Friday, April 3, 2020

BFA upbeat despite Afcon qualifier fixture changes

The Botswana Football Association (BFA) has saluted changes by the African football mother body, CAF, in rescheduling Afcon 2021 qualifiers.

The changes follow the deferment of the continental showpiece that was slated from June to July 2021 and now rescheduled back to January and February 2021 at the same venues.

The changes that came in this week following a meeting in Cameroon will witness qualifier games commencing in March this year instead of the initial matchday three and four that were expected to commence on the last weekend of August and first weekend of September 2020.

The changes will also witness match day five played in June with the last batch of matches set to be played in September this year instead of the initial November date.

Botswana is in Group H and will play Zambia on the 23rd of March away from home followed by a reverse encounter at home the following week. In June the Zebras will play Zimbabwe in a home encounter before finishing the campaign away from home against African champions Algeria. The Zebras are currently placed third in the log table after securing a single point in two matches.

The Zebras drew with Zimbabwe in their opener before going down one nil at home against the African champions. Algeria are top of the group after winning two matches against Chipolopolo of Zambia and the Zebras respectively. Neighbors Zimbabwe are placed second on the log table after pocketing four points following a draw at home against Botswana and winning away against former continental champions Zambia.

The Zambians are the only side without a point after losing two of their opener matches. In an interview with Sunday Standard, BFA mouthpiece Tumo Mpatane said they are ready for the changes and will do all their best to support the coach, technical team and players to adjust to the changes. ‘’There is nothing much to do but work hard in search of a qualifying berth at the championship. It is only a few months before the championship in Cameroon. The dates that were set initially for the Afcon cup have changed due to weather conditions and we have no choice but to prepare with an adjusted plan,’’ Mpatane told The Sunday Standard.

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