Holders Young Buffaloes should buckle up for a stern test in the quarter-finals of the Ingwenyama Cup on Saturday.
Hoodoo side and fellow security forces ensemble Green Mamba stand in the way of Dominic Kunene’s men following pairings made at sponsor Sincephetelo Motor Vehicle Accident Fund head office in Mbabane on Monday.
Green Mamba are not only unbeaten in three straight matches against Buffaloes but are also the only team to have recorded a win against ‘Amathole Ezinyathi’ this season following a 1-0 league victory back on November 30 last year.
The last time Buffaloes celebrated a win in this fixture was on penalties (5-3). It was the 2018 EswatiniBank Cup semi-final which had ended 2-all after extra time.
The two sides came first out during yesterday’s open draw (no seeding) and there were cheers from the rest of the teams who were still in the pot after this pairing, especially the duo of Manzini Wanderers and Mbabane Highlanders. The two big guns avoided each other.
According to the draw, Highlanders, Wanderers and Moneni Pirates will face National First Division sides in Madlenya, Tambankulu Callies and Seven Dreams, in that order. Highlanders are fresh from causing the biggest upset of the tournament by eliminating three-time champions Mbabane Swallows with a 1-0 win two days ago. Their next opponents are joint second on the National First Division chart.
For Wanderers, who eliminated neighbours Denver Sundowns on penalties; they face Tambankulu Callies, who are on top in the country’s football second-tier. The latter were relegated from top flight football at the end of the 2011/12 season and had lost 1-4 to Wanderers before going down. The reverse fixture had ended in a goalless draw.
Pirates and Seven Dreams, who complete the line-up, meet for the first time. Both sides are in the top five of their respective leagues.
In reaction to the match-ups, Green Mamba CEO Thami Phakathi said they would not read too much into the result of the last meeting, highlighting that Buffaloes were playing well.
“We’ll plan for Buffaloes and our ambition is to play the final,” he said.
Sandile Gwebu, who is CEO at Buffaloes, stressed that facing the unpredictable opponents would make everyone in the team to work extra hard.
“We’ll intensify our preparations and everyone in the tournament equally has the pressure,” he said.
Callies PRO Senzo Shabangu said they were ready for Wanderers, highlighting that their competitive squad would make things easier.
Wanderers General Manager Berger Nxumalo dubbed it a fair draw, saying the past results of the last meeting would not count.
According to the fixture released after the draw, the games will be played between Saturday and Sunday at Somhlolo National Stadium from 2pm. Highlanders, Madlenya, Green Mamba and Buffaloes will play on the first day and the rest of the teams will be in action on Sunday.
Somhlolo National Stadium:
Highlanders vs Madlenya 2pm
G.Mamba vs Buffaloes 4pm
Seven Dreams vs Pirates 2pm
Wanderers vs Tamb. Callies 4pm
3rd edition (2017/18)
Green Mamba 1 (Musa Dlamini 73rd) Young Buffaloes 2 (Wandile Maseko 80th, Sandile Gamedze 92nd)
2018 EswatiniBank Cup
15/04/2018 Buffaloes 2-2 Green Mamba
(Buffaloes won 5-3 after penalties]
30.11.2019 G.Mamba 1-0 Buffaloes
16.02.2019 G. Mamba 1-1 Buffaloes
03.11.2018 Buffaloes 1-3 G.Mamba
15.02.2018 G. Mamba 0-2 Buffaloes 15.10.2017 Buffaloes 1-0 G.Mamba