Saturday, May 28, 2022

Nato to miss Malawian encounter

Rising and influential midfielder, Ofentse ‘Size 10′ Nato, will miss Sunday’s Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifier against Malawi.

Since sustaining injury against Notwane in a league encounter, Nato has not fully recovered.

Gaborone United’s youthful crafty midfielder played a pivotal role and helped Zebras qualify for their first ever appearance to 2012 AFCON to be co-hosted by Gabon and Equatorial Guinea.

Even though he bemoaned the absence of Nato, Coach Stanley Tshosane, however, expressed confidence that the available players will do the job. Another player who will be absent is Edwin Olerile of Township Rollers while BDF XI’s Patrick Motsepe faces a late fitness test.

Almost all South African-based players will be available for the encounter, meaning that the coach will have a bulk of his team.

Tshosane told Telegraph Sports that he is happy with the preparations for the match.

“Honestly, I cannot complain with our preparations. I believe I got what I have asked for from the Botswana Football Association. I long gave them my play and it was adhered to and I am optimistic that on Sunday we will collect maximum points against Malawi,” he said.

Even though the Zebras have already qualified and they will play for formality, coach Tshosane seems not interested in giving untested players a run for the match.

The match will be played at the new Lobatse Stadium for the first time in Zebras history. The stadium was closed after the finals of the Coca-Cola Cup because of poor pitch conditions.
Before press time, coach Tshosane was yet to inspect it.

The match, on the other hand, is vital for the visitors because they are fighting for the second spot with North Africans of Tunisia.

If the Flames of Malawi want to qualify for the second consecutive time they have to win it at all costs. Already there are reports that Malawi will be missing some of their experienced foreign based players because of injuries. The prominent one being Esau Kanyenda who is playing in Russia and Limbikani Mzava who is bound for South African premier league side, Bloemfontein Celtic. Others who will be missing is Swedish based Russel Mwafulirwa, Rwanda based Victor Nyirenda and even Captain Peter Mponda of Cape Town Santos.

Kanyenda can be remembered for his heroic exploits when he was still playing in South Africa for Jomo Cosmos and is one of the long serving Malawian players.

Both Malawi and Tunisia still have to play against each other in Malawi in a match that will definitely decide the team that accompanies the Zebras. This is so if Malawi does not pick three points against Botswana.

Tunisia are keeping their fingers crossed for Botswana to defeat Malawi because if they do not make it, it would be a huge embarrassment to the football mad nation.
Tunisia regularly qualifies for AFCON and even the World Cup.

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