After sending shockwaves around the African continent by beating Tunisia away last weekend, Botswana’s national team, the Zebras, are now preparing for another major battle on Friday.
The Zebras will face the unknown in the form of Togo on Friday afternoon at the University of Botswana Stadium, qualifier for the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon).
Chad must not be taken lightly because they managed to play to a two all draw against fancied Togo.
Just like Botswana, Chad has never qualified for any Afcon tournament and they were seen as the underdogs just like Botswana.
Last weekend’s results showed that the two teams mean business in the group and there might be more surprises in the upcoming matches.
Whoever wins on Friday might also make a shock maiden appearance at the 2012 tournament to be co-hosted by Gabon and Equatorial Guinea, provided they don’t overestimate themselves because of the Tunisia result.
Botswana, on the other hand, must not underrate Chad because they might as well pull a surprise victory.
Botswana, however, have to take advantage of the home ground because the other remaining matches might prove to be difficult.
National team coach, Stanley Tshosane, told, Telegraph Sports that the Tunisia victory is now over and the focus is on Chad. He said he is even confident that the team will do well on Friday.
“I am optimistic that if we approach the Chad match the way we did against Tunisia, we would win it. The dangerous part, however, is that we do not know about Chad, unlike Tunisia. Before we went to Tunisia, I made thorough assessment of them for the two matches they played and that is why we ended up beating them. But Chad are a closed chapter but we will do all what we can to bring positive results,” he said.
Tshosane said what pleases him the most is that he has a clean bill of health and does not have any suspensions in the team. He said all players are doing well and even raring to go.
“Before we went to Tunisia, I had fitness doubts with two foreign-based players, Phenyo Mongala and Jerome Ramatlhakwane because they had not played for some time. But they showed character in Tunisia and I am hoping for the same thing in Gaborone,” he said.
Apart from Tunisia and Chad, Botswana is also pitted against Malawi and Togo.
Togo were only added into the Botswana group a few weeks ago after having been suspended by the Confederations of African Football (CAF) for what they said was government interference in sports matters. The suspension followed the incident in which Togo’s national team bus was attacked in the Province of Cabinda in Angola during this year’s Afcon; they lost two members. The government then ordered the team to return home for safety reasons something that angered CAF.