Zebras’ head coach, Stanley Tshosane, is confident that his side can get a positive result when they meet South Africa in the 2014 Fifa World Cup qualifier at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban on Saturday afternoon.
Tshosane watched his side in frustration as they were hammered 3-1 by visiting Uganda at the National Stadium in Gaborone at the weekend. A brace from Cranes’ striker Emmanuel Okwi and Brian Brian Majwega consigned the Zebras to the loss at home.
The Zebras’ consolation goal was scored by Tebogo Sembowa from a free-kick. Against Uganda, the Zebras were without seven of the South African-based players who joined the camp on Monday morning.
“We did not defend well hence we were punished. I was not impressed at all and it is something we have to work on before our game against South Africa. I have no doubt we’ll do well because this game (against Bafana Bafana) needs no motivation to the players. It is more like a derby for us and we can’t afford to lose to them,” said Tshosane.
Zebras’ tactician noted that if they win in South Africa it will help boost their position in the Fifa rankings. He added that they will play South Africa without any pressure to proceed to the third round of the qualifiers. “What is important is not to worry about the results of the other match (Central African Republic vs Ethiopia). We need to do our own job then we’ll see what happens,” he said.
Tshosane has appealed to Batswana to rally behind the team in large numbers when they take on their more superior opponents. “The support of Batswana is very important to us. We’re counting on them in order for us to do well,” he said.
Meanwhile, the minister of Sports, Shaw Kgathi, hosted a lunch for the Zebras at Gaborone Sun on Monday afternoon.
“This is a very important game to the nation. Yes, Batswana are hungry and there have been some of unpleasant statements said about the players and technical team, I would urge you to ignore that and focus on doing well. I have no doubt that you can go there and beat South Africa. You have done it before when the odds were against you. If they (Bafana Bafana) resist push them into the ocean,” said Kgathi at the event.
The minister announced that he had managed to raise P510 000 for the incentives in order to motivate the team to do well. He said that bonuses are very important in a game of football especially when it is critical.
President Ian Khama ‘gate-crashed’ the event and also gave the Zebras a word of encouragement. “It is important for me to talk to you ahead of such an important game. We’re not putting you under pressure but we have to beat South Africa,” said Khama. He said that as a way of motivating the players to go for broke, they will encourage other business people to come on board to raise more money for the team. Before he left Gaborone Sun, Khama whispered words of encouragement to Tshosane. The Zebras leave for Durban today.