Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Botswana humbles mighty Cameroon

If Botswana’s Under 23s’ performance against Cameroon at the ongoing Eight Nations Tournament last Wednesday in South Africa is anything to go by, the West African side must brace themselves for a tough encounter when the two sides meet latter this year for the Olympics qualifying games. For the entire game, the nimble footed Botswana side had towering Cameroonians huffing and puffing behind their shadows. Particular mention must go to the defence that was marshaled by Captain Mmusa Ohilwe.

It was an encounter that harks back to the biblical fight between the big hearted David and the mighty Goliath.

Interestingly, most local players, who are not even regulars in the squad, made their presence felt as they ran rings around the physically tough West Africans. Before meeting Botswana at the Eight Nations Tournament, Cameroon had an unassailable record and many people thought the Cameroonians were going to have an easy ride against lowly ranked Botswana. But it was not to be as Botswana slayed Cameroon, winning the game 1-0.

Last September, Cameroon beat Botswana’s senior team 1-0 during the independence celebrations. Cameroon also trounced Gabon 5-0 in an All Africa Games qualifier. About a month ago, Cameroon beat Guinea 6-0 in an Olympic Games qualifying match. It was the same time when Botswana lost 1-0 to Morocco.

The Cameroonians thought the game against Botswana would be just a stroll in the park but Botswana easily controlled the game in many areas. For that matter, Botswana’s goal was also not a fluke. It was a spectacular powerful shot from Kaone Molefhe, from just outside the eighteenth area, just a minute before halftime. On realising that the Cameroonian goalie was a bit off his line and instead of passing to the unmarked Tebogo Sembowa, Molefhe went for a goal. The goal earned Botswana respect from many South Africans who watched the game. When Botswana dictated the terms, especially in the first half, many people thought the Cameroonian team was a second string team. But The Sunday Standard can reveal that most of the players are the team regulars who have beaten many other teams by wide margins. Some of them are based overseas.

Cameroon assistant coach, Ndoumbe Bosso Emmanuel, confirmed to The Sunday Standard that the squad was almost complete. He said only three regular players were missing. Emmanuel said the Cameroonians underestimated Botswana.
Having proved that they can hold their own against the best, Cameroon must brace themselves for a tough Olympic qualifying game against Botswana. When time was running out for them and staring defeat in the face, Cameroon players resorted to dirty tackles and one of their players, Olle Olle Alain, who is based in Uruguay, was given his marching orders towards the end of the game. He had roughly tackled Boniface Makolo, who limped off the pitch.

On the other hand, most of the local players that featured in the game against Cameroon are not team regulars. Some of them were Joel Olerile, Molatedi Mabina and Kekaetswe Moloi. And they did not disappoint either. Ecco City player, Tebogo Sembowa, who was playing as a top man had a good game and easily eluded the Cameroon defence. But Kaone Molefhe was the one who was a thorn in the flesh for the Cameroonians.

Cameroon defenders just could not contain him.

Noah Maposa was back to his renowned form as he saved some dangerous balls which could have been goals. It would not be surprising if one of the Botswana players makes a move to a South Africa club.

The Botswana players also defied the chilling weather that hit Johannesburg. Had they not misused most of their chances, they could have won by a wider margin.

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The Telegraph September 30

Digital edition of The Telegraph, September 30, 2020.