By Ntokozo Magongo
The Kingdom’s national team, Sihlangu Seminkati left the country on Monday afternoon for Cape Verde beaming with confidence ahead of the two-legged matches with the Islanders.
Sihlangu faces the Islanders on Friday in the first match kicking-off t 6 pm, with the second leg billed for next Tuesday at Mbombela Stadium, South Africa. Coach Dominic Kunene left with 20 players for the first leg game.
Sihlangu is in Group B of the qualifiers alongside Burkina Faso, Cape Verde and Togo. They are second from bottom with a point while Cape Verde is second behind Burkina Faso in the group with the top two teams qualifying for the finals.
Bidding farewell to the 20 players was the Eswatini Football Association (EFA) President Peter ‘Samora’ Simelane and the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Frederick Mngomezulu. EFA Executive Committee Member Comfort Shongwe is the leader of the delegation.
Forming part of the squad are Green Mamba striker Sabelo ‘Sikhali’ Ndzinisa, Young Buffaloes Njabulo Mabuza, Mbabane Swallows Leon Manyisa, Nsingizini Hotspurs Thubelihle Mavuso and Ncamiso ‘Mbhonyo’ Dlamini amongst others.
Some of the players who were left behind are the Captain and Zambia’s Zesco United defender Lindo Mkhonta who is serving a red card, Mbabane Swallows’ Khwakhe Thwala who had three yellow cards, Mbabane Highlanders goalkeeper Khanyakwezwe Shabalala amongst others.
EFA President, Simelane said he believed that the team that can conquer the two matches and stand a good chance to make it to Ivory Coast where the AFCON tournament will be played early next year.
“This team has been working hard and they just need to approach the game with positive minds and they can make it. The coaches and the technical bench have worked hard to make sure that the team is ready,” he said.
EFA CEO Frederick Mngomezulu believed the team would be safe when travelling through South Africa, despite the ongoing protests as the neighbouring country was on shutdown on Monday due to a protest.
The travelling squad:
Goalkeepers: Ncamiso ‘Mbhonyo’Dlamini and Sibusiso Dlamini
Defenders: Siboniso Mamba, Mlamuli Msibi, Sihlangu Mkhwanazi, Vusumuzi Vilakati, Lucky Gamedze and Sikhumbuzo Magagula.
Bongwa Matsebula, Siboniso Ngwenya, Neliswa Dlamini, Leon Manyisa, Sifiso Matse, Sandile Gamedze and Mpendulo Tfomo.
Fanelo Mamba, Njabulo Maziya, Thubelihle Mavuso, Sabelo Ndzinisa and Philani Mkhontfo.
Friday, March 24:
Cape Verde vs Eswatini (Sihlangu) 6pm
Tuesday, March 28:
Eswatini (Sihlangu) vs Cape Verde 3pm