Botswana teams face the prospect of early elimination in the first round of Africa club competitions. Both teams that represent Botswana lost away to South Africa and Zimbabwe respectively without scoring a single goal. Champions, Mochudi Centre Chiefs, were thrashed 3-0 by Zimbabwean giants, Dynamos in the African confederations tournament while Gaborone United (GU) were beaten 2-0 by South African side, Super sport United. The results mean that Botswana teams face a mammoth task of overturning the deficit in two weeks time.
The same Zimbabwean side beat GU few years back 4-1 in Harare and GU failed to overturn the score-line as they only managed a 1-0 victory. For GU to progress to the next round, they have to score three goals provided Super-sport United does not score.
Centre Chiefs on the other hand have to also score four goals, provided Dynamos does also not score a single one. If it happens that both Dyanmos and Supersport score in Botswana, then local teams would even have a huge mountain to climb.
The dismal performance by the two teams also shows that local teams have to do a lot to challenge for honours in African competition. No local team is yet to reach the group stages of African competitions and the teams from North and West Africa are the ones that are normally in control.
On the other hand, former acting Technical Director, Philmon Makhwengwe, told The Telegraph Sports that local teams never do well because of ill-preparedness.
He said regardless of the quality of opponents, if local teams start taking preparations seriously they would make a huge impact in Africa.
“One has to be prepared technically, tactically and even mentally to conquer Africa. I can bet with you that if our teams can prepare very well they can match teams that control club African teams,” he said.
Makhwengwe emphasised that the standard of Botswana’s league might be lower compared to those of some African countrries, but it does not have much effect.
Another former, coach and Technical Director, Losika Keatlholetswe told The Telegraph Sports that perceptions towards football in Botswana is the main undoing.
“Honestly speaking perceptions towards football in Botswana and in West and North Africa are different. Football is taken seriously in North and West Africa and it is more like a religion. You will find that even in a community and social gatherings football is given utmost attention. This is not the case in Botswana and we will continue to be behind many countries if we do not change our perceptions,” he said.
Keatlholetswe added that in some countries the national team budget is from the highest office in land, being the Presidency. He said in such an environment it is easy for the country to flourish.