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Botswana national under 23 football team will have to walk through the Flames of Malawi ‘test’ and dodge the Copper Bullets of Zambia en-route to booking themselves a place at the U-23 Afcon slated for Egypt in 2019.
With three rounds to be played in search for a place at the third edition of the U-23 Afcon championship, Botswana will first face off against Malawi, with the winner going on to face Zambia.
Should the Dream Team make it past these two formidable opponents, they will then have to face off with the winner among Congo, Burundi or Tanzania in their last hurdle towards qualifying for the Under 23 Afcon Championships.
With Africa given just two slots for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, for Botswana to make it through to the Olympics, they will then have to finish among the top two at the Afcon Championships. Only the top two nations at the championships will represent the continent at the next Olympics.
Following player predicaments that led to the team failing to qualify for the U23 Afcon Championships in 2015, there is now a strong belief that the team is capable of making it to the championships.
The team failed when former national team coach Peter Butler paralysed the formidable side taking some of the key players of the squad with the national team that was competing in the COSAFA cup in South Africa.
This time around, the Dream team technical bench will have at their disposal an array of experienced elite league young players that have had a game time and had made an impact at their various teams.
In an interview with Sunday Standard, Botswana Football Association (BFA) mouthpiece Tumo Mpatane, said the association has planned a comprehensive preparations regime for the team.
“The team will be heading to South Africa to play two practice matches, one against the University of Pretoria Football Club and another against a yet to be named ABSA premiership club,” Mpatane said.
According to the BFA PRO, before heading to South Africa, it is expected that the team will have played a game against Botswana’s senior national football team, The Zebras.
“We are expecting a lot from the team as they are well experienced in playing against African opponents. This is a team that had qualified for the 2013 under 17 championships and these are the future Zebras,’’ Mpatane told Sunday Standard.
In the last qualifiers, Botswana could not get past Zambia in the second round for a place at the finals after a four all draw against Kenya in the first round in a two legged encounter that witnessed Botswana passing through to the second round on away goal rule.
The team, which will be coached by Teenage Mpote assisted by Rasta Kgengwenyane is made up of; Kabelo Maphakela, Kagiso Moganetsi, Tumisang Selolwane (Goalkeepers), Thato Kebue, Alford Velaphi, Obusitse Gabadise, Lawrence Radikgageng, Kitso Mangolo, Mothusi Johnson, Goitseone Legopelo, Keabetswe Obonetse (Defenders) Mothusi Cooper, Gape Mohutsiwa, Thabang Khuduga, Pontsho Motshelanoka, Kago Mongake, Resaobaka Thatanyane, Tiroyaone Maome, Mpho Kgomo, Bakang Leshona, Baokeditse Talani (Midfielders) Tshepo Maogaswe, Kitso Mpuisang Molaodi Tlhalefang Boyo Mankanku (Strikers)