COSAFA: Swaziland claim third spot

25 Jun 2016 22:40pm
WINDHOEK, 25 JUN (NAMPA) – Swaziland beat guests Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) by a solitary goal to claim third place in this year’s Council of Southern Africa Football Associations (Cosafa) Castle Cup at the Sam Nujoma Stadium on Saturday.
Having come into the tournament as underdogs, Swaziland topped group A before beating Zambia in the quarterfinals via a penalty shootout. They then went on to lose dismally against South Africa 5-1 in the semi-finals.
Having blamed fatigue for their defeat in the semi-finals, coach Harries Sozabile Bulunga made seven changes to his team, leaving his star players Felix Gerson Badenhorst, Tony Thulani Tsabedze and Siyabonga Lwazi Mdluli on the bench amongst other changes, while he rested his regular goal keeper Ginindza Sandile and brought in Nhlanhla Bongani Gwebu for the first time in this tournament.
The first half had both teams cancelling each other in the middle of the park but in the 38th minute, Sabelo Wilson Ndzinisa scored a beautifully worked goal for Swaziland after a great passing move involving Banele Sikhonde, Njabulo Mfazile Ndlovu and Mandla Palma.
Half time ended 1-0 in favour of Swaziland.
The second half started with DRC on the front foot looking for an equaliser, but Swaziland stood firm defending their lead.
The game ended 1-0.
Speaking to the media after the game coach Bulunga said he was a happy man as they achieved what they had set as their target.
“We came here to do better than last year when we failed to get out of the group stages, we wanted to play in the knockout stages, so for us to finish third is a bonus. We hope to come back next year and maybe lift the cup. Expectations will obviously be high as we have proven we are ready to challenge the big boys of the region,” he said.
DRC coach Jean Florent Ikwange Ibenge admitted they had under-perfomed but noted that one learns more from defeat than victory.