The national Under 23 coach, Daniel ‘Chicco’ Nare, is leaving no stone unturned for the return leg against Namibia in about two weeks for the Olympic qualifying Games.
Botswana unconvincingly won the first leg by a solitary goal, courtesy of Ofentse Nato.
The young Zebras’ performance did not even satisfy Nare who told Sunday Standard that he wants a full strength squad. He said the team lacked fire power upfront and is hopeful that all the players will be available.
“We had serious problems in the first leg here at home. We did not even take full advantage of the home ground as we only managed one goal. However I hope two prolific strikers, Mogakolodi Ngele and Aubrey Kebonnetse will be available,” he said.
Nare, who also coaches Extension Gunners, said the Botswana Football Association (BFA) assured him that the US-based Kebonnetse will be available because he is fully fit.
“Before the Namibian encounter, I talked to the BFA and even Kebonnetse’s coach. Unfortunately he could not make it because his coach told me that he was carrying an injury,” he said.
Kebonnetse, together with troubled Santos hitman, Mogakolodi Ngele made a formidable partnership from the under 17 to 20. Ngele has been subject of a tug of war between his team and Township Rollers. Santos ended up suspending him pending the outcome of the case. The case has since been resolved but the player is still in a limbo.
“I personally wrote a letter to Santos to plead with them to avail Ngele to the national Under 23. I told them that for the sake of football Ngele was highly needed at the Under 23. They even acknowledged receiving the letter but told me that they cannot help me until the case is resolved. To my knowledge, I believe that the case is over and all the parties concerned should quickly sit down and resolve the matter because it is a national call,” he said.
Nare also added that the other challenge he is facing is the upcoming Under 20 COSAFA tournament that will be held in Botswana. He said most of the players in the national Under 23 also qualify for the Under 20 and this could derail his preparations for the return leg. He said he is yet to sit down with the BFA to sort everything out before it is late.
The Olympic qualifications games remain the only hope for the Junior Zebras at continental level because the BFA failed to register other junior teams for African championships.