Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Waiting on the sidelines for AFCON

It is only six months to go for the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) to commence in both Gabon and Equatorial Guinea.

This is the time whereby coaches of teams that have already qualified should have at least half of the squad in their minds because time is slowly ticking away.

Botswana is one of those countries that have booked a ticket to next year’s AFCON.

The fact that Botswana will be going there for the first time in their history is special indeed.
This does not mean that they should just rest on their laurels; they have to prepare. No matter how good the team is, if they are ill prepared for the tournament, they will not perform well.

On the other hand, some players who helped the team qualify will not make it for the tournament due to a variety of reasons. There will be injuries, suspensions and even loss of form.

This will definitely create space for other talented players to help raise the country’s flag.
Already, plans are underway for Botswana to prepare hard for the tournament and definitely other players are going to fall by the side.

Many players are waiting on the sidelines to grab the opportunity if it arises. Such players include the likes of Kabelo Dambe, Ontse Ntesa, Edwin Olerile, Hendrick Moyo, Motsholetsi Sikele, Mogakolodi Ngele, Kgololo Leteane and Lemponye Tshireletso.

Marumo is undoubtedly Botswana’s best keeper in years. There might have been better goalkeepers in Botswana before him but the exposure he got surpasses them.

Age is, however, not on his side and Dambe is strongly waiting for that. At the age of 22, Dambe has helped his team, Township Rollers, to win back to back league championships.

He is even favoured by his height compared to Noah Maposa who has been deputising Marumo for a long time.

‘Maniche’ as Ntesa is referred to in football circles, has proven to be the best left quarter in the country. Unfortunately, injuries have time and again taken the best from him. But at his best, he is indeed a modern quarter back who does not only go for key tackles but overlaps and lays those pin point crosses.

The current system that coach Stanley Tshosane prefers limits Ntesa but it looks like it will not be long before he claims a permanent place, putting Mosimanegape Ramohibidu under pressure.

Just from the Under 23, Ramohibidu has been a preferred candidate but his main undoing is his body structure.

Olerile is also a strong candidate for a left back position and is also the reigning Footballer of the Year.

This means whatever happens, coach Tshosane is spoilt for choice in that position.

Moyo has been a marvel to watch for Extension Gunners, especially this past season. He is the reigning Coca Cola Player of the Season. Although he is skillful and mobile, his main undoing is that coach Tshosane does not normally go for midfielders who are more of play makers. He prefers all round players mainly because of the defensive strategy he normally uses. But in a game that is attack minded, Moyo is the ideal candidate. Competition is tense in the midfield but Moyo can force himself in the team provided he keeps his cool.

Sikele is also one of the upcoming multi-talented midfielders and will very soon be selected on a regular basis.

Despite playing for less fashionable BMC, he has stood out when the chips were down.
Even at the national Under 23, Sikele was one of the players who were heavily relied on.
Ngele and Leteane are some of the assets that might make the national team.

Since Botswana normally uses wings for counter attacks, Leteane fits in well in the system and is waiting in the wings for enterprising Phenyo Mongala who is prone to injuries and rarely plays a full game.

Tshireletso has proven that, without the foreign players, he can be relied on. He is one of the few players that are multi-talented to perfection.

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