Saturday, December 9, 2023

No cash for Diamond Zebras’ players

The Botswana Football Association (BFA) president, Tebogo Sebego, has lashed out at some people who suggest that the national Under-17 players should be given some incentives ahead of their crucial 2013 African Youth Championships’ qualifier against Algeria away in North Africa next weekend.

The Diamond Zebras were held to a 1-1 draw by the Algerians in Molepolole on November 16 and a win would see them qualifying for the continental showpiece billed for Morocco.

The local youngsters have been in unbelievable form in the qualifiers having beaten Malawi and Rwanda before reaching the final stage. Their run has made a lot of people stand up and take notice.

“People have to understand that this is a developmental team and there is no way we can give those youngsters money. Our duty is to ensure that they get proper training instead of disturbing them with other things (money). They should be capacitated and as for money it is not going to happen,” said Sebego.

He pointed out that ever since the Diamond Zebras started their campaign, the association has done their level best to ensure that they get the necessary support. He said he has even visited the team’s camp before their strides.

On other issues, Sebego said he was not aware that the team’s technical crew is not happy with their allowances. It is alleged that the technical team believes that the incentives they are getting are far from motivating.
“If the technical team is not happy about something, they should put their grievances in writing and give it to the technical director,” said Sebego.

The Diamond Zebras leave for North Africa on Tuesday with Batswana keeping their fingers crossed that the youngsters return home with positive results. The team departs early so that they can acclimatize since it is winter in Algeria. Despite the stalemate in Molepolole, coach Kaizer Kobedi remains confident that they can beat the Algerians in their own backyard.

The Diamond Zebras had to get the draw the hard way in the first leg as they played most part of the game with 10 men. It was Thatayaone Ramatlapeng’s goal which gave the young lads a lead but the Algerians cancelled it later.

“We did not know them (Algeria) in the first leg but now we’ve an idea what to expect,” said Kobedi.
There are concerns going into the game as the North Africans are always favoured by referees, especially when playing at home.

The following are the rest of the fixtures and first leg scores in brackets;

Tunisia vs Burkina Faso (1-2)
Cote d’Ivoire vs Senegal (1-1)
Congo vs Tanzania (0-1)
Benin vs Gabon (1-2)
Mali vs Nigeria (0-2)
Ghana vs South Africa (3-2)


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