Africa-Press – Eswatini. SIHLANGU is geared up for their first game against Botswana in the upcoming COSAFA Cup, slated for South Africa later this month.

Head coach Sifiso ‘Nuro’ Ntibane says his squad has the potential to beat Botswana during the games which will take place in the Eastern Cape from June 26 to July 7.

He said this during the national team’s media day at the EFA Technical Centre in Lobamba yesterday.

Eswatini will take on Botswana in Group A in their first match scheduled for next week Wednesday.

Ntibane said preparations had been ongoing with all the players responding well. There were a lot of positives as they went about their duties.

“It will be a tough competition but my players are capable and full of potential. Other than that, we have played against Botswana, before and we won. We can also beat them again as much as we respect all our opponents, we also need to get positive results at the end of the day,” he said.

The former Royal Leopard coach said the players were motivated.

Also the new players are doing very well and fully understand their assignment.

“There is a lot of talent in the boys and they are confident, so I believe if they use the mentality that they have now, we can make it through,” said Ntibane.

He mentioned that 23 players would make the final squad.

…Kwakhe to captain COSAFA-bound squad

SOCCER – THE nation’s pride head Sihlangu head coach Sifiso ‘Nuro’ Ntibane has put his faith in Kwakhe Thwala, and made him the captain for the COSAFA Cup-bound squad.

Ntibane made the announcement during Sihlangu’s media day at Lobamba Technical Centre.

“Thwala is one player who has shown the ability to lead, and based on this decision I feel he can rise to the occasion,” said Ntibane. He confirmed that the Mbabane Swallows player would wear the captain’s arm-band when Sihlangu represents the country in the tournament.

Thwala takes over from Sifiso Matse after the Eswatini Football Association (EFA) made changes in the national team recently, which affected even the technical bench that saw the former coach Dominic Kunene being relieved of his duties after a long time at the helm.

The former Young Buffaloes player said he was honoured to be captain of the national team.

“I am happy to have been appointed captain and would like to express my appreciation to the technical bench for seeing me fit to assume this position.” “Our heads are up and we are ready for the COSAFA Cup. It will not be easy but we will do our best to represent the country well.” The captain said after changes in the squad, the environment was the same as the new players were adapting well.

He promised that they would work hard and fight for positive results.

Thwala has been in the senior national team for some time and has been instrumental in its performance. He has also captained the national Under-17 and U-23 squads.

‘We will represent the country well’

SOCCER – NATIONAL team Sihlangu winger Sizolwethu ‘Nunu’ Shabalala and goalkeeper Sibusiso ‘Baraba’ Dlamini have promised to represent the country well during the 2024 COSAFA Cup tournament.

The players made this promise at the Technical Centre in Lobamba after the squad’s training. They said they would fight to get positive results and make the country proud.

Shabalala said he was honoured to be part of the national team. He said it was every player’s dream to play for the national team and represent their country.

“The national team call-up came as a surprise to me. I am really humbled and will work hard.”

He said this showed that the coaches saw something in him.

“I promise to work hard and help the team get good results. We will be facing countries we have played against before, so we know what to expect. It will not be easy but we will give it our best. I am happy with the spirit among the players and we are all looking forward to the tournament.”

‘Baraba’ said they would do their best to represent the country well.

He said they would do better compared to the World Cup Qualifiers where they lost to Angola and Mauritius. “Preparations are going well and we know what is expected from us. We promise to represent the country well and come back with a medal.”

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