Swaziland
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MAMBA, BUFFS SAFE AS CAF TIGHTENS UP

MBABANE – Eswatini’s representatives in the Confederation of African Football (CAF) interclub tournaments have survived an axing as CAF tightens screws on its tournaments’ participation requirements.

In a move aimed at empowering women and promoting women’s football, CAF has announced that any men’s team without a women’s side will be ineligible to participate in future CAF Champions League competitions, starting from the 2023/24 season. This decision aligns with CAF’s commitment to enhancing the growth and development of women’s football, as emphasised in the four-year women’s football strategic plan launched in November 2021. The CAF Club Licensing Board has issued a statement at the beginning of the week, highlighting the requirement for clubs to have a women’s team in order to qualify for the upcoming 2023-2024 CAF Champions League and subsequent editions.

Champions

The reigning MTN Premier League champions Green Mamba and the runners-up Young Buffaloes are the two clubs from Eswatini that will represent the country in the 2023/24 interclub competitions. The former will compete in the CAF Champions League, while the latter will feature in the CAF Confederation Cup. Fortunately for the duo, they have already established ladies soccer clubs that are among the top teams in the country. Young Buffaloes Ladies are the reigning league champions. Correctional Ladies are the reigning queens of the inaugural Cervical Cancer Tournament.
Meanwhile, in other countries such as Ghana, it said that none of their elite teams who currently meet CAF requirements. According Africa Soccer Updates, it is only Hearts of Oak, competing in the top-flight league, currently have a competitive women’s team.

Women’s

Meanwhile in South Africa (SA), Mamelodi Sundowns and TS Galaxy have women’s teams while Supersport United are expected to announce one soon. However, Orlando Pirates, who have qualified for the Chanpions League are still to establish one in order to comply. On another note, CAF has also set June 30, 2023 as the deadline for member associations to submit their applications on behalf of their clubs for the 2023/24 interclub competitions. The clubs must undergo the club licensing process with their respective member association and be granted a licence by CAF, based on five criteria: sporting, infrastructure, personnel and administrative, legal, and financial.

Eswatini Football Association (EFA) is expected to carry out this mandate on behalf of local teams. The first leg of the matches of the first preliminary round will be played from September 8-10, 2023, with the return matches scheduled to be played a week later. The aggregate winners will progress to the second round, which will take place at the start of October 2023. The local duo will be hoping to make an impact as they face tough competition from other clubs across Africa, who will be vying for glory and prestige. As for Green Mamba, they will be competing with SA’s heavyweights Sundowns and Pirates.