Sunday, June 11, 2023

Butler starts on a high note but…..

In his first interaction with local scribes, Butler promised that his side would play an entertaining brand of football.

The game against lowly-ranked South Sudan presented the fans an opportunity to go and observe if Butler’s charges would live to the expectations.

The Zebras showed some signs of brilliance throughout the midweek game but the East Africans did not provide the kind of test one would have expected.

Having arrived six hours before kick off, South Sudan looked out of sorts and never threatened Zebras’ first choice goalkeeper Kabelo Dambe.

If it was not for poor finishing from the local lads, the Sudanese could have gone home buried in avalanche of goals.

A 3-0 win sounds convincing but the Zebras could have done better. Butler has received lots of praises as many believe he has brought the kind of flair they have long missed to the team.
Across the social networks, the Englishman was hailed for bringing hope to the nation which was slowly losing interest in the national team.

Batswana celebrated the victory as if the Zebras had qualified for a major tournament.

The main question is, did Sudan give the Zebras the kind of resilience needed in international football?

The answer is No. Butler admits that there is still a long road to go if the Zebras are to be at the level he wants to see.

In his post-match interview, it was clear that he was happy with the result but not overall performance.

“The win is very important to us more so that we did not know anything about them. All we knew is that they are a big and strong side. People have to know that we’re starting on a clean slate and we’ve got a lot ahead,” he said.

Butler added that he wants his side to play exciting and disciplined football and he was satisfied with the way some of the debutants expressed themselves.

“I know we can (play entertaining football) and the future looks bright for Botswana football,” added Butler who had two days to prepare the team. Butler had special praise for Under-20 internationals, Keorapetse Seloiso, Unobatshwa Mbaiwa and Kelelelo Kgosimore who were given senior debuts against the East Africans.

“Young boys showed willingness and it was good for them to get a run at this level,” he said.
Though the visitors lacked a killer punch, the Zebras’ defence looked vulnerable when pressed on a few occasions.

If the locals could have met a more organised side, Dambe could have been called to duty on several occasions.

Butler hardly sat down as his side pushed for an early goal against a Sudanese side which landed in the country six hours before kick off.

It took more than 30 minutes for the local side to unlock the visitors and it was stand-in captain Joel Mogorosi who converted from an acute angle. Mogorosi doubled the lead few minutes later to take the Zebras into a 2-0 lead at the break.

Substitute Ofentse Nato wrapped up the game with a beautiful strike in the 78th minute.

Uniao Flamengo Santos’ assistant coach Parker Mampori said the Zebras got off to a good start under Butler considering that they were a number of new faces in the team.

While he admits that South Sudan were weak, Mampori said that the Zebras needed a confidence booster.

“It would have not been fair to have looked for a stronger opposition considering that we’re on a rebuilding process. Under the circumstances, I believe the team did well. I was impressed by (Leutwetse) Tshireletso and Otlaantshekela (Mooketsi) because I’ve long believed that they deserve call-ups,” said Mampori.

Former Zebras’ striker Mmoni ‘States’ Segopolo warned Batswana against being carried away by the result. He said it is too early to make demands and called for the nation to rally behind the coach. “There are lots of challenges coming our way and we should be able to rally behind the team. The game against South Sudan has given the coach a chance to introduce his style of play to the nation.

The game showed us that if we could have met a tougher opposition we could have cracked. We need to prepare thoroughly for the qualifiers (2015 African Nations Cup),” said Segopolo.


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