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MANZINI – Sihlangu interim coach Anthony Mdluli feels the national side should not lose hope in their bid to qualify for the Africa Cup of Nations finals in Cameroon next year.

Reacting to the 0-2 loss to Tunisia in the second match of the qualifiers at Mavuso Sports Centre yesterday, Mdluli conceded the two north African giants who include second-placed Egypt were favourites to make the cut. “Tunisia and Egypt are the strongest in the group, so it will be difficult. “We still can’t be ruled out and the team needs at least six points. However, we have to be realistic as we play against professional teams,” said Mdluli. Commenting about the game, Mdluli stressed that his troops put up a brave fight, especially in the second half, saying the goals were as a result of errors.

“Firstly, I would like to apologise to the players and the supporters. “We played a highly-tactical and professional team that capitalised on our errors that included an unnecessary back pass. We tried our best to be compact and the opponents could not attack us directly,” he stressed.  Asked on the way forward, the former Manzini Wanderers coach said the Eswatini Football Association (EFA) would give a directive, as his assignment was to lead the side in yesterday’s fixture. “Our task as the technical bench was to lead the team in this match. The recruitment process of a permanent head coach is ongoing.

“We can only advise that the team should continue training ahead of the trip to Egypt,” he said. Winning coach Faouzi Benzarti felt Sihlangu did come to the party. “It was a good game of missed chances. “Tunisia has good chances of qualifying, but Egypt are also well positioned,” said the French-speaking gaffer, who had Mbabane Swallows trainer Ettiene Massoye by his side as an interpreter.

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