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.
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.
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.
|Burundi||v||South Sudan||Prince Louis Rwagasore Stadium||15:00|
|Zambia||v||Mozambique||Levy Mwanawasa Stadium||15:00|
|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|