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LOBAMBA – Football catastrophe.

There can be no better way to describe yesterday Sihlangu’s disgraceful 0-4 home loss to classy Zambia in the first leg of the CHAN qualifier.
In what was supposed to be Dutch coach Pieter De Jongh first competitive home match since his controversial appointment to succeed the beloved Harris ‘Madze’ Bulunga at the helm of the team, the event degenerated into one that the coach would quickly like to forget.

He got no affection from the fans, who even before kickoff were already moaning the former Rwanda Technical Director recent performance in the COSAFA Castle Cup.
Tried they did to endure the pathetic showing by the team, but when the visitors scored a stunning fourth goal with 11 minutes from time, the supporters could not help it anymore.
Chants of Madze! Madze! Madze! reverberated at the main grandstand. The situation worsened after the game, when they encamped next to the team bus to haul unpalatable insults at the coach, who was sheepishly ushered into safety by police officers from the OSSU.

The above incident completed what turned out to be horrific day for the nation which had almost forgotten the last time they suffered such a humiliation defeat.
Ghana was the last team to beat Sihlangu this close in September 2010 during the 2012 AFCON qualifier. It was Gyan Asamoah and the Ayew brothers who beat the nation’s pride 3-0 in front of a packed home crowd.
Coming to yesterday’s game, Sihlangu’s last home defeat in a competitive game was against Angola in the 2012 CHAN qualifier under Valere Billen which Sihlangu lost 1-0.
Against Zambia, De Jongh’s first blunder was having nine Mbabane Swallows in the starting line up despite that they have not had a break since June 2016. The decision left him without options on the bench. And against a highly tactical and physically imposing Zambians, Sihlangu literally chased shadows.

The team played at a very low tempo, struggling to cope with the visitors probing runs and combination play. It took 17 minutes for them to leak in the first goal.
The impressive left winger Augustine Mulenga who provided two assists in the game, controlled and delivered an inched perfect cross which two goal hero Clatous Chama headed home at 13 yards out.  
Nkomishi was found wanting and his positioning was suspect on the day. The stadium was stunned into silence 26 minutes into the game, when again Mulenga picked Brian Mwila at 20 yards whose left footed stunner left the normally dependable shoot-stopper gasping for air.


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