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MBABANE – Young Buffaloes and national team Sihlangu’s star, Sandile ‘Saviola’ Gamedze, has been withdrawn from the national team.

The Eswatini Football Association (EFA) announced yesterday that Gamedze was released from the national team’s duties after discussions with the national team management. EFA, however, did not mention the reasons for the decision. “The Eswatini Football Association, on discussions with the national team management, has since decided that the player, Sandile Gamedze, be released from the national team’s duties. This, therefore, implies that he will not be available for selection in the national team’s forthcoming AFCON 2023 Qualifier match against Togo and the COSAFA Cup 2023 competition,” reads the statement. Meanwhile, it was reported this week that the marksman has appeared in court facing a charge of raping a 14-year-old girl in Matsapha.


Gamedze’s case is almost similar to that of France striker Karim Benzema, who was suspended from the national team in 2016 over a sex tape blackmail case involving his former teammate Mathieu Valbuena. Benzema was not selected by France until the case was resolved in 2021. Meanwhile, EFA also confirmed that former Young Buffaloes and Sihlangu captain Lindo Mkhonta has joined the camp at Lobamba Technical Centre. The Zesco United veteran defender arrived in the country on Wednesday after the conclusion of the Zambia Super League over the weekend. Eswatini are set to face Togo on June 18, at Mbombela Stadium in South Africa, starting at 5pm in their fifth match of the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifiers.