Former African champions Nigeria is set to trade tackles with Swaziland in a 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifier at the Somhlolo National Stadium in Lobamba on Friday.
To many fans not much is known about the Southern African side, so SoccerNet Nigeria shares all you need to know about Nigeria’s next opponent.
Image Credit: Crossed Flag Pins
#1. The nickname of the Swaziland national football team is the Sihlangu Semnikati which means the “King’s Shield”. They will have to put up as many royal shields as there are in the Queens court in Birmingham however to be able to soar over the Super Eagles.
#2. The 20,000-capacity (all standing) Somhlolo National Stadium that is to host the Super Eagles vs Swaziland game was built in 1968 and named after King Somhlolo who had moved his people into the region that is now Swaziland about 200 years ago, and is considered the father of the country.
#3. Swaziland’s first international football match was a 2-0 defeat of Malawi way back in 1968. However, only last month (October) they walloped Djibouti 6-0 to record their biggest ever win. That win ensured the King’s Shield dispatched Djibouti 8-1 on aggregate to book this date with the Super Eagles.
#4. It has not always been smooth sailing for the Southern Africans who were spanked 10-0 by Egypt, just over two years ago, the country’s worst defeat yet.
#5. Swaziland enjoyed her football golden days in the early nineties making her way up to 92 on the FIFA ranking in October 1993. The highest she has ever climbed. A few months later, the Super Eagles attained 5th on the FIFA ranking.
#6. Swaziland, one of the smallest countries in Africa, has never qualified for the World Cup or the African Cup of Nations finals. In fact, their best performance in an international tournament is a semi-final finish in the COSAFA Cup.
#7. The King’s Shield is coached by homeboy, Harris Bulunga, who is in his second year in-charge of the team.
#8. Truth is, Bulunga is the longest serving Swaziland coach since Ephraim Mashaba completed a 2-year term in 2010. The Sihlangu Semnikati has seen 4 other coaches handle the side in just four years. In total, 16 coaches have managed Swaziland since the turn of the millennium – an average of a manager per year.
#9. Swaziland’s most recent game was a 2-1 triumph over Guinea in a 2017 CAN preliminaries played in Casablanca, Morocco. A brace from T. Tzabedze secured the win for the King’s Shield.
#10. The FIFA code for Swaziland is SWZ and not SWA. So Twitter users will only be able to follow the game with the hashtag #SWZvNGR or #SWZNGR.
Swaziland vs Nigeria
Kick-off Time: 7:00pm (Nigerian Time)
Date: Friday, November 13
Venue: Somhlolo National Stadium.