Inexperience and lapses in concentration derailed the Botswana rugby team’s campaign at the Africa Youth Games (AYG), as the team went off to a poor start with losses to Namibia and Tunisia. Namibia proved too hot to handle for Botswana in their first AYG encounter, hammering the hosts 33-7. Team Botswana went on to lose 19-0 to Tunisia in their second game.
In a post match interview, team manager Thutego Segaisi said the boys lost because they did not play as a unit and lacked experience.
“We lost badly with big margins. But that is not our main concern at the moment. We want to gain experience in these games,” he said.
Botswana held their ground in the first half of their game against Namibia and the game went for half time with the score at 10-7 as the Namibians led by two tries. However, Team Botswana lost their bearings in the second half, failing to score and conceding five tries. The loss was a great disappointment for Botswana’s flying winger Matlho Morapedi who made a few promising attempts but lacked support from his teammates. Morapedi came close to scoring for his country several times, but was hampered by the impregnable Namibian defence. Segaisi rued the lost chances after the game, saying the players lacked team spirit as everyone was playing for himself.
“The players showed inexperience because everyone wanted to be the guy who scored first. Honestly, this was a bad loss and we brought it on ourselves,” said Segaisi.
The game against Namibia was played using the sevens format, where teams play for seven minutes in two halves. Botswana also put up a sterling display in the first half of their game against Tunisia, conceding only one try. The boys were very aggressive on defence and matched the Tunisians pound for pound. However all hell broke loss in the second half.
The Tunisians came hard on Botswana in the last seven minutes, scoring two tries and two penalties with no reply from Botswana. In a post match interview, Segaisi said the boys were undone by impatience as they were all in a hurry to score first. He said they will need to go back to the drawing board to re-organise the team and bolster attacking power. Against the Tunisians, Botswana was unable to absorb pressure and build up their attack. Their aggression and technical ability was no match for the more experienced Tunisians who easily parried Botswana’s attempts to cross the line and score a try.