Sunday, March 3, 2024

Nkutlusang not overawed by Mares’ Awcon finals debut prospect

Senior Women national team coach, Gaoletlhoo Ronaldo Nkutlusang is adamant that national team will make a positive impact on its Africa Women Cup of Nations (Awcon) finals debut.

Nkutlwisang said she is not overawed by the prospect of her maiden appearance at the continent biggest women championships as she leads a team that is self-motivated to bring results home.

She described herself as a strong woman who is eager to learn and does not fear any environment because it is the only way to grow. At the end of the tournament, she wants Botswana to be remembered by all in Africa to have made impact in their first participation at AWCON.

“It will be my first time together with the team to compete in the AWCON finals and we are determined to compete. We will not be going there to honour the games,” a confident Nkutlusang said.

According to her there is nothing that they are taking for granted hence they have started preparations in earnest as they are resolute in putting a performance that will make the local supporters happy.

“We will be travelling to Zambia for two international friendly matches with the Zambian national team on the 29th April and the 2nd of May. The games are part of a string of friendly matches that we have planned for before we depart to Morocco. We are expecting four more international matches prior our departure,” she explained.

Nkutlusang further explained that she expects Botswana Football Association (BFA) to arrange for a camp in one of the neighbouring countries to Morocco as a way to help the team to acclimatise.

Asked what her target in the coming AWCON, she said she is ‘waiting for the draw that will be conducted on the 29th April.’ “I can only comment on the target after that,” she said.

The determined coach is expecting Botswana’ international players to join the team in the coming international friendly matches so that she can also monitor their performances and fitness. The Mares mentor is also keeping her fingers crossed that some national team players who are nursing injuries from domestic leagues will be available for the coming assignments.

On the mood in the camp ahead of the Awcon finals, Nkutlusang had this to say; “Ever since the team qualified the mood in the camp has been positive and the players are working hard for the historic appearance at the continental highest showpiece.”

“Preparations are going well and I am happy as the coach that the BFA leadership is doing all to support the team. So far, they have been following our plan/schedule and honouring the programme” she said.

In the past the BFA was accused of neglecting the Mares despite the fact that they were doing better and bringing positive results home. The qualification seems to have changed BFA leadership attitude towards the women national team.

The top four teams from the tournament will qualify for the world cup in Australia and New Zealand.

The 14th edition will be hosted by Morocco from the 2 July – 23rd July 2022.


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