Underrate Swaziland at your own peril

IT has been a sport-less Easter holiday here in Swaziland with the major focus centred on the counrtya��s representatives in the Caf Confederations Cup, Royal Leopards who went, saw and conquered in Angola knocking our favourites Perdo De Luanda 3-2 on aggregate.

After a 2-2 home draw many did not give the favourites tag to Leopards just like in the first round where they came into the second leg with a three goal deficit to Bidvest Wits, the Swazi soccer champions tore apart all form books and re-wrote the kingdoma��s football history.

Not only was it the first time that a Swazi soccer club had knocked out South African and Angolan soccer clubs but Leopards became the first club to reach the third round of an Caf club competition a good sign that Swazi soccer could be coming out of age.

In just a fortnight the countrya��s Under-23 squad will be headed to Harare for the first leg of the 2016 Olympic Games qualifier to face the Young Warriors riding on a crest of beating Cameroon 1-0 in the first leg of the All-Africa Games qualifiers.

And my word to Calisto Pasuwa, be warneda�� do not underrate Swaziland if fissures coming from their camp buoyed by Royal Leopards good progress in Africa, this could be a banana peel which could give you a hard fall.

The team spent about 10 days in camp the period covering the Fifa Days of International football and is set to play Botswana in a friendly. So dona��t be overjoyed by your success.

Some special information you might need to know from what I have gatherered.

This is the same team that played at the Cosafa Under 20 games held in Lesotho in 2013 and the Warriors needed a last minute Walter Musona show to knock them out at the semi final stage.

Abot 30 months ago this very team, the headline a�?Swaziland U20 win 4-Nation Cupa�? thrown at several back pages and several online editions not only marked a great success but also gave birth to fresh hopes on a success filled future.

Indeed Belgian coach Valere Billen had inspired the Swazi national Under-20 squad to a historic 2-0 win over Angola, a result that won them the Four Nations Cup tournament in Luanda opening a new leaf to Swaziland.

Deservedly the National Football Association of Swaziland (NFAS) CEO Frederick Mngomezulu said the squad had made the country proud.

He said even though it was not a big tournament, it was good that they won it. a�?This is a GOOD START and we are proud of the squad. We would like to thank the technical bench, including the coaches, who failed to travel with the team due to other commitments, as they are the ones that started preparing the team,a�? he told MTNFootball.com.

Mngomezulu also thanked parents, schools and clubs that allowed the players to be part of the team to Angola.

a�?We are in the process of building a future national team and this is good, especially that the senior national team squad coach was the leading the squad.a�?

Young Sihlangu scored through Qiniso Dlamini and Reagan Charles in each half to claim the landmark victory. The tournament featured the host nation Angola, Namibia, Swaziland and Zambia.

Billena��s charges had qualified for the finals after beating the highly-rated Zambia, a powerhouse in youth football, 4-3 on penalties after the encounter had ended on a barren draw. Angola had hammered Namibia 4-1 in the other semi-final.

Three years down the line Swaziland Under 23 with the traces of that victorious side is due to embark on a crack at Olympics Games qualifiers against Zimbabwe Under 23.

So Pasuwa take them seriouslya��

On a closing note we wish our Zimbabwean duo of Tawanda Chikuku and Takawira Chimwanda all the best in the weekenda��s SwaziBank Cup final when their team Manzini Wanderers take on Moneni Pirates.

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