Tuesday, March 5, 2024

Trouble in paradise for Zebras

Botswana’s senior national team, Zebras might be mathematically having a chance to qualify for 2015 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) to be held in Morocco, but realistically they look to be out. Botswana lost all their three opening matches of Group K against, Tunisia, Egypt and Senegal and only scored a single goal. From the three remaining matches, two will be away while one at home, a sign that an enormous task lies ahead.

This past Friday they lost to Egypt at the National Stadium by two goals without reply and today (Wednesday) they will once again play against Egypt away in Cairo. Already the Zebras go into the game as a destabilized team and positive results look to be a miracle. Before the clash against Egypt in Gaborone influential midfielder, Ofentse Nato was kicked out of the team for alleged indiscipline. Just after the Egyptian clash another skillful midfielder, Mogakolodi Ngele left the team camp for unknown reasons. The absence of the duo is further compounding the nation’s miseries as they are still searching for their first win.

The Communications officer of the Botswana Football Association, Phakamile Kraai confirmed Ngele’s absence from the team travelling to Egypt, but could not go into details. “It is true Ngele is not part of the team that travelled to Cairo and I really cannot tell now why he could not travel,” he said. Information reaching The Telegraph Sports is that Ngele might have had a misunderstanding with the coach and decided to leave peacefully. “There is a problem in the Zebras camp to be honest and it has to be dealt with before the situation gets out of hand. Imagine Nato was chased away from the team for alleged indiscipline and now Ngele. These are not ordinary players but top exports we have ever had from this country. I believe the situation between the players and coaches should have been handled better,” said a source close to the BFA.

Already the absence of Nato was felt in the midfield as the Egyptians were time and again launching attacks against Botswana midfield that was dominated by ball players. The situation was worsened by the fact that another veteran and no nonsense midfielder, Mogogi Gabonamong was not there because of suspension. However Gabonamong will be playing in Cairo and he is one player who does not easily buckle under immense pressure. Efforts to speak to Ngele were futile before going to press. It will, however, be a very tough fixture in Egypt because they want to qualify for 2015 Afcon by all costs after missing the previous one.

Egypt is trailing group leaders being Senegal and Tunisia by four points, meaning that they are forced to win almost all their remaining three matches. Egyptian coach, Shawky Gharib is even under immense pressure to deliver as he was told to win the match or pack his bags.

Full Zebras squad for Egypt
Wagare Dikago, Modiri Marumo, Leutwetse Tshireletso, Obonye Moswate, Obuile Ncenga Edwin Olerile, Boitumelo Mafoko, Lemponye Tshireletso, Galabgwe Moyana, Jerome Ramatlhakwane, Thato Ogopotse, Mokgathi Mokgathi, Bonolo Phuduhudu, Segolame Boy, Kabelo Seakanyeng, Kenanao Kgetholetsile, Khumoetsile Kufigwa, Mosha Gaololwe, Joel Mogorosi and Mogogi Gabonamong


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