Swaziland
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CALL UP FELIX, ‘FIGA’ - ‘YUKI’

MBABANE – “We need Felix and Justice in the squad.”
These are the exact words of former Eswatini international superstar Dennis ‘Yuki’ Masina, when commenting on the recently announced national team by Sihlangu Head Coach Dominic Kunene, ahead of the TotalEnergies Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) Qualifiers and the 2023 Hollywoodbets Council of Southern Africa Football Association (COSAFA) Cup. The national team will be facing Togo in the qualifiers next month after playing to a 2-all goal in the first match which was played on June 3, 2022. After this game Sihlangu will prepare for the COSAFA Cup, which will be played in Durban, South Africa starting from July 5 to 16. The Dominic Kunene-led side is pitted with South Africa’s Bafana Bafana, Namibia’s Brave Warriors and Botswana’s Zebras in Group A.

The recently released squad is without 2022/23 MTN Premier League leading goalscorer Felix ‘Fela’ Badenhorst and international star Justice Figuareido, who help his side All Stars to finish the Motsepe Foundation Championship league on position four. Meanwhile, ‘Fela’ has scored 20 goals this past season, as an attacking midfielder in 26 games. The former Orlando Pirates midfield maestro, ‘Yuki’ is currently in the country to honour the game between South Africa (SA) Legends against a local side, Uche XI, which was played at the Prince of Wales Sports Ground yesterday. In a post-match interview revealed that the COSAFA draw for Sihlangu was very tough considering the teams that were pitted against the local squad.

Experience

“We need Felix and Justice in the national team. Felix has scored 20 goals in the season and oozes international experience, as he played in South Africa and beyond. The two players are needed in squad as this is our chance to win this year’s COSAFA,” the former Midas Mbabane City players explained. He also said the reason behind being Eswatini’s chance to clinch the COSAFA Cup was due to the fact that most of the teams in the group would use their Under-23s, unlike the country which would use most of the experienced players. “I don’t know what criteria the coach uses when selecting his players, but Fela and Figa deserve to be in the squad,” Masina side. On a lighter note though ‘Yuki’ said the country had good players who could bring the trophy home, but Kunene should intensify his training methods and was hopeful that this time around the squad would fight to reach the finals for the first time in the history of the regional flagship football tournament.

Meanwhile, Kunene’s defence on the players was that they were part of his plans but Badenhorst had been asked to continue scoring goals in the recently ended MTN Premier League, where is topped the scorer’s chart. Kunene said there would be changes in the squad for the COSAFA Cup but it remains to be seen he will call up these players and Mbabane Hifghlanders goalkeeper Khanyakwezwe Shabalala who is another missing link.