Mbabane: After missing selection for the 2021 AFCON qualifier back-to-back matches against Congo Brazzaville due to an ankle injury, international striker Justice ‘Figa’ Figareido had thrown his full weight behind Sihlangu.
Sihlangu are in Brazzaville for the Group I match slated for Thursday, with the return leg on Monday at Mavuso Sports Center. Speaking to his new South Africa’s Premier Soccer League (PSL) side TS Galaxy communications team, ‘Figa’ revealed that he agreed with national team coach Dominic Kunene for him to not be involved in the crucial games so he can fully recover.
“I couldn’t go to the national team because I’m still nursing an ankle injury. I’m still recovering from that injury. Yes, I did receive a call up but I explained my situation to the national team coach and he understood. He also stated that he doesn’t want me to aggravate it (the injury).
“We all came in to an amicable agreement that he will call me in the next camp when I’ve fully recovered,” the former Denver Sundowns and Maritzburg United attacker said.
‘Figa’ also had a special advice to his national teammates saying, “Every game that you play, it is like a cup final when you wear the national team colours. Wearing those colours comes with huge expectations. I wish them all the best even though, I’m not with them but my spirit is with them.”
Head Coach Dominic Kunene already mentioned bagging nine points from the possible 12 to play for in the group to get back to contention and possibly transport Sihlangu to its first ever Africa Cup of Nations finals appearance.
“I don’t want to yes or no (they will win or not),” he said when asked if he fancied Sihlangu chances against star- studded Congo Brazzaville side.
“Covid-19 has halted a lot of things in Eswatini. The league hasn’t even started in Eswatini. I think, they had about a month of preparation. For me, that is not enough to play against those guys (Congo). They have been active for quite sometime and it is very, very hot in Congo. I don’t know but I hope for the best while preparing for the worse.
He reckons Sihlangu will one day qualify for AFCON after coming close in the 2018 qualifiers under Harries ‘Madze’ Bulunga.
“It is a dream. In life, it is important to dream big to avoid being average. TS Galaxy proved last year in the Nedbank Cup final against Kaizer Chiefs that anything is possible. So, everything is possible. You may never know, when God says yes, nobody can’t say no. I’m ready for anything and I’ll always give my best. I want to be the best version of myself.”