The Botswana Football Association (BFA) is deeply concerned by the way Lesotho is handling the situation in which they have withdrawn from the Under 23 All Africa Games qualifier match that was scheduled for next weekend.
Lesotho withdrew from the games citing financial problems and is now reported to have made a-turn, something the BFA says is confusing considering that the match is only a few days away from being played.
According to the technical officer of the BFA, Losika Keatholetswe, if the game can proceed, it would be unfair to Botswana because the team is not prepared.
Keatholetswe said they did not call the team for camp early because they knew that their next encounter would be next year in February but against Angola.
“Some months back, Lesotho wrote to the Confederation of African Football (CAF) saying they would not be able to take part in the game. We then did not call our team for camp early. Just last week, we received a letter from CAF saying Lesotho had changed their minds and wanted to play.
CAF also said we must discuss the issue with Lesotho. In return, we wrote to CAF and told them we would not be able to play because we are not ready for the game. We are now waiting for CAF’s response,” he said.
Keatholetswe, however, emphasized that if CAF waved a play on, Botswana would oblige and play.
Keatholetswe also did not rule out foul play on the part of Lesotho. He said there was a possibility that Lesotho only wrote to CAF as a way of destabilising Botswana.
The game was scheduled to be played on December 16, but it is still not yet clear whether it will proceed. The Botswana team only reported for camp on Wednesday, they day after the Under 20 team left for South Africa. If the game goes on, it would mean Botswana only had one week to prepare for the encounter.
Nevertheless, even if Botswana could play Lesotho, they might still proceed to the next round, because the Botswana team is brimming with stars. Players like Dirang Moloi, who also plays for the senior national team, can terrorise even players from the world’s top leagues.
If Botswana proceed and play Angola in the second round, it would be second time lucky for local junior teams. The Namibian Under 17 team withdrew when they were supposed to play the young Zebras early in the year. It was, however, not easy in the following encounter where South Africa humiliated them by an aggregate score of 9-1.