The Botswana U17 Ladies football team coach, Olorilwe Mogapi has admitted his team faces a Herculean task if they are to pass into the next round of the Ladies U17 World Cup Qualifiers. He was speaking in a post match interview after his team suffered a 2ÔÇô1 defeat at the hands of Namibia this past Sunday at the National Stadium.
Goals from Kylie van Wyk and Ignacia Haoses, each side of Lesego Radiakanyo’s goal were enough to give Namibia a huge advantage ahead of the teams’ second leg encounter billed for Namibia.
“It is going to be a very difficult job overturning this deficit in Namibia. What makes it even more difficult is the fact that we only have one week to prepare for the game,” Mogapi explained. Against Namibia on the day, the coach said his team never played according to instructions. While Botswana started brightly, carving out two decent chances within the first ten minutes of the game, they were however found wanting both in front of goal and in defence as the game wore on. Botswana’s first chance came as early as the third minute when Esalenna Galekhutle set Radiakanyo on goal, only for the striker to shoot slightly wide.
Radiakanyo then carved herself another opportunity on the tenth minute, as she danced her way past two Namibian defenders, only to undo all her good work as her strike hit the side netting. From then on, it was Namibia who took the cue and went in search of a goal, with the trio of Kylie van Wyk, Haoses and Beverly Uueziua causing the Botswana defence all kinds of problems. Botswana girls were unlucky not to be a goal behind on the 12th minute as Haoses’ strike hit the bar. Namibia then went on to take a well deserved lead in the 35th minute as Kylie van Wyk netted from Uueziua’s assist. Having stolen a ball from Botswana on the Namibian side of the half, Uueziua drove across the centre line before setting Kylie van Wyk on goal with a through ball. The striker outran her markers, beat the onrushing Botswana goalkeeper Kemo Baganne and easily tucked in the game’s opening goal. The goal seemed to spread panic in Botswana’s technical bench who immediately hauled off Theo Keselebale and replaced her with Letso Botlhale. Botswana then found their equaliser on referee’s added time with an opportunistic strike from Radiakanyo.
The striker pounced on a loose ball after Namibian keeper Queandra Kasume Batista had fluffed a routine catch to score Botswana’s only goal and ensure both teams went to recess with a goal each. As with the first half, Botswana started the brighter of the two sides in the second stanza but there was nothing to show for it. While both sides created a few half chances in the half, neither could score. Namibia would however reassume their lead in the 84th minute as Haoses, who found herself at the end of a through ball, netted past Baganne to give Namibia a win ahead of the second leg of the encounter. Commenting on the match, Namibian coach Mervin Teles Mbirinao Mbakera said while happy with the win, her team cannot afford to relax ahead of the two sides’ next encounter.
“As you know, this is a two legged game and this was the first leg. We did what we were supposed to do but we will remain humble until the job is really done. We cannot afford to make any mistakes because Botswana is good,” Mbakera opined. The coach said to win the game, her charges had to show a lot of character, more especially after Botswana drew level on the stroke of half time. He said going into the second leg of the encounter, the team will be working hard on a few mistakes they identified during their win over Botswana.
Starting Line Ups:
Botswana: Kemo Baganne, Theo Keselebale, Game Ramotati, Segolame Kampedi, Cassandra Zulu, Esalenna Galekhutle, Kamogelo Omphile, Michelle Abueng, Lesego Radiakanyo, Leungo Senwelo, Boipelo Mpona
Namibia: Lucinda Queandra Kasume Batista, Veronica van Wyk, Anna Shaende, Ndapewa Sjandre Pieters, Helena Shuumbwa, Beverly Uueziua, Asteria Selma Angula, Mbitjitandjambi Mungunda, Ignacia Haoses, Ivone Irene Kooper, Christophine Hanse.