The Honourable Minister of Sports, Culture and Youth Affairs Harries Madze Bulunga today (Thursday, 15 November) bid farewell to the National U-23 Football Team who have left the country for Mozambique where they will face their counterparts from that country in the first leg of a first round qualifier for the 2019 AFCON U-23 tournament tomorrow.

The farewell function was held at the Eswatini Football Association (EFA) Technical Centre in Lobamba this morning. Present was the entire traveling squad including the technical team led by Head Coach Sifiso ‘Nuro’ Ntibane as well as EFA President Adam ‘Bomber’ Mthethwa and CEO Frederick Mngomezulu amongst others.

Delivering his address, the Minister urged the team to make the country proud in Mozambique. “It is important for us to stress the importance of such tournaments not only to our junior national teams but also to the overall success of our senior national team. It is for that reason therefore that we urge and task you to give it your all as you begin this quest for qualification. His Majesty King Mswati III has also stated several times his desire to see our football teams compete on the best stages in the world and as you depart today, do keep that in mind,” the Honourable Minister said. 

Tomorrow’s match will be staged at Zimpeto Stadium with kickoff at 6pm. The two teams will then meet again in the return leg on Tuesday afternoon at Mavuso Sports Centre. If they emerge victorious over the two legs, the local U-23’s will have to navigate past two more two-legged qualifiers in order to qualify for the tournament set to be hosted in Egypt next year. The 2019 AFCON U-23 tournament will also serve as a qualification route for the 2020 Olympic Games.

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