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ESWATINI, YOU BEAUTY!

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Sports Editor
(At Sunset Stadium)
In Lusaka, Zambia
Mozambique…….……(0) 0
Eswatini………………(0) 2
Lizwe 65th, Majahesibili 90 + 2


LUSAKA – Football gods finally smiled Eswatini’s way when the National Under-20 team recorded their first win in the COSAFA Youth Championships in three years with a 2-0 win over Mozambique yesterday.


Eswatini had last won a game in the tournament with a similar 2-0 win over Botswana’s Young Zebras in 2016, banishing a winless streak which had stretched for a traumatic 11 years – from 2004 to 2015.


Yesterday, Dominic Kunene’s young battalions defied all odds to cruise to a comfortable 2-0 win over the Young ‘Black Mambas’ courtesy of two goals by Moneni Pirates starlet Lizwe Zwane in the 65th minute and Majahesibili Ndlovu from Blue Prince in the second of the three added minutes.
It was a well deserved, hard fought victory by the Eswatini side underpinned by tactical discipline and commitment which mirrors the Young Buffaloes coach with every fibre of his being.


tough-tackling


On a thick pitch, Kunene’s charges realised that free flowing football would not suffice against a tough-tackling and rigid opposition like the Mozambicans. They resorted to absorb pressure and catch them on the break. It worked like a charm with captain of the side and deserved Man of the Match Wenzile Lushaba particularly outstanding in defence with a flawless performance. Aided by the agility of Illovo FC goalkeeper Sibusiso Dlamini, penalty hero for the sugar-belt side against Tambuti FC in the Ingwenyama Cup Last 32 stage, the local boys stood a good chance of overcoming the Mozambicans especially after a matured first half performance in which Majahesibili Ndlovu had seen his hard shot from outside the box in the 37th minute ricochet off the bar. When acrobatic goalkeeper Sibusiso pulled off a stunning save from a shot inside the box by substitute Gulamo Salimo in the 56th minute, Eswatini took the initiative nine minutes later when the impressive Njabulo Shongwe centred a cross inside the box which the Mozambican team failed to clear and in the goal-mouth melee, Zwane finished off at close range.

The Moneni Pirates starlet, MTN Player of the Month for September, would never miss at that range even if blindfolded.
Eswatini continued to press high with the Mozambicans failing to break the defensive triumvirate of Kwakhe Thwala, Wenzile Lushaba and Neliswa Dlamini, who defended like their lives depended on the outcome of the game.

Then two minutes into referee’s three minutes optional time, Ndlovu put gloss to a well deserved victory for Eswatini with a neat finish inside the box after dribbling past defender Michel Maposse to ensure Eswatini joined Angola as joint-leaders in Group C after a round of the first games. The Angolans top the group with a healthy six-goal difference having pummelled bottom-placed Seychelles in the opener at Nkoloma Stadium 8-0.
Eswatini face Seychelles on Sunday here at 10am before the last game of the group stages against the free scoring Angolans at Nkoloma Stadium on Monday at noon.

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