A star is born at the COSAFA Castle Cup – Dennis Masina

Dennis Masina is a legend in Swaziland football and has had a huge impact on the COSAFA Castle Cup as well down the years.
Masina made 14 appearances for Swaziland in the competition over eight years after playing his first tournament in 1999 and his last in 2007.

He enjoyed some outstanding performances in that time, and led Swaziland to some famous wins, even if he could not quite take them to the title.

He made his debut in the competition in a 3-1 victory over Mozambique in which he scored the third goal for Sihlangu.

And better was to come as he played for the side in a 1-1 draw with Zimbabwe that saw Swaziland take the tie in a post-match penalty shoot-out for another famous victory.

That set up a tie with Namibia in Windhoek, but although Masina grabbed a late equaliser for Swaziland, they lost on penalties after a fine in the competition.

The following year he played as Swaziland lost to a strong South Africa side, but in 2001 they roared back with another huge win.

Swaziland held Zambia to a 0-0 draw and then triumphed 2-1 in the penalty shoot-out, though they would go on to lose to Zimbabwe in the next round.

Masina was again a star in 2002, which roved another successful campaign for Swaziland in the COSAFA Castle Cup.

They defeated Namibia 2-1 before going on to defeat Zimbabwe 2-0 in one of their finest ever performances in the competition.

They came unstuck in the next round though after a 4-1 loss to South Africa.

In 2003 the side defeated Madagascar but lost again to South Africa.

Masina returned to the competition in 2006 after a spell playing in Belgium, but lost against South Africa before beating Madagascar in their first round pool third-place playoff.

After a penalty shoot-out loss to Mauritius the following year, Masina’s final game in the COSAFA Castle Cup in 1997 came with a 1-0 victory over Malawi to see him finish on a high note.

Masina started his club career with Manzini Wanderers in his homeland before a move to South African side Umtata Bush Bucks in 2000. He later joined SuperSport United before heading to Belgium, where he turned out for Mechelen.

He returned to SuperSport in 2006 and would also spend two seasons with Orlando Pirates before joining Mpumalanga Black Aces, initially on loan, before making the move permanent.

He retired from the Swaziland national team in 2015 and later that year also quit his club career to take up a coaching post with Black Aces.

After such a long and distinguished career, he can look back on the COSAFA Castle Cup has a competition that provided a boost to his career, and as a tournament of discovery.