Monday, May 27, 2024

Botswana’s quest for first ever COSAFA tournament goes up in smoke

Despite taking the best possible players to the tournament and even taking young turks from the national under 23, Zebras Coach, Peter James Butler could not deliver the much needed result. Botswana was expected to at least reach the finals of the regional COSAFA tournament which most countries do not take seriously. But Botswana showed a deep rooted commitment to the tournament by denying the national Under 23 key players the chance to play who were supposed to be in action away against Zambia.
The match was for the African championships that will ultimately be the qualifications for Olympic Games next year in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil.
But from the two matches that Botswana played at the COSAFA, they managed only one goal. In the first match against South Africa, both teams played to a goalless draw in regular play time. It took the hand of God as they ended up winning 7-6 on penalties. In the second game Botswana lost 2-1 to Mozambique and it was the Under 23 wonder boy, Omaata Kebatho who scored the consolation goal. The two goals Zebras conceded left much to be desired. Botswana for a long time was renowned as a team with a stubborn and non compromising defence that used to put at bay even the best strikers in the world. Even after the match, coach, Butler was fuming and spitting fire saying the goals conceded were uncalled for.
On the other hand, Mozambique brought their young players that mesmerised Botswana’s experienced ones. Against Mozambique, Botswana only showed some impetus in the second half and their first half performance was uninspiring as they really looked like a team without shape or direction. Botswana was looking to win its first ever COSAFA tournament since its inception almost fifteen years ago. The furthest Botswana has reached is the semi-finals which was in 2007 when Botswana was eliminated by Zambia in Lusaka.
Botswana reached the semi-finals for the second time this year after eliminating South Africa. There was hope that Botswana would go all the way to the finals and eventually win the tournament. However, this was not to be as Mozambique looked hungrier and ferocious than Botswana. On a good note, Gaborone top marksman, Benson Shilongo scored two goals for his country Namibia.


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