Swaziland has named a strong-looking squad to do duty for the country in the upcoming COSAFA Cup to be held in the Limpopo Province of South Africa from May 27-June 9.
CAF Champions League envoys Mbabane Swallows have up to seven players, but there is a surprise omission of shot-stopper, Sandile ‘Nkomishi’ Ginindza, and winger Banele ‘Pupu’ Sikhondze.
Former Swazi international, Felix Badenhorst, who is looking to add to his six goal tally, has made the cut in Coach Anthony Mdluli’s squad.
League runners-up Young Buffaloes, who were knocked out by South Africa’s Cape Town City in the first hurdle of the CAF Confederation Cup early this year, have up to nine players in the national team.
The 25-member provisional squad was approved by the National Team Committee after a meeting on Friday night. They will be trimmed to 20 players before the trip to Limpopo.
As part of the preparations, the national team is expected to play an international friendly match on the 28th May 2018. The opponents are yet to be announced, but Kenya are said to have shown interest.
After a bagging a bronze medal in 2016, Swaziland (now Eswatini) will look to put behind their disappointing display from the past year. They could not win a match while under the tutelage of sacked Dutch mentor Pieter De Jongh.
The latter had sent an experimental side without the Swallows players, as they were involved in the CAF Confederation Cup. Standing in the way of Sihlangu this year is Lesotho. Both countries got a bye to quarter-finals and would renew their rivalry on June 2.
The Swaziland provisional squad
Goalkeepers: Sandanezwe Mathabela (Mbabane Swallows), Nhlanhla Gwebu (Young Buffaloes), Phephisani Msibi (Royal Leopard)
Defenders: Banele Dlamini (Green Mamba), Siboniso Ngwenya (Young Buffaloes), Siboniso Mamba (Young Buffaloes), Lindo Mkhonta (Young Buffaloes), Phumlani Dlamini (Royal Leopard), Wandile Maseko (Young Buffaloes), Sanele Mkhweli (Mbabane Swallows), Mandla Palma (Mbabane Swallows), Menzi Simelane (Moneni Pirates)
Midfielders: Sihlangu Mkhwanazi (Young Buffaloes), Zweli Nxumalo (Royal Leopard), Tsabedze (Mbabane Swallows), Njabulo Ndlovu (Mbabane Swallows), Nhleko (Mbabane Swallows)
Strikers: Phiwa Dlamini (Young Buffaloes), Barry Steenkamp (Royal Leopards), Sifiso Mazibuko (Young Buffaloes), Musa Dlamini (Green Mamba), Xolani Sibandze (Mbabane Highlanders), Felix Badenhorst (Mbabane Swallows), Fanelo Order Mamba (Young Buffaloes), Bonginkosi Dlamini (Royal Leopard)
By Ashmond Nzima