Zebras long serving and experienced players, Diphetogo Selolwane and Mompati Thuma might miss the important opening Africa Cup of Nations match against Ghana on January 24.
Selolwane is said to have accumulated two yellow cards and Thuma is carrying a niggling injury.
Information reaching Sunday Standard is that the Botswana Football Association (BFA) was made aware of Selolwane’s situation on Wednesday. Apparently, Selolwane accumulated two yellow cards in the qualifiers hence missing the opening match against the Black Stars of Ghana.
The BFA seems not to have been aware of Selolwane’s situation until being notified by the Confederation of Africa Football.
Thuma, on the other hand, has been struggling with his injury for some time and even missed some key matches for his team, BDF XI, towards the end of the first round.
The Communications Officer of the BFA, Phakamile Kraai, told Sunday Standard that they were only aware of one yellow card and have since written to CAF to seek clarification.
“We have written to CAF and asked for the match sheet of the match he is alleged to have accumulated the second card. We will then take it from there,” he said.
It would definitely be a huge loss if both Selolwane and Thuma do not make it for the Zebras’ opening match against Ghana. Both were instrumental in the qualifying matches with their experience and talent.
Thuma was a pillar of strength at the back while Selolwane contributed immensely to the goals the team scored.
With Ghana also missing some of their key strikers, like Asamoah Gyan, many Batswana were hopeful that it was also a chance for the Zebras first ever victory at their first ever AFCON.
Meanwhile all the three teams Botswana will be facing at the tournament have released their final squads. Ghana, Mali and Guinea have shown that they mean business for the tournament as a majority of their players are playing in the biggest leagues around the world.
From a total of 69 players of the three teams, only five are home based while the rest play in professional leagues. This shows that Botswana has an enormous task if they are to beat all the three countries to progress to the knock out stages.
Guinea and Ghana are the only teams with two home-based players. Ghana has two goalkeepers while Guinea has a goalkeeper and a defender. Mali on the other hand has one locally-based player, a goalkeeper.
Botswana has six players based in South Africa while the rest are home based. Many Batswana will pin their hopes on the fact that the very same players at AFCON are the ones that helped the Zebras to qualify at the expense of countries that have many players abroad.
Some of the renowned players in group D, in which Botswana features, are the likes of John Mensah and Sulley Muntari (Ghana), Dian Bobo Balde (Guinea) and Seydou Keita of Mali.
The most famous is Keita because he plays for one of the world’s top teams, Barcelona of Spain.
On the other hand, Guinean Balde might be remembered by many Batswana because he once came to Gaborone in 2006 for double qualifications of both the World Cup and AFCON. Guinea then defeated Botswana and the gigantic defender had a field day against thinly built Botswana players.