By Sibusiso Masilela
Sihlangu players and officials alike are lucky to be alive after Morocco was affected by a deadly earthquake that hit Marrakesh on Friday evening.
The said ordeal claimed the lives of 600 people in the city, where the nation’s pride had earlier played their final 2023 AFCON Qualifier match against Burkina Faso, which ended in a goalless draw at Marrakesh Stadium. Burkina Faso hosted the match due to the ongoing CAF Stadium ban.
The incident took place while the 31-member Eswatini delegation was booked at the Kenzi Hotel.
The entire delegation, led by Premier League of Eswatini (PLE) Chairman Mark Carmichael, remained unhurt after the occurrence.
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Sihlangu Manager Dumisani ‘Du’ Sibandze, who was part of the travelling battalion, confirmed the incident.
“We were very lucky to survive as the earthquake hit near the hotel where we were booked. We are all safe and we thank God for keeping us safe,” he said.
The local delegation is expected to return home on Sunday evening. The Dominic Kunene-led side completed the campaign occupying the bottom spot of Group B with three points after action that took six months.
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Meanwhile, Burkina Faso and Cape Verde booked their places in the finals of the rescheduled continental showpiece to be played in January 2024, with Ivory Coast being the host nation.