Eswatini Minister of Sport, Culture and Youth Affairs Harries Bulunga has urged the senior men’s national team Sihlangu Semnikati players to focus on the future now that Afcon qualification is no longer on the table.
Bulunga made the comments after Sihlangu’s 0-0 draw against Congo at Mavuso Sports Centre on Monday.
The Minister said the qualification campaign did not go according to plan but that did not mean the end of the road.
“We still have a lot of football left to play even though we did not manage to qualify for Cameroon next year,” said Bulunga.
“Coaches should now focus on selecting and building a squad that will be able to compete in the future and not just in the remaining matches.
“I also urge the coaches not to put themselves under any pressure as our campaign was ruined in the first two games so it is best to focus on rebuilding the team,” he said.
“Overall it was not a bad outing for the national team considering the eight-month layoff the players had just come from. Their performance was positive compared to the first leg in Congo where we lost under difficult circumstances. We were the better team on the pitch and unfortunately we were unable to convert our chances,” added Bulunga.
Eswatini are bottom of Group I after collecting just a single point. They are in the same group as Guinea-Bissau, Congo and log leaders Senegal who have already qualified.
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By Ofhani Munyai