Eswatini Football Association’s (EFA’s) KaLanga Technical Centre has been officially opened by the Honourable Minister of Sports, Culture and Youth Affairs, Harris Bulanga. This is the third (3rd) technical centre by EFA after Lobamba and Nhlangano technical centres. This infrastructure development project was fully funded by the Federation of International Football Association (FIFA). This is good news to the football family as currently there is a shortage of football venues as some may be closed for maintenance purposes.
The Honourable Minister of Sports, Culture and Youth Affairs congratulated EFA for achieving such a milestone. “We congratulate EFA for the successful delivery of this project”, Bulunga said. He also stated that this facility will change the face of football more especially in the Lubombo Region. “This project will bring the much needed infrastructure.
As the Government of the Kingdom of Eswatini is in a drive of decentralization, EFA has perfectly collaborated with His Majesty’s Government as the organisation is also doing the same in as far as football business is concerned. “We underline our delight in this project as it enhances Government’s decentralization drive thus growing the football business in the area”, Bulunga said. Moreover, the implementation of this project has also enhanced the image of Eswatini as being the perfect country for investment. “This project has attributed the good work of EFA of which the investment of FIFA concur that indeed Eswatini is open for Business” Bulunga said. He also urged EFA and all stakeholders to ensure that the facility is well maintained.
The newly constructed EFA Technical Centre at KaLanga didn’t come cheap as the football association spent millions of Emalangeni on its constructions. “EFA spent E30 Million on this project”, said Dr.Comfort Shongwe, the Acting President of the EFA. This facility won’t have a football pitch only on which the organisation spent E8 Million, but there will be an athletics track that will be installed to accommodate the partnership that EFA has with Athletics Association (AE). This technical centre has dressing rooms, hall and offices to mention part of the construction work that has been done.
The Sports Portfolio Committee of the current Parliament of the Kingdom of Eswatini is in full praise of Eswatini Football Association (EFA) for developing a technical centre that will provide a perfect platform for the youth to develop their talent. The Chairperson of the Sports Portfolio Committee from the House of Assembly Member of Parliament (MP) Mduduzi Simelane expressed their delight in the realization of such infrastructure development. “We are honoured to have the youth given the platform to express their talent”, Simelane said.
His words were echoed by the Sports Portfolio Committee Chairperson from the House of Senate, Senator Princess Tsandzile Dlamini who highlighted about the creation of an opportunity for the youth to develop their skills. “Through this project, the youth will have an opportunity to develop their skills of course being supported by adults” Dlamini said. She also expressed the hope that football will develop to greater heights as a result of this project. “This project gives us hope in terms of the development of the sport”, the Princess said.
The Senior Men National Team (Sihlangu) Head Coach Dominic Kunene has urged all players who are currently not part of the national team to continue working hard as every Swati player can play for Sihlangu. He said these words when he was interviewed by the media during today’s national team’s media day at the Somhlolo National Stadium. “I urge all players to work very hard as every Swati player has the potential to play for the national team”, Kunene said.
Currently there are 28 players in camp and a majority of them were part of the national team set up during the recently completed Total AFCON Qualifiers. The head coach decided to stick to these players as he believed that as a coach you can’t afford to change a winning line up. “As a coach, I believe that you can’t change a winning line up, instead you can add on it”, Kunene said. Sihlangu’s last match was against the Taranga Lions of Senegal which ended in a 1-1 draw away in Dakar.
Sihlangu is currently in camp until next week Tuesday and the lads are happy about the progress thus far as they believe this training camp will help them in the long term as they prepare for the COSAFA Cup and CHAN qualifiers. “We are well looked after and the spirit is high”, said Sihlangu captain Lindo Mkhonta.
The captain’s words were echoed by Felix Badenhorst who stated that the spirit in camp reminds him of the memories when Sihlangu was being coached by the current Minister of Sports, Culture and Youth Affairs, Honourable Minister Harries Bulunga. “The spirit is high and it reminds me the time when the Head Coach was the Honourable Minister Harris Bulunga”, Badenhorst said. The shy speaking midfielder also expressed his desire to achieve with the national team. “What we can achieve as a team is a priority for me ; individual achievement can be a bonus”, Badenhorst said.
The nomination for the candidates of the EFA’s election to be implemented on the 27th June 2021 was officially closed on Thursday, 27th May 2021. This has led to the next stage which is the Eligibility check. This was disclosed by Dumsile Thomo who was accompanied by Josefa Bhembe who are the members of the EFA’s Ethics Committee. “The next stage to be embarked on is the Eligibility Check of all nominated Candidates as per the Electoral Code of 2021, which should be completed within six (06) days of the close of the nomination process”, Thomo said.
All the nominees are expected to access and complete the Eligibility Check Form at the EFA offices, which is an instrument that is meant to aid the verification exercise. “The Eligibility check is meant to aid the verification exercise by the Ethics Committee against the eligibility of nominees whether they do meet the requirements of the positions nominated for as per the FIFA, CAF statutes, Regulations and Guidelines, and in particular, the EFA Statutes Article 35(6) a)-f); Article 3597), (9); Article 40(2) and Article 41(5)”,Thomo stated.
The Candidates as per the Electoral Code of 2021 are obligated to duly complete this Candidature Eligibility Check, sign and submit it as an attachment to the nomination by the respective member association of EFA. This must be done by close of business on Monday, 31st May 2021, at the latest.
The Senior Men National Team’s (Sihlangu’s) Head Coach Dominic Kunene has named a 28 men squad that will report for a full time training camp on Sunday, 30th May 2021 at the Technical Centre in Lobamba. The last day of this training camp is Tuesday, 8th June 2021. Sihlangu will be using the upcoming FIFA international week to prepare for the upcoming competitions which include the 2023 Total Championship of African Nations (CHAN) Qualifiers and the 2021 COSAFA Cup edition. This international week is expected to conclude with the national team playing an international friendly match which is currently being organized. With the most immediate competition being the COSAFA Senior Cup 2021, this camp will accord the coaches to evaluate the levels of the players and team in general ahead of the camp on the last half of June 2021 for the COSAFA Cup. The players are as follows:
Sandanezwe Mathabela (Mbabane Swallows FC), Khanyakwezwe Shabalala (Mbabane Highlanders FC), Ncamiso Dlamini (Royal Leopards FC), Sanele Chauke (Green Mamba FC), Thabo Mngometulu (Green Mamba FC), Siboniso Mamba (Young Buffaloes FC), Sihlangu Mkhwanazi (Young Buffaloes FC), Lindo Mkhonta (Young Buffaloes FC), Sikhumbuzo Magagula (Royal Leopards FC), Mlamuli Msibi (Royal Leopards FC), Mthunzi Motsa (Manzini Wanderers FC), Mzwandile Mabelesa (Royal Leopards FC), Sifiso Matse (Royal Leopards FC), Nhlanhla Ngwenya (Mbabane Swallows FC), Sabelo Gamedze (Mbabane Highlanders FC), Siboniso Ngwenya (Young Buffaloes FC), Fanelo M,amba (Young Buffalloes FC), Wandile Shabangu (Young Buffaloes FC), Sandile Gamedze (Young Buffaloes FC), Khethokuhle Mkhontfo (Green Mamba FC), Njabulo Tfwala (Green Mamba FC), Mthokozisi Gwebu (Manzini Sea Birds FC), Bonginkhosi Dlamini (Royal Leopards FC), Phiwayinkhosi Dlamini (Young Buffaloes FC), Sidumo Dlamini (Royal Leopards FC), Sabelo Ndzinisa (Mbabane Highlanders FC), Justice Figareido (TS Galaxy FC), Felix Badenhorst (TS Galaxy FC).
The initial focus for the Senior Women National Team’s (Sitsebe’s) on-going training camp was to prepare for the Total Africa Women’s Cup of Nations (AWCON) match against Zimbabwe which was scheduled for June 2021 however the Confederation of African Football (CAF) postponed these matches to October 2021.
Sitsebe Head Coach Dumsani Makhanya has branded this postponement as a blessing. “The postponement of the qualifiers was a blessing for us as it provided us with more time to prepare for the future”, Makhanya said. Sitsebe is currently in camp preparing for the Total AWCON qualifiers and the COSAFA Cup. The Head Coach also acknowledged the Eswatini Football Association (EFA) for allowing the training camp to continue and also for the training to continue even after the full time camp as the national team will also flex the muscles on a weekly basis after the full time camp has ended. “This was a good decision by the EFA to allow this training camp to continue and also for the national team to train on a weekly basis after the full time training camp has ended”, Makhanya said.
The Head Coach also highlighted that the main focus of this training camp is on improving the physical fitness levels of the players as they last kicked a ball during last year’s edition of the COSAFA Cup. “As a technical team, we are focusing on improving the physical fitness levels of the players as they last played a competitive match during last year’s COSAFA Cup”, Makhanya said.
It seems that the on-going training camp for the Senior Women National Team (Sitsebe) will bear the desired results. This is due to the fact that the national team’s captain Nok’thula Dlamini has stated that as players they are responding very well to the coaches’ training programme. “We are responding very well to the coaches’s training programme as we are improving each day”, Dlamini said. The confident captain also echoed the Head Coaches’ words as she also attested that the postponement of the Total AWCON Qualifiers was a blessing for them as they will have more time to prepare for the future. “The postponement of the Total AWCON Qualifiers will help us as we will be more prepared for the upcoming competitions”, Dlamini said.
Eswatini Women National Team (Sitsebe) will continue with the full-time camp that commenced on Monday, 17th May 2021 at the Lobamba Technical Centre. This is despite the fact that the Confederation of African Football (CAF) has cancelled the Women’s Africa Cup of Nations, Morocco 2022 Qualifiers that were originally scheduled for June 2021.
Through a press statement EFA stated that the on-going full time camp and training programme will continue as per the initial plan. “This current development from CAF has no effect on the on-going full time camp and training programme of the Senior Women National Team (Sitsebe) as it will continue as per the initial plan”, read the statement. EFA also highlighted that this full time was also established as part of the preparations for the upcoming women competitions including the 2021 Women COSAFA Cup.
“This therefore implies that the national team will continue to be in full time camp as the camp was also established as a part of the preparations for the upcoming women competitions including the 2021 Women COSAFA Cup”, read the statement. An international friendly match will also be organised by EFA as part of the current training camp programme after which the players will be released to their respective football clubs to commence their domestic competitions duties.