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MBABANE – It is a tricky draw.

Green Mamba will meet UD Songo of Mozambique in the CAF Champions league, while Young Buffaloes will face DStv Premiership side Sekhukhune United in the CAF Confederation Cup preliminary round. This follows a draw which took place yesterday at the Confederation of African Football (CAF) Headquarters in Cairo. Security forces sides, Green Mamba and Young Buffaloes, are representing Eswatini in the CAF Champions League and CAF Confederation Cup after finishing first and second on the charts last season, respectively.


The first legs for the first preliminary round will take place between August 18 and 20, while the second legs will be played on August 25 and 27, 2023. The second preliminary round will be played between September 15, 17 and 30 to October 1. All winners of the second preliminary round will qualify for the group stages. Young Buffaloes, who will face South Africa’s Nedbank Cup runners-up Sekhukhune United, will be looking to reach the group stages for the first time. If they progress to second preliminary round , the army side will face seeded team St. Eloi Lupopo of the Democratic Republic of Congo. Buffaloes coach Mandla ‘Stofu’ Dlamini said this was a fair draw to them as Sekhukhune United was a familiar team to them. He said they have watched them on television for the longest time now. “It is advantageous to us that we will be playing against Sekhukhune United; we know them very well and they do not know us. The players are preparing and they are not 100 per cent ready for now,” Dlamini said.

Green Mamba will travel to Mozambique for its first leg game. UD Songo, who usually plays their home matches at the Estadio do Ferroviaro de Beria, will be looking to surpass their big achievement on the CAFCL; their best finish in the competition was to reach the CAFCL quarter-finals in 2016. Green Mamba last CAF game was against Zesco United of Zambia in 2019 in CAF Champions League. Mandla Sibiya, who is Green Mamba Chief Executive Officer (CEO), shared his worry about the physicality of the Mozambican players. “Their players are more physical than our players; we will not match them physically, but we will put our maximum effort to win the game. There is no good draw on CAF Competitions; you expect anything from your opponent. I have watched their runners-up in their league, FC Black Bulls; they are very good than our opponent. But look, UD Songo were crowned champions of the Mozambicans’ league; it tells you how dangerous they are,” stated Sibiya.

Senior Green Mamba player Lawrence Mncina has also reacted to the draw by saying that Mozambique is not far and they have played there before. “Even the temperatures are almost similar to ours, we will be able to adapt easily. It is a pity though that we have never heard anything about them, and they do not know us as well. We will surprise them on the field of play. We are preparing and I think we are coming okay,” Mncina explained. CAF had announced few hours before the draw that big teams were exempted from the preliminary stages of the CAF inter-continental club competitions. The teams were determined by a cumulative points system CAF devised and the 10 highest-ranked teams only entered the Champions League once the competition reached its round of 32 phase. Only 12 teams  were exempted from partaking in the same stage of the CAF Confederation Cup. The exempted teams were Al Ahly of Egypt, Morocco’s Wydad Athletic Club, another north African outfit Esperance de Tunis, Eswatini neighbours Mamelodi Sundowns, Tanzanian giants  Simba, Pyramids of Egypt, Petro de Luanda of Angola, five-time African champions TP Mazembe and Horoya of Guinea.