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MBABANE – Sihlangu and Mbabane Swallows versatile player Kwakhe ‘Stopper’ Thwala said being handed the captain armband on Friday motivated him.

The senior national team and former national Under-23 player was handed the captaincy armband in the 1-0 defeat during the opening of the 2026 World Cup qualifiers against Libya. The tightly-contested match took place at Mbombela Stadium in front of a crowd of over 100 fans. With this win, Libya temporarily took the lead in Group D with three points, while Eswatini remained at the bottom of the log with zero points. The former Young Buffaloes player said he was honoured to be given the captaincy in the second half of the game. “It was a truly happy moment to be named captain of the national team. In fact, it was a historic occasion, as I was the youngest player ever to captain the team. This honour will inspire me to always give my best on the field. Although the game was challenging, I believe that we could have at least secured a point, given our dominance, particularly in the first half,” he said.

The 21-year-old  went on to reveal that today’s second qualifier game against Cape Verde was another game that was going to be tough but believed that they would do their best to get maximum points. “The morale in camp is high, and the entire team is focused on Tuesday’s match. We want to win at all costs, and we’re calling on the supporters to come out in full force, just like they did on Friday,” he added. The 54-member associations of CAF were divided into nine groups of six teams each. Each team will play twice against every other team in their group in a round-robin format. Each nation will, therefore, play a total of 10 matches (five home and five away).The nine teams that win their respective groups will qualify directly for the FIFA World Cup 2026. Best four group runners-up enter play-offs and winners qualify for inter-confederation tournament.

Meanwhile, the Dominic Kunene-led outfit will play Cape Verde in today’s second 2026 World Cup qualifier at Mbombela Stadium. The game will kick-off at 3pm. Meanwhile, Cape Verde played to a goalless draw against Angola.

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