Monday, January 17, 2022

African Nations Cup is a dream gone down the drain

The Zebras’ performance against Mali does not guarantee the local lads a place in South Africa.
While head coach Stanley Tshosane admitted upon arriving at the Sir Seretse Khama Airport (SSKA) on Tuesday that his team was outplayed by the West Africans, he still remains confident that he can turn the scores around.

That means the Zebras beating the Eagles 4-0 in Gaborone something which is like climbing to the top of Mountain Everest. On paper it is possible but realistically it is just a mere dream considering the record of the Zebras when it comes to scoring goals.

The last time the Zebras scored four goals was seven years ago when they beat Lesotho 4-1 in the 2006 FIFA World Cup preliminary qualifier at the National Stadium. At the time, the Zebras’ attack was spearheaded by the now retired Dipsy Selolwane and Tshepiso ‘Sox’ Molwantwa who were considered to be the best strikers in our modern era. Since then, it has not been easy for the Zebras to strike more than two goals, especially under the current leadership of Tshosane.

The Zebras’ performance last weekend has created mixed feelings within the football community with some calling for the sacking of the former BDF XI coach.┬á Others argue that Tshosane deserves to continue with the team because other ‘experienced’ coaches have failed to take us to the finals in the past.

Responding to calls to fire Tshosane, local scribe, Kabelo Dipholo, posted on his Facebook page, “In my brief chit-chats with Head Coach Stanley Tshosane, I have realised that he is a man who handles criticism very well and actually thrives on it. Who can forget the media furore on his continued selection of the unattached JJ? The former Magosi forward’s solitary strikes took the Zebras to Gabon. The swords were temporarily put back into their sheaths as people scrambled to accompany the team to AFCON and share the limelight.

Now the same Stan, with a couple of new faces in the team, is on the brink of failing to take the Zebras to their second AFCON; the swords are out again and typical Stan is optimistic of defeating Mali at UB – a tall order if you ask me; but there is no shame in dreaming.

It is with this glimmer of hope that my support for Stan will remain unshakable until he fails on his mandate as set out by BFA; so far he has not and this is why I will not support the call for his sacking, which, sadly, is based on a probability. You don’t call a man a failure just because you believe he is about to fail…ZEBRAS FOR LIFE!” Though BFA president Tebogo Sebego is quoted in different sections of the media saying that his executive is fully behind Tshosane, Sunday Standard is reliably informed that BFA are considering to show him the exit door.

The executive was to meet in the past week but it did not materialize as Sebego was still waiting for the technical report from the gaffer.

“Sebego is still to meet with (Ernest) Nthobelang who is the VP Technical and he was the head of delegation in Mali. It is after that meeting that we’ll get to know Tshosane’s future. The other option would be for the association to revamp the technical team if he (Tshosane) is not sent packing. The major challenge would be his contract which is still new,” said a source at BFA.
┬áOutspoken Duma fm sports presenter, McDonald ‘Chilliboy’ Rakgare, on Friday said missing on the showpiece in South Africa will be a blow to Batswana.

“I would not mind if we missed the tournament in Gabon and then we qualify for South Africa. This would have enabled the Zebras to enjoy a lot following because the supporters were going to have access to the games. As we speak, the chances of going to South Africa are not there but Stan is to blame because of his poor selection of players,” said Rakgare.

He said travelling to West Africa would have made sense if Tshosane had selected the tried and tested players knowing the importance of the game.

“We can’t afford to have players like (Township Rollers centre-back) Oscar Ncenga in such an important game because he has a lot to learn when it comes to international stage. He has not even been through youth ranks where he could have learnt something. If it was someone experienced, we could have not conceded the penalty he committed,” he continued.

Rakgare added that Tshosane’s selection puzzles him because he always calls former Under-23 players like Moreetsi Mosimanyana, Isaac Paeye, Alphonse Modisaotsile to name a few but they never get game time yet they can help the team when the more experienced campaigners are not there.

“I think firing him is not the solution right now. BFA has to remove his current backroom staff except Thabo Motang (goalkeeper trainer) and bring people who would be able to advise him accordingly. ┬áHe needs people who would be able to challenge him in some decision not those who’re there for their own interests,” said Rakgare.

The issue of the national team coach is something which is going to be debated in the build-up to the second leg scheduled for Gaborone on October 13. After receiving the report from the technical team, it will be up to Sebego to clear the mist as Batswana are wondering what the next move is going to be. While some of the hot-heads remain hopeful that the Zebras can beat Mali, the reality is that 2013 AFCON is a dream gone down the drain.

RELATED STORIES

Read this week's paper