Several national team players who recently took part at the Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) are reported to be on their way out of the team to only concentrate on club football.
Names being mentioned are the likes of veteran goalkeeper, Modiri Marumo, Mogogi Gabonamong, Patrick Motsepe, Pontsho Moloi and Tshepo Motlhabankwe.
Diphetogo Selolwane long made it clear that he would be quitting international soccer after Afcon.
Some people wonder about the future of the Zebras because there will be another Afcon next year to be hosted by South Africa.
Indications are that there will not be enough time to find replacements for the retiring players.
On the other hand, other people are of the view that since age has already caught up with the concerned players, youngsters should be given a chance. Marumo played a crucial role for the team during the qualifiers and saved Botswana from defeat in several matches. However, he was a pale shadow of himself at Afcon and many supporters believe that he should have done better to stop several goals that went past him.
Gabonamong was once in self-imposed exile and Botswana won several qualifying matches without him. He came at a later stage and still played well.
Moloi also did not feature much in the qualifying matches for 2012 Afcon but the team still did well.
Motlhabankwe also lost a bit of form in the first few qualifying matches and by the time he came back he had to fight hard to earn his place back. At Afcon he was badly exposed and some of the goals the Zebras conceded were engineered from his side.
Former BDF XI and national team coach, Losika Keatholetse, told Sunday Standard that he is not surprised by the revelations that the concerned players want to leave. He said they no longer have the enthusiasm to play for the country and, in addition, they are also in the twilight of their careers. He said once the concerned players go, the national team is bound to suffer. “Several of our players are nearing the end of their careers and, as such, the coach should be brave enough to bring many youngsters. Obviously, that will come at a cost because the new players would have to gain international experience. It is a natural phenomenon of football that is affecting all countries. As Botswana, we should just focus on the 2015 Afcon and use the qualification for 2013 as a built up exercise,” he said.
However, a local coach, who preferred anonymity, stressed that coach Tshosane should make drastic changes to the team because many players are already old and cannot cope with the demand of international soccer. “Our third choice goalkeeper, Kabelo Dambe, was once given a run in a high profile friendly match against Nigeria before Afcon and did wonders as he made many brilliant saves and kept a clean sheet against the Nigerians. Mogakolodi Ngele was also given a run at Afcon and look at what he did in the last match against Mali; he scored a beautiful goal. These are the players who started from the junior teams and if coach Tshosane can take many of these youngsters, he can win with them. There are so many good players out there, like Bakang Moeng, Kgololo Leteane and others who can do the job,” he said.