Tuesday, May 26, 2020

From ridicule to national hero

A majority of Batswana and even some soccer pundits did not think that the Botswana Football Association (BFA) had made a wise move to hire Colonel Stanley Tshosane as the head coach of the senior national team, the Zebras. Others openly made their views known in the media chastising the BFA for lack of vision.

This was mainly because Tshosane had just left BDF XI after it nearly got relegated. BDF XI had to survive via the promotional playoffs to keep their Premier League status. To make matters worse, Tshosane roped in Kenneth Mogae to be his assistant and the latter’s team had just been relegated to the First Division.

The backlash for the two men was bad to the extent that some officials of so-called big teams did not properly cooperate with the two coaches and called them derogatory names.

That, however, did not deter Tshosane and Mogae who have since turned the fortunes of the national team around.

Nobody has ever achieved what they have done so far in the history of Botswana soccer. Their tutelage has led to famous victories the country has never seen before and, in turn, FIFA rankings skyrocketed also to positions never achieved before.

Botswana is currently on position 67 in the world and 13 in Africa. The tremendous improvement of Botswana in the FIFA rankings means that Botswana players can easily play at big leagues such as the English Premier League with ease. This is because the league demands that players’ countries of origin should be in the top 70.

Botswana is even on the verge of qualifying for their first ever appearance at the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations to be co-hosted by Equatorial Guinea and Gabon.

Tshosane told Sunday Standard that the reason the national team is doing well is because he has a cordial working relationship with his assistant, Kenneth Mogae and, as such, it makes things easy.
“Upon taking over the national team, I needed an assistant with whom I have a lot in common and Mogae was the right person for me. We made sure that the team stays united throughout and we have achieved that as the results speak volumes. We are also making sure that we are not affected by some negative comments that we always hear in this country; things are working well for us,” he said.

Tshosane also added that he was surprised by the people who questioned his credibility to lead the Zebras despite enormous achievements he had at BDF XI and even at the national team before.

“At BD XI, I won many trophies, including the league and the Coca-Cola tournament. I also took BDF XI to the African competitions where we beat teams from countries that were terrorising us. We once defeated Egyptian and Angolan sides in African club competitions and some people can still not recognize that,” he said.

Tshosane also added that he had a road map for the team upon taking over and most of the things worked well for him. He stressed that he had to rebuild the team by always calling as many players as possible and eventually coming up with a core of the current team.

“I used to have regular camps for the selection of the national team. I had to select the current team from as many as 50 players,” he said.

Botswana now needs to win at least a single match to be sure of qualifying for the 2012 AFCON. But Botswana can still make it without even kicking a ball provided near rivals, Tunisia and Malawi, drop points in their upcoming matches.

Botswana currently leads Group K with 13 points from five matches and only need three. Tunisia is in second position with seven points while Malawi follows with five.

Togo and Chad complete the group with three and two points, respectively.

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Sunday Standard May 24 – 30

Digital copy of Sunday Standard issue of May 24 - 30, 2020.