“We will miss both players”, lamented Dominic Kunene the Eswatini Senior Men National Team (Sihlangu) Head Coach as both Fanelo ‘Order’Mamba and Mzwandile Mabelesa will be out of the next match against Botswana due to the yellow card rule of the COSAFA CUP 2021 competition. Eswatini will play against Botswana in a must win match to guarantee a semi-final slot in this competition that is taking place in Gqeberha in the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa.
However, thenational team Head Coach is confident enough that he have quality players in his squad that can win the match against the Zebras as the Botswana Senior Men National Team is affectionately known. “We have quality players who will have an opportunity to win the match”, Kunene said. On a positive note, Felix Badenhorst who have 39 caps and the current all-time goal scorer of the COSAFA Cup will be available for selection after serving his suspension during the victorious match for Sihlangu against Zambia. “The players who did a wonderful job against Zambia are also competitive of which Felix has to work very hard in training to reclaim his position in the starting line-up”, Kunene said.
The senior Men National Team (Sihlangu) winger Fanelo ‘Order’ Mamba is issuing orders to the opponents in the COSAFA Cup 2021 that is currently held in Gqeberha in South Africa. The pint size Eswatini international is terrorising defenders in the competition thus winning the man of the match awards for the matches against Lesotho and Zambia respectively. He is not shy to take on opponents and creating scoring opportunities and assisting in defence.
The former U20 international has scored one goal in the competition. “These awards mean a lot to me and I must give credit to the technical team, my teammates and the support from the fans back home for these achievements. The business is not yet finished, as we have to work extra hard as a team in order to achieve the desired results. As an individual, these awards have also come with some pressure as they have increased the level of expectation from a lot of people for me to deliver in every game that I will play in the competition.” Mamba said.
They are coming thick and fast. After Sihlangu’s victorious result against Lesotho, it’s matchday yet again this afternoon at the Wolfson Stadium against South Africa who is the host of the COSAFA Cup 2021 in Port Elizabeth. Sihlangu and Bafana Bafana will be looking for their second win in the competition after Eswatini won against Lesotho by 3-1 whilst South Africa won against Botswana by 1-0. A win will guarantee one national team the summit position in Group A of the competition.
“The players are fine and looking forward to the match against South Africa”, said Sihlangu Head Coach Dominic Kunene. His words were echoed by Sihlangu striker, Sabelo Ndzinisa stated that they are geared up for this match even though it is a tough fixture. “It will be a tough match however we will manage them”, Ndzinisa said. Kick off for this match is at 1500 hrs and it will be broadcasted live on COSAFA TV and SuperSport PSL Channel.
Sihlangu Vice Captain, Felix Badenhorst is now the current all-time goal scorer of the COSAFA Cup after scoring his 9th goal in this competition in a 3-1 win for Eswatini against Lesotho at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium with the other goals being scored by Khethokuhle Mkhontfo and Fanelo Mamba.During the 2019 edition, he equalled the former Zimbabwean international Peter Ndlovu and ex Mozambican international Emmanuel ‘Tico-Tico”Bucuane who have 8 goals each.
“I would like to thank God Almighty for giving me the talent and strength of playing for my country and I am very much exited for my achievements”, said Badenhorst.The lanky midfielder also expressed his excitement in breaking the record that was held by legends of Peter Ndlovu and Emmanuel ‘Tico-Tico Bucuane’s calibre. “I grew up watching Peter Ndlovu and Tico-Tico not knowing that one day I will be counted amongst them as COSAFA legends and I am over the moon in breaking such a record that was set by great players”, Badenhorst said.
After travelling for 16 hours by bus from Eswatini to Port Elizabeth, Sihlangu players flexed their muscles for the first time today at the Old Lady Sports Centre in Port Elizabeth. The players looked focus and sharp ahead of the competition. For them it is clear; they are in Port Elizabeth for international duty.
“It was a long trip from Eswatini by bus however; before match day we would have fully recovered and focused to the competition. Our aim is to play the final match of the competition”, said Lindo Mkhonta who is the captain of the national team.
His words were echoed by Sihlangu and TS Galaxy striker Justice Figareido who minced no words about their business during this competition. “I have fully recovered and 100% fit. I am looking forward to this competition. We want this cup thus our aim is to qualify for the knock out stages and ultimately be one of the finalist who claim the championship”, said Figareido. Sihlangu will play the opening match against Lesotho on Tuesday before playing against South Africa and Botswana respectively.
The Eswatini Football Association (EFA) has a new President after the successful implementation of elections during the organisation’s Ordinary General Assembly that were held on Sunday, 28th June 2021 at the Happy Valley Hotel in Ezulwini. This was after Mr. Peter Simelane got the majority of the votes (33) out the 48 votes that were casted by the EFA delegates for the presidency. He is not new in the EFA’s Executive Committee of the EFA having been both the Vice President and Executive Member in previous terms.
Another Executive Member of the EFA who is making his return to the Executive Committee is Mr. Mashumi Shongwe who was voted to be one of the Vice Presidents of the EFA which is the same position he once occupied in the Executive Committee of the organisation. Former Premier League of Eswatini’s (PLE’s) Executive Member, Mr Steve Horton is the other Vice President that was voted for by the Delegates. The elected Executive Committee Members were Mr. Sicelo Nene who was the General Secretary of the Lubombo Regional Football Association and Mr. Sipho Kunene who was the Chairman of the Eswatini Referees Association. These elections were implemented under strict COVID-19 Regulations and the only observers were the CAF’s Executive Committee Member and Botswana Football Association’s President, Mr. Maclean Cortez Letchiwit and Eswatini Government officials with the former focusing on the application of the COVID-19 protocols.
Young Buffaloes FC and Eswatini international striker, Phiwayinkhosi ‘Phiwa’ Dlamini has been named the best player for the first round of the 2020/21 MTN Premier League. The towering striker also won himself the top goal scorer award. For his effort he got E14 000.00 out of the competition’s first round incentives.
He attributed his success to his international and club teammates as well as the technical teams. “I would like to thank my international and club teammates as well as the technical teams for the support. Football is a team sport and I wouldn’t achieve such if it wasn’t for the collective effort. International football also enhanced my performance as a player”, Dlamini said.
With Sabelo ‘Sikhali’Ndzinisa close to his heels in the goal scoring chart, Phiwa acknowledged the competition that he is getting from the Mbabane Highlanders FC striker who is also Eswatini international player. “The competition that I get from other players in the league is heathy more especially from Sikhali as I learn a lot from him considering his experience and over and above we are also international teammates” Dlamini said. Currently Phiwa is leading the pack with 15 goals and he is followed by Sikhali with 12 goals. Both players are hoping to be in the Dominic Kunene squad that is due to compete in next month’s COSAFA Cup that will be played in Port Elizabeth.
He is fresh from an injury and the Sihlangu technical bench had faith on him thus he is part of the national team that is currently in Mozambique. Sifiso Matse has repaid the technical team of Sihlangu by scoring the lone goal of the match between Eswatini and Lesotho on Saturday. “I would like to thank the technical bench for having faith on me as I am fresh from an injury but they selected me to play for the national team”, Matse said.
The industrious midfielder was quick to state that international football is totally different from club football. “International football is demanding a lot compared to club football”, Matse said. The box-to-box midfielder also thanked his teammates for the excellent teamwork that they demonstrate as players which played a pivotal role in him scoring the goal that won the match against Lesotho He also believe that it is possible to win the match against Mozambique by sticking to the game plan and the execution of teamwork.
Fresh from a win against Lesotho, Sihlangu will play the second international friendly match against Mozambique at the Zimpeto Stadium in Mozambique as the national team prepares for the upcoming COSAFA Cup. “The preparations for the match against Mozambique went well”, said Sihlangu Head Coach Dominic Kunene. He will be looking for a second in four days as he lead Sihlangu against the Mambas from Mozambique. The coach also highlighted that this will be a different match which will need a different approach from the previous one. “The will be changes in as far as the approach is concerned which implies that there will also be changes in personality in as far as the starting line-up is concerned”, Kunene said. Sihlangu is expected to hit the road back home immediately after the match.