Eswatini seek first knockout stage qualification

Best finish: Group Stages (2002, 2006, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021, 2022)
FIFA Ranking: 176
CAF Ranking: 41
Last five tournaments:
2018 – Group Stage
2019 – Group Stage
2020 – Group Stage
2021 – Group Stage
2022 – Group Stage

Eswatini featured in the early days of the HOLLYWOODBETS COSAFA Women’s Championships and after a brief hiatus have now returned to play in the last six instalments of the regional showpiece competition.

They are awaiting their first qualification for the knockout stages but will hope to make steady progress towards that and could perhaps spring a surprise this year.

Eswatini claimed a 3-0 win over Botswana in their second match in 2002, their first win on their maiden appearance, but also lost out to Mozambique (2-0) and South Africa (4-0) to end third in their pool.

They were back at the finals in 2006, but this time lost to Namibia (6-0) and Zambia (7-0) in what was a difficult campaign.

The country skipped the 2011 tournament but returned for the 2017 finals in Zimbabwe, where a 3-0 win over Mauritius was followed by a 2-2 draw with Mozambique. They were denied a first ever place in the semifinals though after a 1-0 loss to East Africa guest nation Kenya.

The following year proved a harsher experience as they lost all three games, going down to East African guests Uganda (4-3), Zimbabwe (3-0) and Namibia (4-1) to finish bottom of the pool.

The side were much improved in 2019 as they won two of their three games, but still narrowly missed out on the semifinals.

A 3-1 victory over Mozambique was followed by a thumping 4-0 success over Angola. But they came unstuck against Zimbabwe, going down 7-0 in their final pool match to bow out.

They could not match that in 2020 having been drawn in a tough first round pool, where they beat Comoros Islands 4-2, but then lost to South Africa (5-0) and Angola (4-3).

It was a tale of woe for the side in 2021 as they lost all three games and conceded 11 goals in the process. A 5-0 loss to Zambia was followed by a 5-1 defeat to Uganda, and then a 1-0 defeat at the hands of Namibia.

And it was same again last year as defeats to Lesotho (3-0), Namibia (5-1) and Zambia (2-0) meant another first round exit.

The side have never qualified for a major finals, but that must be the aim in the coming years.