ESWATINI national soccer team Sihlangu travels to Malawi for a 2020 Total Africa Nations Championship South Zone first round second leg qualifier set for Kamuzu Stadium in Blantyre on Saturday under the attention of neutrals from Zimbabwe.
Rusape-based, 27-year-old Brighton Chimene, the new entrant to the panel which already had Norman Matemera, Nomore Musundire and Philani Ncube, will take charge of the affair that seeks to determine who will face Angola in the next round of the qualifiers.
An array of good officiating by the country’s referees prompted Fifa to increase their slots in a development which has been widely celebrated in the country and Chimene made it onto the list late last year.
A 35-year-old, Tafadzwa Nkala, will be the first assistant with 37-year-old Edgar Rumeck coming in as the second assistant and it will not be the first time the duo have taken lines in a match between the two nations.
Just last year Philani Ncube was at the centre in the Caf Under-20 qualifier between Malawi and Eswatini when Rumeck was his first assistant while Nkala was the second assistant referee.
Zimbabwe referees’ stock seems to be rising with each passing day in recent years as they continue to receive direct appointments for international engagements.
The two nations senior men national teams square off in Manzini in their 22nd overall meeting.
Eswatini will be seeking revenge for the 0-1 defeat to the Flames they suffered in the 2017 Total Africa Cup of Nations qualifier, a result that cemented our own Warriors’ qualification to Gabon. Former Caps United striker Gerald Phiri grabbed the 7th minute goal.
And ever since, Sihlangu have changed coaches from Bulunga to Hendrick Pieter de Jongh to Anthony Mdluli to the current Kostadin Papic.
On the other hand, the Flames’ coaching lead has changed hands from Gerald Phiri (snr) to Ronny Van Geneugden and now Meck Mwase who will be returning to his second home, Eswatini where he almost clinched the MTN Premier League of Eswatini with giants Mbabane Highlanders.
In their 21 previous meetings, Malawi have won 11 with Eswatini bagging three wins with the two nations sharing seven draws including the goalless stalemate in the first leg and both coaches will be searching for a win.