Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Demands for drastic changes in Zebras camp

On Friday, Batswana gave the senior national team a heroes’ welcome despite losing all their three group matches at Afcon.

Surprisingly, he team even lost heavily against Guinea, by six goals to one, but that did not deter the supporters who thronged the University of Botswana Stadium in their numbers.

The matches, however, brought out many questions regarding certain players in the team. Some supporters and soccer experts believe that changes must be made to the team since some players cannot cope with the demand of international soccer, especially those who are above 30.

Others, however, feel that any change in the team must be done cautiously since it could be dangerous.

Already it is only Diphetogo Selolwane who has announced his retirement from international soccer.
Some of the players who had a very bad run at the tournament include the likes of goalkeeper Modiri Marumo and Tshepho Motlhabankwe.

Marumo had an illustrious display during qualifying campaign for Afcon where, in most matches, he saved Botswana from the jaws of defeat. Motlhabankwe, on the other hand, did not play in some of the early matches and came on in the latter stages and performed well.

Football analyst, Fobby Radipotsane, told Telegraph Sports that changes must be made to the team but stressed that caution should be exercised. He said the coach should not be quick to make radical changes because it could back fire.

“Obviously, there are some players that are in the twilight of their careers and, as is the norm in any other sport, they will pave way for some youngsters. However, experience in football does not come overnight; you have to go step by step. Those players who are professionals are the ones we should not rush to replace because they are bringing a lot of positives in the team,” he said.

Radipotsane added that the coach must make changes to the team looking at what he learned at Afcon and what is needed at the forthcoming edition of both qualifications for both the 2013 Afcon and the 2014 World Cup. However, one soccer expert who preferred anonymity made it clear that several players in the national team have passed their sell-by date and the coach should make drastic changes.

“There are many good upcoming young players in this country. When given an opportunity, they never disappoint. It is time the coach uses those players time and again or else it will always be a ‘so near but yet so far situation’,” he said, but refusing to divulge the names of the players, only stressing that several players should not even be called to the next camp of the Zebras because their time is up.

“I do not want to name such players because I might be seen as victimizing them. But, honestly, everybody saw at Afcon that those players do not deserve to be there. We have to build for the future right now,” he said. One of the prominent countries Botswana is going to face in the World Cup qualifying matches is neighbouring South Africa.

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The Telegraph September 30

Digital edition of The Telegraph, September 30, 2020.