Botswana’s national Under 20 crushed out of 18th Africa championships after playing to a goal all draw against their Zimbabwean counterparts on Friday. The draw means Botswana lost 5-1 on aggregate after going down 4-0 in the first round last week.
The loss also means Botswana has to once again go to the drawing board and prepare for other championships. Botswana has never done well in Under 20 African championships and are yet to qualify.
The way Botswana was playing one would never thought it could be the team that heavily lost the first leg. They matched Zimbabwe in almost all departments and it was not surprising when they took the lead four minutes into the match via Uniao Flamengo Santos striker, Mathews Moruti.
The goal was a nice build up from the back and Moruti was at the right place at the right time to slot it in.
Facing a mammoth task of scoring five goals, provided the Zimbabweans did not score, there was little hope that the goal would open the floodgates for other goals. It was not to be as six minutes latter Zimbabwe equalised after a nice move on the right flank.
They definitely put the match beyond Botswana’s reach. Botswana had now to score five goals, something that was always going to be difficult. Zimbabwean striker, Elton Dzirondiro, was left unmarked and cut through the right flank to 18th area and unleashed a powerful shot that did not give goalie, Kenalemang Neo a chance.
Botswana on the other and had numerous clear chances that came their way, unfortunately they fluffed them. The match was tied by a goal apiece till the end.
After the match, coach Teenage Mpote attributed two factors to their horrible loss. He said they were not adequately prepared for the match compared to their opponents.
“Let me start by congratulating our boys; they played very well and even deserved to win this match. Before leaving for Zimbabwe we did not play even a single international friendly match. Our neighbours South Africa even wanted to play us but the Botswana Football Association said there was no money. We had to go to Zimbabwe unprepared,” he said.
Mpote also added that when they arrived in Zimbabwe, their reception was not good at all and even the food left much to be desired.
“Almost everybody in the team had a problem of food poisoning from the day we arrived up to the day we left. Most players played while not feeling well but they managed to soldier on to the end,” he said.
Mpote also added that what makes him happy is that most of the players are still young and can still play for the Under 20 for the next three years.