Thursday, March 30, 2023

2015 has been a historic year for Zebras

The most memorable year for Botswana’s senior national team is undoubtedly 2011. That was the year when the team qualified for 2012 Africa Cup of nations for the first time in their history. The team even shocked the African continent because they were known as the ‘whipping boys of Africa’ because winning was something foreign and very rare for the team.

However, 2015 was somehow a historic one for the team. For the first time in their history, the Zebras managed to break the jinx of always losing to West African sides by winning against the duo of star studded Burkina Faso and Mali in the Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifications and World Cup respectively. Botswana defeated the Stallions of Burkina Faso by a solo goal in Francistown in August. The Burkinabe team had hordes of stars that took the team to 2013 finals. More so, most of their players ply their trade in top leagues in Europe, especially France.

The most defining victory for the Zebras which astonished many was when they defeated Les Aigles of Mali. Mali had defeated Zebras on five occasions prior to the October encounter. Mali were expected to roll over the ‘inexperienced’ Zebras, but it was not to be as Botswana won the encounter 2-1. However, Zebras celebrations against Mali were short lived as Mali won the return leg 2-0 and won with an aggregate of 3-2.

Regarding the 2017 Afcon, the Zebras are still yet to play Burkina Faso away in Ouagadougou, Uganda at home and Comoros islands home and away. If the Zebras are to make it to 2017 Afcon, they have to win the next matches. Any losses would give Uganda and Burkina Faso an added advantage.

Already, Uganda are yet to lose a match and they are in red hot form as they did well in World Cup qualifications. On the other hand Zebras coach, James Peter Butler, has not had it easy since taking over as coach two years ago. It remains to be seen whether the English man will leave a long lasting legacy in the country by doing what his predecessors failed to achieve.


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