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MBABANE – It is the real test for the national team, Sihlangu, in the CoSAFA Cup at 2pm today.

A Senegal outfit minus most of their international stars, stand in Dominic Kunene’s troops’ way. The two sides will clash in the quarterfinal this afternoon at the King Zwelithini Stadium in Durban, South Africa. This will be the fourth meeting for these teams in four years, with Senegal winning two of those meetings. The others ended in a stalemate. Sihlangu is yet to win against the ‘Tangara Lions’, as Senegal are widely known. Senegal are starting this year’s tournament in the quarterfinals, while Sihlangu started their campaign in the group stages, where they reigned supreme.

It will be Sihlangu’s fourth game in the tournament after beating Lesotho 2-0; Mauritius 3-0; and a 1-all draw against 2021 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) finalists Malawi, who were favourites to win Group B, after making it to Africa’s biggest competition, early this year in Cameroon. There is no doubt that the Dominic Kunene-led side has all what it takes to cause an upset. Sihlangu players are flying high and they seem to be unstoppable. They have scored six goals in three matches and conceded only one. Eswatini boasts sharp shooters led by Mbabane Highlanders marksman Sabelo ‘Sikhali’ Ndzinisa who is leading the scorers charts in the tournament, with three goals.  While they will be minus throw-in specialist Fanelo ‘Order’ Mamba, the likes of Young Buffaloes and Sihlangu Captain Lindo Mkhonta and Sandile ‘Saviola’ Gamedze provide options and quality in their respective positions.


Before the team left the country, they made it clear that they wanted to make history by bringing it home. Sihlangu brought home a bronze medal in last competition. They had lost to the same Senegal in the semifinals before beating Mozambique in the bronze medal match. Senegal are one the powerhouses in Africa and currently ranked as the top team in the continent, after lifting the AFCON title for the first time in Cameroon earlier this year but this is a different squad altogether. Senegal will also not be under the guidance of the experienced and AFCON-winning Coach Aliou Cisse. While Sihlangu was able to force a 1-all draw in the 2021 AFCON Qualifiers last year while facing the big guns, they will fancy their chances this afternoon. It will need a really good performance by the local side if they are to make it through. Botswana or Zambia awaits one between Senegal and Sihlangu in the semifinals of the tournament.

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