The Botswana Football Association (BFA) technical team has finally bowed to pressure and recalled key players who were previously ignored by national team coach Peter James Butler. One notable player who was recalled was striker Jerome Ramatlhakwana who is based in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Ramatlhakwana was omitted from the official game against Burundi which Botswana won by a solitary goal. Even though Botswana won the game, it was evident that the team was very thin up front.
At some point, Coach Butler even told the media that Ramatlhakwana’s international days were over and said he would not consider him for future national duty. Reports indicate that this statement rubbed the BFA the wrong way and the top brass had to haul in the coach to voice their displeasure. After the meeting, at which Ramtlhakwana’s international record was reviewed, the BFA technical team had to swallow its pride and admit that they had a crisis at the striking department. Ramtlhakwana was thus recalled.
“Everyone was shocked to hear Butler saying those words about Ramatlhakwana. The coach is new in the country and he still has to fully understand the perimeters of football before making such outrageous remarks. Whether he likes it or not, he needs Ramatlhakwana up front and the game against Burundi made all of us eat humble pie,” said a source.
Ramatlhakwana is a hero in Botswana because of his feats at the Zebras. He single handedly helped Botswana qualify for the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations and was among the leading goal scorers in the whole continent. Even before game against Burundi, Butler lashed out at some senior players who refused to honor late call ups after they were initially omitted from the national team. BFA had to intervene and it is not known whether the two parties found common ground. By the time of going to press, the BFA Technical Director could not be reached.
Next month Botswana will play Guinea Bissau in a qualifying game for the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations. The winner will then join the group of death that includes Senegal, Tunisia and Egypt. On Tuesday, Botswana will play a friendly against Tanzania as part of preparations for Guinea Bissau. Tanzania is proving to be an emerging force in African football, after defeating Zimbabwe in the qualifiers. With the exception of Ramatlhakwana, most of the players who have been called for national duty are local. Eight players from Township Rollers have been included in the squad, seven from BDF XI, three from Gaborone United, two from both Police XI and Mochudi Centre Chiefs and one each from BMC, Extension Gunners and Nico United.
ÔÇóMwampole Masule -Township Rollers
ÔÇóBokamoso Moeba -Police XI
ÔÇóNoah Maposa -Gaborone United
ÔÇóWagare Dikago -Extension Gunners
ÔÇóLeutlwetse Tshireletso -Township Rollers
ÔÇóObuile Ncenga -Township Rollers
ÔÇóOtlantshekela Mooketsi -Township Rollers
ÔÇóKatlego Masole -Police XI
ÔÇóPelontle Lerole -BDF XI
ÔÇóMosha Gaolaolwe -BDF XI
ÔÇóBoitumelo Mafoko -BDF XI
ÔÇóEdwin Olerile -Gaborone United
ÔÇóLebogang Ditsile -Township Rollers
ÔÇóMaano Ditshupo -Township Rollers
ÔÇóSekhana Koko -Township Rollers
ÔÇóMotsholetsi Sikele -Township Rollers
ÔÇóKabelo Seakanyeng -BDF XI
ÔÇóBonolo Phuduhudu -BDF XI
ÔÇóThato Ogopotse -BDF XI
ÔÇóOgomoditse Bauleni -BDF XI
ÔÇóKarabo Phiri -Gaborone United
ÔÇóLemponye Tshireletso -Mochudi Centre Chiefs
ÔÇóOnalethata Thekiso -Mochudi Centre Chiefs
ÔÇóUnobatsha Mbaiwa -BMC FC
ÔÇóJerome Ramatlhakwana -Don Bosco DRC
ÔÇóOnkabetse Makgantai -Nico United