Tuesday, September 29, 2020

More tough opponents for Zebras

As the Zebras just finished playing a friendly game against Oceania champions, New Zealand, they once again face more test of character when they lock horns with another Asian giant in three weeks’ time.

Iran will be coming into Botswana for a match against the Zebras. There is also a strong possibility for them to play against China in September.

With all these friendly international games in place, the Zebras might earn invaluable exposure while keeping busy before the next official games.

Now news reaching Sunday Standard is that one of the countries taking part at the ongoing Confederations Cup in South Africa might visit Botswana for some days and even play a friendly match against the Zebras.

Bearing in mind that almost all top leagues in Europe are on a break, teams will be resuming their pre-season training soon after the tournament and some countries might take the opportunity to visit neighbouring countries, including Botswana.

The country that that has opened doors for Botswana is New Zealand, and other countries also want to experience what the All Whites had in Botswana.
Efforts to get comment from the BFA at the time of going to press proved futile.

Chiefs Executive Officer, Mooketsi ‘Tosh’ Kgotlele, could not be reached while communication and marketing officer, Phakamile Kraai could not shed any light.

In last week’s encounter against the All Whites, Botswana played very well and, had they taken their chances, they could have buried them under an avalanche of goals.

Players who were making their first caps were really outstanding. South African-placed and dribbling wizard, Phenyo Mongala, Gaborone United (GU)’s Ofentse Nato and BMC’s Mmusa Ohilwe, played like seasoned players and did not disappoint.

Mongala easily took head-on towering New Zealand defenders who struggled to deal with his well-placed pin-point crosses.

Ohilwe, on the other hand, was perfect on the right back despite him being naturally a sweeper.

But the player who impressed the most was GU’s Nato. Nato only played for the national Under 20 but at the senior team he fitted in well and even overshadowed veterans like Boitumelo Mafoko.

He marshaled the midfield well and intercepted All Whites’ dangerous moves and placed well-timed passes which, unfortunately, could not be converted by fellow strikers.

Even New Zealand coach, Ricki Herbet, sang praises for Botswana saying he did not expect such a splendid performance. He told Sunday Standard that if Botswana continues playing like they did against them they could be a force to reckon with in coming games. He, however, said his team played below par because he wanted to give each player a chance.

Meanwhile, Botswana’s national Under 20 team has been invited to Malaysia for exhibition games sponsored by Football4U. The games are for the Under 23s but Botswana will send the Under 20s, taking into consideration that the league in Botswana is still in full swing.

The BFA also wants to use the games as an opportunity to expose the youngsters.

The team will leave tomorrow (Monday) and return on Thursday.

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The Telegraph September 30

Digital edition of The Telegraph, September 30, 2020.