Friday, August 12, 2022

Botswana Under 17s wallop Rwanda

Botswana’s national Under 17 team is one step closer to the tenth edition of the African youth championships to be held in Morocco next year.

This comes after the team beat one of Africa’s powerful countries, Rwanda, by a solitary goal at Molepolole Sports Complex on Friday.

The only goal of the match came via Allen Ndodole in the second half against the run of play. Rwanda had more possession for the most part of the match but poor finishing let them down.
If they do not win the second leg to be played in about a fortnight’s time, they will rue the missed chances in Botswana.

Botswana started well with some neat exchanges and build ups from the back. But lack of fire power upfront was their main undoing. One player who played his heart out and received accolades from supporters who thronged the Molepolole Sports Complex was the towering midfielder, Lebogang Ditsile who has many qualities a coach would want from a player.

Ditsile dictated terms in the midfield and his good physique helped put at bay most Rwandan players who are physically stronger than Batswana.

The real chance of the match came in the 26th minute after pintsized Thatayaone Ramatlapeng laid a beautiful pass to Tsotlhe Leshatla who shot wide with Rwandan goalkeeper, Ndayisenga Kassim, at his mercy.

The problem that persistently cropped up for Botswana was that Ramatlapeng was used as top man but his height was a disadvantage because many aerial balls his mates laid to him were easily thwarted by the tall Rwandans.

But it was a different story once Ramatlapeng was in possession. His pace and skill gave Rwandan defenders a big problem.

Ramatlapeng nearly gave Botswana the lead a minute before half time but squandered the chance with the goalkeeper well beaten.

Rwanda started the second half with more purpose but missed chance after chance. Mainly, the culprits were Iradukunda Bertrand and Nkinzingabo Fiston.

When Rwanda was enjoying the attacking game, the young Zebras caught them in a counter attack in the 52nd minute.

Ramatlapeng made a great run and laid a beautiful pass to Ndodole who made no mistake to put Botswana ahead. Two minutes later, Botswana made another counter attack but Leshetla once again fluffed.

Rwanda still did not give up and continued piling the pressure but Botswana defence stood firm and strong until the last minute.

Coaches for both teams vowed to fight hard in the second leg.

Kagiso Kobedi of Botswana told Sunday Standard that he will fight and fight hard in Rwanda.

“Rwanda has an organized youth league and regularly qualifies for both African and World Championships. But we did not respect them and fought to the last minute and got a goal. I am happy we also did not concede at home and that puts them under pressure to also not concede at home. If we can at least get a goal from them we would have an upper hand,” he said.

Meanwhile, Rwandan coach Tardys Richard bemoaned wasted golden opportunities and vowed to work harder when they get back home.


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