While every Motswana is celebrating the national Under-17’s recent showing in the 2013 African Youth Championships qualifiers against Malawi and Rwanda, coach Kaizer Kobedi is a worried man.
Ahead of the third round clash against Algeria at Molepolole Sports Stadium on November 16, Kobedi said that his camp is disturbed by the “vultures” that are hovering over his camp.
It is reported that some of the Premier League clubs’ officials are frequenting the camp promising his players heavens if they were to join their sides. Some officials are understood to have gone to the players’ parents with some fat cheques in a bid to lure them to their camps.
This, according to Kobedi, is disturbing the youngsters as they need to focus on qualifying for next year’s continental showpiece.
“There is no doubt that this is a talented team but our officials should put the nation’s interest first. They (club officials) should let these boys focus on our game against Algeria rather than disturbing them with money. It is not right for the clubs to be fighting for these youngsters because they’ll easily lose focus. I find it unethical,” said Kobedi.
The exploits of the youngsters in the qualifiers have made the rest of the country to praise them and tip them as the future Zebras. Despite the challenges they are facing going into the game against Algeria, Kobedi promised that his technical team would do their best to ensure that they outclass the North Africans.
“Our preparations have already started after we took a break to let the youngsters write the exams. We do not have a full squad yet but I’m confident that in the coming week, we’ll have all the players here,” he added.
Kobedi said that beating the Algerians at home would make their job easier ahead of the second leg, which is scheduled for December 1. The former Mochudi Centre Chiefs’ gaffer hinted that they will have to increase their speed because the Algerians enjoy knocking the ball around.
“Though I can’t give away too much about our game plan, I think our main weapon is going to be individual skills. The North Africans fare badly against skilful players,” he said.
He urged Batswana to come in large numbers to rally behind the team, saying at this level of the qualifiers, the team needs the support of every Motswana just like the senior team.
“These boys need a lot of support because they have shown what they can do with Batswana fully behind them. We don’t need people who would come there (Molepolole Stadium) and put the boys under unnecessary pressure,” he said.
Acting Botswana Football Association chief executive officer, Tariq Babitseng, said it would be unfortunate if there are clubs that are disturbing the youngsters at this crucial stage.
“This team is our future and there is need to protect them. Though the issue has not been reported to us, our clubs need to understand that there are procedures which need to be followed in recruiting these youngsters,” said Babitseng.
He pointed out that preparations for the game are at an advanced stage. Kick off for the game is 5pm and entrance is free.
“I would like to appeal to the public to go out there and support the boys in large numbers hence the entrance is free,” he said.