Zebras’ road to Angola in 2010 will be put to a stern test when they face South Africa next week. It is a game in which Coach Colywn Rowe should use several untested players.
As has been the case in the past, Rowe is expected to use regular players for the tie that South Africa is not taking seriously at all. South Africa would be using the game to try players who have never worn the national jersey before. What is even interesting for the South Africa team is the fact that more than half of the players for the game ply their trade in the Division One league and would be blended with national Under 20 youngsters.
The meeting between the two countries would be the seventh time since South Africa’s re-admission to FIFA in 1992 and Zebras have only won once against the South Africans. That was in 2006 during the COSAFA Castle Cup at the National Stadium when the Zebras won 7-6 on penalties. The last time the two sides played against each other was in January at King Zwelithini Stadium in Durban in a friendly game and the South Africans emerged 2-1 victors.
On how the Zebras would be lined up against South Africa, Botswana Football Association’s Chief Executive Officer, Tosh Kgotle, told Sunday Standard that the onus is on the coach.
“As the BFA we are trying with all what we have to secure friendly matches for Coach Rowe so that the team is ready for the 2010 qualifications for the Africa Cup of Nations to be held in Angola. It is our dream to go there and we want the team to be always prepared. On how Rowe approaches the opponents, it is entirely his job regardless of the situation of the opposition,” he said.
The Zebras have not had it easy in two of their recent friendly encounters. They lost to both Brazil and Zimbabwe by solitary goals in games they had plenty of chances. After both games, Rowe lamented the situation saying local strikers are missing easy chances they could have easily slotted in. Rowe also said football in Botswana is yet to catch up with the other leagues like the South African one. He gave an example that most strikers in the national team are scoring regularly for their respective teams but when it comes to the national team it becomes a disaster.