC), Ndaba Ndumiso (Mbabane Swallows FC), Ngwenya Siboniso (Young Buffaloes FC), Mkhonto Mxolisi (Green Mamba FC), Nhleko Wandile ( Manzini Sea FC), Tsabedze Muzi (Manzini sea Birsd FC), Matsenjwa Lindani (Young Buffaloes FC), Ndlovu Njabulo (Mbabane Swallows FC), Sithole Menzi (Mbabane Highlanders FC),Shabangu Wandile (Young Buffaloes FC), Manyisa Leon (Vovovo FC), Mamba Fanelo (Young Buffaloes FC), Dlamini Sibonginkosi (Manzini Sundowns FC), Gamedze Sandile (Young Buffaloes FC), Dlamini Phinda (Green Mamba FC),Ndzinisa Sabelo (Mbabane Swallows FC), Mkhontfo Mthunzi (Green Mamba FC), Junior Magagula (Royal Leopards FC).
The Senior Men’s National Team’s (Sihlangu) Head Coach, Kostadin Papic has praised his players for their effort after the goalless draw against The Flames of Malawi in the 2020 Chan Qualifier match that was played at the Mavuso Sports Centre in Manzini. This result gave the football fans who attended the match, some hope that the national team can improve this performance and knock –out Malawi in the competition with the second leg to be played on the 11th May 2019.
“This is a better performance for the players when you compare with the previous match of which it is an indication that there is light at the end of the tunnel”; said the Serbian born coach. The national team created a lot of scoring opportunities during this match and were in some cases detecting terms in the more especial in the midfield with some immaculate football artistry from the experienced Njabulo Ndlovu.
According to the head coach, the players were good in the office however they have to work on their confidence that adversely affected their football on the day. “I am a coach who likes to win and this didn’t happen today; however that doesn’t mean the players were not good as they created a lot of scoring opportunities. What I have noticed is that they are lacking in confidence which adversely affected their football”; Papic said.
Sihlangu still have a chance of progressing to the next round of the competition as they need a minimum of a draw with goals which can make the national team to play against Angola in a date to be confirmed by the Confederation of the African Football (CAF).
The U13, U15, U17 and U20 Men’s National Team left the country by road for Durban in Republic of South Africa. These national teams will participate in a tournament that is organised by the Durban Central Football Association, which is a yearly event that is hosted by both associations in a rotational basis as it was hosted by the Eswatini Football Association in 2018.
The delegation included 72 players and 26 officials; of which amongst them are 2 Executive Committee Members who are Mr. Johannes Siboza and Mr. Sikhumbuzo Dlamini. These Executive Members are the Heads of delegations for these national teams.
When addressing them; the Eswatini Football Association President, Mr. Adam Mthethwa highlighted to the lads that they must take this opportunity with both hands as this may be the beginning of bigger things in their lives. “In life you begin somewhere of which such opportunities need to be grabbed with both hands as it may be the start of bigger things in your lives”; Mthethwa said. He also reminded them to be in good conduct as they will be representing the Eswatini nation at large. This delegation is expected back home on Easter Monday as the football games will commence on Good Friday and end on Sunday.