Botswana Rugby Union (BRU) president, Elijah Jones, has dismissed reports by a Zambian newspaper that they were hostile towards the Zambian national team. On Wednesday the Zambian tabloid The Post reported that the Zambian delegation, which is in Botswana to participate in the ongoing Confederation of African Rugby (CAR) Group 1C championships, had complained of hostile treatment that they suffered at the hands of the hosts ahead of their clash against Mauritius on Wednesday.
The report said Botswana failed to provide transport for the Zambian team to the training venue for two days, Monday and Tuesday, before their games against Mauritius on Wednesday. In response Jones told Sunday Standard that the allegations made on the Zambian newspaper were not true. He said Zambia did not train on Monday and Tuesday because the driver who was supposed to pick them arrived late and made them miss their training schedule.
“The driver who was designated for Zambia did not pick them on time at Oasis Motel. The visiting countries have different slots for training as there is a shortage of training grounds. It’s a pity that Zambia had to miss training because the driver was late,” said Jones.
He said it was an honest mistake that resulted in Zambia missing their training schedule.
“We are also running short of transport. We have apologised to the Zambians and there is no problem,” he said.
In the report, Zambia accused Botswana of playing mind games saying they (Botswana) want to frustrate their chances of qualifying. Botswana’s Vultures met Zambia in a decider on Saturday. The Zambian delegation was quoted in the Zambian media saying the hosts started behaving strangely after they (Zambia) beat Nigeria 30-20 in their opening game. Before yesterday’s decider, Zambia won their two games 30-20 against Nigeria and 54-17 against Mauritius. Botswana on the other hand beat Swaziland 87-0 and lost 47-9 against a South African club, Impala.
Before going to press, Zambia, Mauritius and Botswana were tied at 5 points each while Impala was on top with 10 points. Swaziland was at the bottom and had not gained a point. To keep their hopes of qualifying for 1B of CAR, Vultures hoped that Impala would beat Mauritius by a convincing margin of points on Saturday. However, Botswana would have to make sure that it doesn’t lose against Zambia.