Wednesday, July 17, 2024

Tough times ahead for the Zebras

Despite their one-all draw with Burundi over the weekend, the Zebras still have a mountain to climb if they are to eventually progress to the group stages of 2015 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifiers. The Zebras played to a goalless draw against Burundi in the first leg of the preliminary stages of the Afcon qualifiers and this result might come back to haunt them in the return leg. The winner between Botswana and Burundi will play the winner between Central African Republic and Guinea Bissau. The final victor will then join the group stages of the qualifiers.

Botswana’s draw puts them under pressure to win at home, because a draw of goals will give Burundi a chance. This means coach James Peter Butler and his technical team will have a lot to do during the return match, which will be played at new Lobatse stadium on June 1. To add to Zebras woes, Butler will have to hunt for a replacement for stalwart defender, Obuile ‘Oscar’ Ncenga, who was given marching orders in Burundi. Butler might end up opting for Moreetsi ‘Resco’ Mosimanyana who had a fantastic season at his club, BDF XI.

There is also a bit of crisis up front, where goals are hard to come by. Butler will have to add impetus to his striking force because the goals are simply not coming. He definitely has to call back Jerome Ramatlhakwane who is based in Democratic Republic of Congo. Though he often doesn’t get enough game time at club level, Ramatlhakwane has proven to be a prolific goal scorer at national team level. He proved his mettle while he was still at South African club Cape-Town Santos.

Though Santos sidelined him for almost two years, Ramatlhakwane kept on banging the goals for the Zebras and helped the team qualify for Afcon 2012. It is not yet clear whether injured Tebogo Sembowa will be fit for the match. Also, South African based Galabgwe Moyana who plays as a winger for Polokwane City will not be available because his club will still be busy with promotional playoffs.


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