Still­birth to Swazi­land’s Gabon dream

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Sport - Noel Mun­z­abwa in Mba­bane, Swazi­land

THE dream of a dance with the con­ti­nent’s soccer big boys at the 2017 Gabon Africa Cup of Na­tions suf­fered a still­birth for Har­ries Madze Bu­lunga and his Sih­langu lads un­der the scorch­ing heat of Ka­muzu Sta­dium in Blan­tyre, Malawi, yes­ter­day.

Go­ing into the last round of qual­i­fiers, Swazi­land en­ter­tained the slimmest of hopes to qual­ify as part of the two best run­ners-up in their groups, but for­mer Caps United for­ward Ger­ald Phiri’s eighth minute strike shut­tered that dream.

This fail­ure to qual­ify for the con­ti­nen­tal show­piece could also see coach Bu­lunga re­vert­ing to the science lab­o­ra­to­ries at Mater Dolorosa High School where his full time em­ploy­ment lies.

Bu­lunga’s con­tract lapses to­day and its re­newal was highly de­pen­dent on Af­con qual­i­fi­ca­tion.

The fail­ure to go past the Malawi hur­dle saw what had be­gun as a gal­lant run be­ing crushed to pulp.

The next dream will be the 2018 Chan qual­i­fiers that start next year, fol­lowed by Cosafa where they will hope to bet­ter their his­toric and best ever third-place fin­ish be­fore an­other crack at Af­con qual­i­fi­ca­tion and the 2022 World Cup qual­i­fiers.

But for now, they will join the list that has big­ger guns like South Africa in cheer­ing the Cosafa re­gion’s only rep­re­sen­ta­tives Zim­babwe in Gabon next year.

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