Botswana’s national Under 23 road to next year’s Olympics continues to harden following Guinea’s surprise entry into the finals of the All Africa Games (AAG). Guinea, which is in the same group as Botswana for the Olympics, was considered the weakest but they have proved to be a force to reckon with. They lost their opening Olympic qualifier by 3-0 to Cameroon the same time Botswana lost by a solo goal to Morocco.
Coincidently, Guinea will play against the same Cameroon tomorrow (Monday) for the finals of AAG. Guinea was considered the dark horses at AAG games but has surprised many people by beating the favourites Tunisia and the hosts Algeria.
Cameroon, on the other hand, is on their way to defend the title they won four years ago. The finals of the AAG games show the intensity of the Olympic group which Botswana features in. Despite this, Botswana’s under 23 coach Major David Bright is unfazed. He told The Sunday Standard that they have never underestimated Guinea and he is not surprised that they qualified for the finals. Bright also added that the group is going to be exciting because anything can happen.
“The results at AAG games show that our group is really tough and anybody stands a chance to qualify for the Olympics. The more tight the group the more exciting it becomes. We will also go out there and fight because our opponents know that Botswana is not a walk-over. Also if the group is tough it is easier to plot for your opponents’ downfall,” he said.
Bright added that it might be easier for Botswana to defeat Cameroon next month because they might be burned out. He said Cameroon has been busy of late and it will not be long before Botswana hosts them. Bright said Cameroon just participated at the Sasol Eight Nations Tournament and now they are at the AAG games. Bright said, in such circumstances, the players can be prone to injuries.
Former Mogoditshane Fighters coach stressed that the four nations tournament in China, where Botswana have been invited, came at a better time because the team would be in good shape by the time they host Cameroon. He said immediately after the China tournament the team will host Cameroon.
Bright made it clear that he would not have any surprise inclusions in the team that is going to face Cameroon. He said most of the players that competed at the Sasol Eight Nations Tournament are the core of the team he is going to use in most of the coming games. The players likely to be added are Moemedi ‘Jomo; Moatlhaping, Phenyo ‘Mzambiya’ Mongala and Jerome Ramatlhakwane. Moatlhaping and Mongala are recuperating from injuries while Ramatlhakwane is reported to be in Cyprus. But Dirang Moloi is reported to have told Bright that he did not want to play for the junior teams.