Harambe Stars test for Swaziland ahead of COSAFA Cup

Eswatini national team Sihlangu are set to test their resolve against Kenya’s Harambe Stars ahead of the stop in Limpopo Province of South Africa for the COSAFA Cup.

As preparations for the regional showpiece intensify, Anthony Mdluli’s troops are reportedly arranging a friendly match against Kenya ahead of the regional showpiece to be staged between May 27 and June 9.

While the National Football Association of Swaziland (NFAS) has kept the nation guessing on Sihlangu’s opposition, Kenya has announced that the Harambe Stars would play a build-up match against Eswatini (formerly Swaziland) on May 25.

The match is slated for the Kasarani Stadium.

NFAS Marketing and Communications Officer Muzi Radebe could only confirm that there was a lined-up friendly match next week, but said the opponents would be named in due course.

“The Football Association is currently in negotiations with a few countries in an effort to secure an international friendly match,” said Radebe.

In the past month, Sihlangu recently played two international friendly matches against Seychelles and Namibia, respectively. The first match ended in a goal-less draw while Namibia were beaten 1-0 during the April 19 showdown, which was part of the Eswatini’s 50 years of Independence and His Majesty King Mswati III’s 50thbirthday celebration.

During the matches, two different sets of players were used. The technical team is currently doing assessments to finalise the final list of players to be submitted for the COSAFA Cup competition.

Radebe said the national team Committee would meet last night (May 18), to finalise the programme of preparations and receive the recommended list of players.

“The NFAS is looking forward to sending a competitive national team that will successfully represent the country in this regional competition, as the main mandate is to perform better than in previous editions of the competition,” said Radebe.

To date, Sihlangu, who claimed a bronze medal in 2016, have played 39 COSAFA Cup matches, winning 14, drawing 10 and losing 15 while scoring 38 and conceding 47.

The nation’s pride has reached the semi-finals of the COSAFA Cup four times.

In this year’s tournament, Sihlangu will play Lesotho in the quarter-finals on June 6.

By Ashmond Nzima