15 May 2019 08:36
Eswatini coach Kostadin Papic has kept faith with the same for the Total African Nations Championship (CHAN) 2020 qualifier South Zone first round second leg away to Malawi in Blantyre on Saturday.
The two teams settled for a barren stalemate in the first leg two weeks ago in Lobatse.
Any scoring draw or win will hand Eswatini the ticket through to the second round date against Angola, but Papic and his charges are very much aware of the task ahead.
“Two months ago this team could not string two, three passes together, but now there is a big difference. We need time to achieve the product that we want, but nothing is lost as we are still with an equal chance to progress,” said Papic.
The coach added that he strongly believes in the team’s chances.
“We suffered a bit due to lack of confidence in the first game. However, now that we know the opponent we can go there knowing what we need to do. Everything is still equal, and I believe we can score the winning goal,” said Papic.
Sihlangu as they Eswatini side is nicknamed, went into camp at the Eswatini Football Association Technical Centre in Lobamba on Sunday night and are to depart for Malawi on Thursday.
On the part of Malawi, they will be banking on experienced forward Chiukepo Msowoya to edge the visitors into the next round. Msowoya, the 2018 Malawi elite division top scorer, is expected to be sharper in attack with Silver Strikers forward Khuda Muyaba likely to partner him.
However, Malawi coach Meke Mwase will be without forwards Peter Banda, Patrick Phiri, holding midfielder Alfred Manyozo Junior, defenders Peter Cholopi and Denis Chembezi who picked injuries while playing for their clubs over the weekend.
It is quite a blow for Mwase as Phiri, Manyozo and Cholopi featured in the away match.
To compound matters, Mwase bemoaned his team’s lack of width in the away match, saying his team badly needs natural wingers.
“We played very well in the first leg. We had the chances which we could have scored. The guys played according to our game-plan. I am very happy that we didn’t concede in the first leg. I think we need to find natural wingers those who can play in their right positions, but we had little time to prepare. In the return leg, we need to do more, believe in ourselves and score. That is the only way we can progress,” said Mwase, who replaced Belgian Ronny van Geneugden.
Malawi has beaten Eswatini 11 times, lost twice with six games ending in draws.
Meanwhile, Seychelles will face Botswana in the other South Zone qualifier in Victoria. Botswana won the first leg 2-0.
11.05.2019 Victoria Seychelles vs Botswana (0-2)
11.05.2019 Blantyre Malawi vs Eswatini (0-0)