Botswana National Under 17 women team’s dream of qualifying for the World Cup is hanging by a thread. The local lasses suffered a debilitating 7 – 0 defeat away to Tanzania this past weekend in the first leg of the two-legged African qualifiers.
While the team is brimming with talent, the heavy defeat at the hands of the Tanzanians means the ladies will have a mountain to climb if they are to overturn the deficit and advance.
Given the recent upturn of fortunes for the women’s national teams however, it is safe to say coach Oaitse Moeti’s charges will still want to give it their all in a return match in a fortnight.
As much as there was optimism when the team departed for Tanzania this past week, the loss is also a reflection of the lack of adequate preparation. The national team travelled to Tanzania without having any international friendly match to test the readiness of the team.
Commenting on the first leg performance, Botswana Football Association mouthpiece Tumo Mpatane said while the defeat was chastening, they are optimistic that ‘the coach and the team will come back, regroup and make us understand what we can do right in the course of having a better performance in the second game.’
The BFA spokesperson said the association is hopeful of a better performance and result in the return leg to be played at Obed Itani Chilume Stadium in Francistown on the 20th March. “If we learn from our mistakes, we can have better display,” said the optimistic Mpatane.
He observed that for the second leg, the girls need support from the nation to do better. “Yes, the girls need us more than ever. We must be part of the process and fully support the girls,” he pleaded.
Mpatane further said “the cost of development comes with such days but we must understand the long-term goal of the team.”
The local lasses travelled to Tanzania with high hopes derived from the senior women national team maiden qualification into the Africa Cup of Nations. The senior women eliminated Zimbabwe to make a debut in the coming Morocco Senior Women Africa Cup of Nations. The historic qualification in the continental showpiece is expected to change perception on women football and start to have more recognition and support from football leaders.
Obed Itani Stadium remains BFA’s favourite venue to host international matches because of the patronage they gat from northerners who always throng the stadium to give their teams maximum support.