The Botswana┬á Football Association (BFA) has assured the nation they will fully support coach Stanley Tshosane as the senior national team head for their maiden appearance at the African Nations Cup (AFCON) scheduled for Equatorial Guinea and Gabon in January next year.
Despite Tshosane making history by guiding the Zebras to the AFCON finals, there are some people who believe that his lack of prior experience at Africa’s premier soccer event might prove both his and the Zebras’ undoing.
Some Batswana told The Telegraph a more experienced coach would be needed to work with Tshosane at the African showpiece. Even at the media briefing in Gaborone on Monday morning, the issue cropped up, when one journalist asked whether Tshosane is not worried about his lack of experience.┬á
Tshosane’s contract with BFA comes to an end next year and president David Fani has made it clear that they would like to continue with him beyond AFCON finals.
“He has performed beyond our expectations and though we’re still going to discuss it as the National Executive Committee (NEC) level, I don’t have any problem with the coach continuing with the job when his contract expires,” Fani said on national television on Saturday afternoon.
After so many trials and errors, the Zebras became the first country out of the qualifiers to book their place at the games, joining the two hosts. The other 13 places will be competed for in the remaining three qualifiers which are expected to come to an end towards the end of the year.
Speaking at the media briefing, Tshosane said that he is not worried by the fact that he has never coached at the continental games and believes that his experience can do him wonders.
He pointed out that when the qualifiers started, nobody gave his side a chance of making it out of the group and rated Tunisia, Togo and Malawi above Botswana.
“Many thought that we’ll battle with Chad for positions 4 and 5 but we outdid ourselves and qualified without a single loss. We shocked many people so we should remain patient and continue to improve,” he said.
Tshosane reminded the journalists that as coaches they benchmark a lot. He said during the last African Cup of Nations which was held in Angola, he shared notes with a number of coaches and he believes that will help him achieve his dream. “We’re still learning and we’re going to do our best before the games. I would also like to tell you that as much as people praise me, this job (coaching Zebras) is not a one-man show. There are lots of people who have contributed to the success of the team, starting with the cleaner here at Lekidi,” he said.
Tshosane further told the briefing that the qualification was not a fluke as most people want to believe. He said that it has been a rough ride for his charges but at the end they managed to qualify, a goal which they set for themselves at the start of the qualifiers.
He admitted that starting the qualifiers away to Tunisia on July 1, 2010 helped a lot because he had all players available because the World Cup was ongoing in South Africa. “We managed to prepare thoroughly as we had all our local and international-based players in camp,” he said.
Responding to his side’s inability to be ruthless in front of the goal, Tshosane said that he is not worried as results have been coming. During the Group K qualifiers, the Zebras failed to score more than two goals. The fact that most of the victories were by 1-0 margins alarm many in the football fraternity.
Since the qualifiers started, the Zebras have netted seven goals in six games and conceded two goals. Five of the goals came from marksman Jerome Ramatlhakwana, with Joel Mogorosi and Phenyo Mongala scoring the other two goals.
“If you’ve been following me during my career from BDF XI, I’ve seven gold and four silver medals. I’ve never scored more than five goals and conceded three goals. So I believe you should stick to the winning formula,” the coach said. The Zebras’ next qualifier will against Malawi in Gaborone on June 5. They will wrap up the fixtures with an away match against Togo on September 3.