swazis chase history

All reports by Ramatsiyi Moholoa

All reports by Ramatsiyi Moholoa

Swaziland's senior national soccer team leave for Accra today for their final 2010 World Cup-Africa Cup of Nations qualifier fired up to make history.

Isihlangu, with South African coach Shakes Mashaba in the driver's seat, are on a mission to qualify for their first ever Afcon finals.

Swaziland take on Togo at their adopted home in Ghana on Saturday where they want to make it two in a row over the 2006 World Cup finalists.

This was after Siza Dlamini and Collen Salelwako scored a goal apiece in June to defeat Togo in the first leg with Adekanmi Olufade pulling one back for the visitors.

The Togolese are playing in Ghana after being banned from playing at home after violence erupted in their game against Mali.

Speaking to Sowetan from Mbabane yesterday en route to Boksburg to play a friendly against Lesotho, Mashaba said they cannot afford to slip up at the last hurdle.

"This is history in the making for Swaziland, everybody here is so excited about the progress of the team and are confident that we will do it.

"People are now saying it won't be a tough one for us because Emmanuel Adebayor will not be playing. We beat Togo at home with the Arsenal big star in that team.

"Whoever Togo will field in the place of Emmanuel will definitely want to impress, that is why it will be important for us not to underestimate anybody."

Mashaba has roped in two new strikers in Salibone Jele and Mfanzile Ndzimande to replace injured Jomo Cosmos player Dlamini.

Swaziland are second on the log in Group 11 on four points from three games, behind leaders Zambia who have collected seven points from four games.

Togo are third and last on three points from three games.

Adam Mthethwa, Football Association of Swaziland president, showered Mashaba with accolades for a job well done to date.

Mashaba made history by becoming the first coach to lead Amajita to the continental finals in 1996, winning a silver medal and qualifying for the World Youth Championships. In 2000, he guided the Under-23s to their first and only Olympic Games appearance in Australia, where the team defeated Brazil.