Sihlangu winger Wonder ‘Samba Jive’ Nhleko feels the national outfit have what it takes to shine in this year’s instalment of the COSAFA Cup.
At 37, Nhleko will be Swaziland’s oldest player in the squad that will do battle in the ongoing regional tournament in Polokwane, South Africa. On his return with the national side in Kenya, where he scored the only goal that stunned the ‘Harambee Stars’, the veteran winger felt Swaziland assembled a formidable team to challenge for honours.
“We have better chances to win the COSAFA tournament because we are in fine form. We also have a mixture of senior and young players.
“My personal goal is helping the team achieve good results by providing assists. It’s high time we win it,” said the in-form Mbabane Swallows star.
Nhleko’s debut in the COSAFA Cup was back in 2002. He allayed fears that he could be playing his last regional tournament, stressing that he still had mileage to last more games.
“As long as I get a national call-up, I will honour it. Retirement is the last thing in my mind at this stage,” the former Black Leopards star said.
Nhleko is one of six players from the record-breaking Swallows players that are in the current Sihlangu squad. Swallows are in the group stages of the CAF Champions League for the first time. The gifted midfielder felt Swallows’ good form was good for Sihlangu, as the experience of playing in Africa’s premier club competition could come in handy.
Sihlangu arrived home from the fruitful Kenya trip on Saturday night. The players return to full time camp again today. The final travelling squad is expected to be announced tomorrow. The team is expected to leave for South Africa on the last day of the month.
After avoiding the group stages, the Anthony Mdluli-led ensemble will start in the quarter-finals against Lesotho on Saturday. The game will be televised live on SuperSport 9.
Swaziland are still in chase of their maiden championship. Their best performance was in 2016 when they brought home a bronze medal.
By Ashmond Nzima