Stillbirth to Swaziland’s Gabon dream
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.