Gaborone United (GU) have refused to release five of their players for the Zebras’ camp which started last Sunday.┬á
The Zebras are in camp preparing for the international friendly game against Zimbabwe in Harare on Wednesday night. GU goalkeeper Noah Maposa, Tebogo Sembowa, Alphonse Modisaotsile, Jackie Mothatego and Tebogo Sebina were all called by national team coach Stanley Tshosane but the Reds have not released them.
Confirming the reports, GU secretary, Herbert Letsebe, said that there is no way they can release their players when they are busy preparing for their CAF Confederations Cup preliminary tie against Liga Muculmana of Mozambique on February 16 in Gaborone.
“We have decided to keep our players because we’re at a critical stage of our preparations. We’re only left with two weeks of preparations and the technical team has come up with a training programme, which will ensure that we get ready for the CAF game,” said Letsebe.
He pointed out that if they were to release their players for the national team camp, they risk things like injuries, which might jeopardize the outcome of the first leg which they need to win.
“We feel that the friendly against Zimbabwe came at a wrong time when we fully focused on our tie.
I think it is important for the national team people to understand where we are coming from,” he added.
GU make a return to continental club championships after their impressive run almost three years ago when they claimed the scalp of South African giants Orlando Pirates. GU qualified for the Confederations Cup after winning the Coca-Cola Cup last year, beating Mochudi Centre Chiefs.
GU coach David Bright shared the same sentiments with his boss that there is no way he can let his players join the Zebras’ camp.
“I need to have all my players here when preparing. After all there would be no need of going through the programme we have set up,” said Bright on Friday morning before they travelled to South Africa where they were going to feature in a four-team tournament.
On the other hand, Chiefs said that they would release their players to the national team despite taking part CAF Champions League the same weekend as GU. Chiefs, who are national champions, visit another Mozambican side Maxaquene in Maputo on February 16.
“This is a FIFA sanctioned friendly game so we thought it is in the best interest of the country to let them go for camp. While we would also like to focus on our preparations, the national pride is also important. When they return from Zimbabwe, we’ll no longer let any of our players go for Zebras’ camps unless we do not have an important clash coming up,” said Chiefs’ chairman Ernest Molome.
Chiefs have six players called for national duty namely: Lesego Galenamotlhale, Phenyo Mongala, Mompoloki Sephekolo, Thabiso Khunwane, Kekaetswe Moloi and Galabgwe Moyana.
Chiefs have been involved in friendly games against South African Premier League sides which saw them losing 4-0 and 3-0 to Kaizer Chiefs and Supersport United, respectively. Tshosane is said to be a frustrated man as GU and Chiefs’ players form the core of his team. He has accused the Botswana Football Association (BFA) of not doing enough to help him in preparations for the upcoming 2014 World Cup qualifier against Ethiopia in March.