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Zebras hosts Mauritania in AFCON 2019 qualifiers’ quest

The Botswana national football team, Zebras will this weekend (Saturday) kick start its AFCON 2019 qualifier pursuit when they welcome Palancas Negras of Mauritania at the Francistown Sports complex.

The wounded and amble Zebras under the tutelage of coach Peter James Butler have been pitted in a rather tricky and unpredictable AFCON 2019 Group I, which consist of Burkina Faso, Angola and Mauritania. The winner from this group will automatically secure a spot in the African football tournament showpiece.

Fresh from their week long intense camp in Morocco where they lost 2-1 to DRC, Zebras aims to conceal their loss and hope to use Lady Luck that seems to follow their coach’s persistent decision to have all their official games played in the second city of Francistown.

Zebras has enjoyed positive results from Francistown stadium

Although Batswana had waited with baited breadth to see the Botswana UK-based, Renei Batlokwa making his debut in the national squad, the young lad will unfortunately not be able to play as the Botswana Football Association (BFA) allegedly failed to solicit his travelling fares on time.

Highly admired by the English coach, Batlokwa has been a stern performer of college football in the UK and has also been allegedly approached by the English FA to play in their junior teams.

However, Botswana has pitted all its hopes on the shoulders of the Absa-premiership championship winner; Mogakolodi ‘Tsotso’ Ngele and Omaatla Kebatho to lead Zebras’ attacking and ball kicking prowess. Having been out of action for the last six months, Zebras team captain, Ofentse Nato will have to be on his usual element and guide his charges to glory on the home soil.

Onkabetse Makgantai of Botswana during the 2016 Cosafa Cup Semifinal match between Botswana and DR Congo at Sam Nujoma Stadium in Windhoek Namibia on 22 June, 2016 ©Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

Sadly, Township Rollers goalkeeper, Kabelo Dambe will be MIA (missing in action) as he is about to undergo a knee surgery from an injury sustained during the just ended premier league. One thing Coach Butler’s charges must note is that Mauritania is not a team to be taken lightly as they have beaten The Zebras twice in their last meetings.

The two countries had met before in the 2008 AFCON qualifiers where Botswana were thumped 4-0 away but won home tie 2-1 in Gaborone. Most of the Mauritanian ensemble plies their trade in Europe.

The BFA in their quest to create excitement around the weekend’s game have brought entertainment courtesy of DJ Colastraw and Dr. Vom of ‘Tsaya Thobane’ fame. AT and T Monnakgotla buses have also been lured at discounted prices to ferry fans to Francistown Sports complex.

Zebras defender Mosha Gaolaelwe in recent COSAFA final against Bafana Bafana. He was on score sheet against Angola

Saturday games

Malawi v Comoros Kamazu Stadium 14:30
Burundi v South Sudan Prince Louis Rwagasore Stadium 15:00
Zambia v Mozambique Levy Mwanawasa Stadium 15:00
Botswana v Mauritania Francistown Stadium 15:30
Cameroon v Morocco Ahmadou Ahidjo Stadium 16:00
Niger v Swaziland Stade General Seyni Kountche 17:00
Guinea-Bissau v Namibia Estadio 24 de Setembro 18:00
Nigeria v South Africa Godswill Akpabio International Stadium 18:00
Sierra Leone v Kenya Freetown National Stadium 18:30
Tanzania v Lesotho Benjamin Mkapa National Stadium 19:00
Cape Verde v Uganda Estadio Nacional de Cabo Verde 19:30
DR Congo v Congo Stade des Martyrs 19:30
Burkina Faso v Angola Stade du 4-Aout 20:00
Mali v Gabon Stade 26 Mars 21:00
Cote d’Ivoire v Guinea Stade Bouake 22:00
Senegal v Equatorial Guinea Stade Leopold Senghor 22:00


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