Despite performing dismally at the on-going Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon), Botswana’s national team, the Zebras, was given a heroes’ welcome by Batswana on Friday.
Many Batswana braved the scorching heat to greet the team at the University of Botswana stadium. Some supporters even went to the extent of meeting the team at the airport, despite earlier warning from the police not to do so to avoid traffic congestion.
But many Batswana went there to welcome the team and followed it all the way to the stadium. The spirits of Batswana definitely did not appear to have been dampened by the team’s poor showing at the tournament as they conceded nine goals in three matches and scored only two.
The mood among many Batswana is the belief that the team has a bright future because it went to Afcon for the first time.
“It is not easy at Afcon and as Botswana we tried our level best and scored two goals. Other countries that went there for the first time conceded a lot of goals and never scored. Also, teams that qualify for the first time never do well, so we went there to learn so that next time we are a better team. In good or bad times this is our team,” said one of the supporters, clad in full national colours.
National team coach, Stanley Tshosane, promised Batswana that as long as he is at the helm of the team, he will try by all means to bring positive results. He added that the tournament was a huge lesson for them and hopes it benefits the country in the long run.
Botswana lost all their three group stage matches in both Franceville and Libreville. They lost the first match to Ghana by a solitary goal and went on to be trashed 6-1 by Guinea with Selolwane scoring the country’s consolation goal.
In the last match, Botswana lost 2-1 to Mali and Mogakolodi Ngele scored Botswana’s only goal. Ngele’s goal is currently talk of the country and many people believe he is the country’s future prospect.
When the team arrived at the stadium, many supporters were chanting his name. Botswana’s next big assignment is the qualification for next year’s Afcon in South Africa and the 2014 World Cup to be held in Brazil.