Preparations for the Women senior national football team, the Mares, towards the Total Energies Women’s Africa Cup of nations is on track.
The Botswana Football Association (BFA) has overcome financial obstacles which the team faced.
The dire need for money to prepare the team was a nightmare for the broke BFA. The 14th edition will be staged in Morocco from the 2nd July to the 23rd July. Twelve teams will battle it out for the continental supremacy.
The budget for the preparations stood at P7.2 million and it was a rough terrain for the BFA to secure the money to prepare and make the team ready for the continental competition. Local Sport governing body, Botswana National Sport Commission (BNSC) rescued the troubled association and forked out P6.6 million towards the Mares preparation budget.
This was revealed by BFA chief executive officer (CEO), Mfolo Edwin Mfolo in an interview with the Sunday Standard Sport.
“BNSC committed to take care of the needs of the Mares. We are delighted for them to have come on board to financially assist the team,” said the elated Mfolo.
He revealed that BNSC will cover the final training camp in Tunisia where the team is expected to go on around the 18th June. In Tunisia the team will play two friendly matches with teams that will be competing in the AFCON tournament.
According to Mfolo, it’s all systems goe=. “The plans are on track and we are hopeful that the coming training camps will also0 be smooth. Debswana, Orapa and Jwaneng mines have sponsored two training camps for the team to the tune of P500 000.00 according to the BFA’s Mfolo.
He implored more support from corporate world to come on board and support the team. “The support from the corporate world will come a long way in making the dreams of the team to be fulfilled. “The more companies come on board the more the players and technical team will be motivated. The corporate world can sponsor some supporters or media to Morocco so that events can be reported timely,” he observed.
The senior male national team, the Zebras, qualified for AFCON for the first time in 2012. Ten years later, the Mares qualified for the first time for the AFCON women tournament.
Mfolo said the BFA are in talks with the ministry to have Mares Fridays where the nation will be expected to wear the Zebras jersey on Fridays in support of the team. He further revealed that soon the Minister of Youth Empowerment, Sport and Culture Development will reveal the Mares 2022 AFCON slogan, “Walk with Mares to Morocco.”
Mares were expected to go to South Africa for a training camp but the technical team has since changed because the Zebras have drawn in the same group with South Africa, Banyana Banyana.
Mares coach, Gaoletlhoo Nkutlwisang, is happy with the preparations and remains focused on the tournament. “So far so good. Everything is on track. We take things as they come. We are in Orapa for training camp. I am working on team fitness and tactics,” she said. Nkutlwisang said they have organized two friendly matches over the weekend to play against Boteti select women team and Under 17 team.
From Orapa the team will go to Jwaneng on the 31st May for another two weeks training camp. The Jwaneng camp will be the last local camp before heading to Morocco.
BFA national executive committee women representative, Lobito Ncube, implored Batswana to rally behind the team and show support for the achievement of the girls. “The team has made us proud. They need support to go and make the nation proud.” Mares are in Group C with Burundi, Nigeria and South Africa.