Disgruntled Zebras’ players have committed to do the nation proud at the 2012 African Cup of Nations (AFCON) which kicks off next weekend despite their unresolved off-the-field problems.
The Zebras boycotted training for two days prior to their goalless draw against Zimbabwe in Gaborone on Saturday. The players wanted the Botswana Football Association (BFA) to respond to their allowance proposal before they depart for the continental showpiece. The players demanded that they be paid P100, 000 as an appearance fee at the tournament. After BFA president David Fani told the players on Friday evening that they can only offer them P15, 000 for the rest of the tournament, the mood in the camp has been low and many people wondered if the team will do well in Equatorial Guinea and Gabon.
To make matters worse, the association has banned the players from speaking to media as they are scared of being exposed.
“It was disappointing for Fani to have told us to accept the P15, 000 or ship out. We’ve worked hard to be where we are right now but it seems the association does not recognize the effort we’ve put in. Honestly, we’re going there for the sake of exposure and we’ll do our best not to disappoint the nation,” said one of the players.
Another player added, “We’re disappointed but appearing at AFCON is something big which we can’t afford to miss. I would have easily walked out of the camp and gone back to my club but I want to be part of the team playing out there. This might be the only chance for me to play at the Nations Cup.”┬á
He pointed out that as players, they have realized that the association is useless and have decided to do it for the nation.
“The association is full of selfish people. I think they have not learnt from what happened in Morocco when players threatened to boycott the (2006 African Cup of Nations/World Cup qualifier) game,” he continued.
On Monday, Fani and his executive failed to respond to calls from this publication as they were said to be busy with other issues.
The Zebras left on Tuesday for Cameroon to finalise their programme before heading to Franceville, Gabon. The Zebras start their Group D assignment with a tricky fixture against Ghana on January 24.
“Ghana is without doubt favourites to win the game but I can assure you that we’re prepared for them. We’ll do our best to get a positive result,” said a Zebras’ player.┬á
On Monday, head coach Stanley Tshosane dropped Sekhana Koko and Powell Abednico (both Township Rollers) and Mokgathi Mokgathi (BDF XI) from the 23-men needed for the tournament.
The rest of the squad is as follows (THEIR JERSEY NUMBERS AT THE TOURNAMENT INCLUDED); 16- Modiri Marumo (Bay United, South Africa), 1- Noah Maposa (Gaborone United), 20- Kabelo Dambe (Township Rollers), 5- Mompati Thuma (captain, BDF XI), 15- Monametsi Kelebale (Nico United), 22- Tshepo Motlhabankwe (Mochudi Centre Chiefs), 2- Ndiyapo Letsholathebe (Police XI), 3- Mosimanegape Ramohisbidu (BMC), 4- Musa Ohilwe (Gaborone United), 18- Mogogi Gabonamong (Supersport United, South Africa), 6- Ofentse Nato (Gaborone United), 13- Boitumelo Mafoko (Capetown Santos, South Africa), 12- Patrick Motsepe (BDF XI), 17- Joel Mogorosi (Mochudi Centre Chiefs), 8- Phenyo Mongala (Bloemfontein Celtic, South Africa), 7- Pontsho Moloi (Mochudi Centre Chiefs), 23- Othusitse Pilane (Mochudi Centre Chiefs), 19- Mogakolodi Ngele (Township Rollers), 10- Moemedi Moatlhaping (Bay United, South Africa), 9- Jerome Ramatlhakwana (Unattached), 11- Diphetogo Selolwane (Supersport United, South Africa), 14- Onalethata Tshekiso (Township Rollers) and 21- Lemponye Tshireletso (BDF XI).