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Gallant Sihlangu Bows Out of COSAFA CUP 2022

Eswatini Daily
By: Lwazi Dlamini

In Durban
(At King Zwelithini Stadium)

Eswatini………. (0) 1, Philane 63rd,
Senegal……….. (1) 1, Camara 7th
(Sihlangu lose 11-10 after sudden death penalties)

A tiger, just like every animal in the jungle, has its limitations. This adage holds true for the nation’s pride, Sihlangu Semnikati after bowing out of the 2022 Hollywood bets COSAFA Cup following a 11-10 sudden death penalty loss to guest nation, Senegal at the King Zwelithini Stadium this afternoon.

Royal Leopard work-horse Mzwandile ‘Viera’ Mabelesa was the villain after his spot-kick disturbed shoppers at the nearby Kwamyandu Shopping Mall when he ballooned the ball over the bar to hand the Teranga Lions of Senegal a passage to the semi-finals. Senegal also beat Sihlangu on penalties in the same tournament in Port Elizabeth last year.

Sihlangu’s loss means the Dominic Kunene-coached side will now be relegated to play in the Plate section semi-finals where they face Botswana’s Zebras who were knocked out in the quarter-finals by Zambia’s Chipolopolo on Tuesday. The Sihlangu versus Botswana Plate semi-final clash is set for 3pm on Friday at the Sugar Ray Stadium in Clermont. Sihlangu have only themselves to blame after spurning countless chances to win the game at a canter.

After Senegal took the lead via goalkeeping howler by Sandanezwe Mathabela who mistimed a harmless looking free kick by Lamine Camara 35-yards out, Sihlangu worked their way back to the game. They should have equalized in the 21st minute when Sandile ‘Saviola’ Gamedze, who won the second man of the match in a row, saw his weak shot easily saved by goalkeeper Aliou Faty after Sabelo ‘Sikhali’ Ndzinisa had set him up with an inch-perfect pass. Then six minutes before time, when it looked easier to score than to miss, Neliswa Dlamini, from two-yards out, ballooned the ball over the bar after a delightful cross from left back Kwakhe Thwala. On the hour mark, ‘Sikhali’ headed wide a Sifiso Matse cross, with the goal beckoning. Three minutes later, Philane Mkhonto netted his first international goal, finishing sublimely a Sandile ‘Saviola’ Gamedze defence-freezing pass.

Sihlangu goalkeeper pulled off a great save when he stopped with left foot a shot by El Hadji Ndiaye in Madagascar referee Ben Ibrahim optional time. The game went to penalties and both teams converted the first five penalties, then it went to sudden death where after four penalties were converted by both teams, Mabelesa fired his to the Umlazi blue sky to hand the youthful Senegalese passage to the semi-finals.

TEAMS:

ESWATINI – Sandanezwe Mathabela, Lindo Mkhonta, Kwakhe Thwala (Leon Manyisa), Peter Dlamini, Sihlangu Mkhwanazi, Mzwandile Mabelesa, Neliswa Dlamini (Junior Magagula) , Siboniso Ngwenya (Sikhumbuzo Magagula), Sabelo Ndzinisa, Sifiso Matse, Sandile Gamedze
SENGAL – Aliou Faty, Elhadji Balde, Cheikhou Ndiaye, Melo Ndiaye, Alassane Kante, Moussa Ndiaye, El Hadji Mane, Lamine Camara, Lamine Diadhiou, Bouly Sambou, Amadou Ndiaye

Referee – Beny Ibrahim (Madagascar)
Assistants – Dimbiniaina Andriatianrivelo (Madagascar) and Aswet Teeluck (Mauritius)
Fourth official – Mohammed Athoumani (Comoros)
Match Commissioner – Mmonwagotlhe Senai (Botswana)

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