Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Where is it really going wrong with Zebras?

It was all ululations in 2011 by soccer loving Batswana when the national team made it to the 2012 Afcon held in Gabon and Equatorial Guinea. Batswana had a big reason to wildly celebrate because it was the first time Botswana made it to the biennial competition after many years of trying. Zebras qualified to shock of many football followers around the world because it was in a tough group that comprised the likes of Tunisia and Togo. Zebras even surprised many people because they beat Tunisia, both home and away.

The team did not do well at the competition after poor preparations prior to the competition. Latter the then Zebras coach, Stanley Tshosane was sacked for what the Botswana Football Association (BFA) considered poor performance. At the time of his sacking President of the BFA, Tebogo said they sacked Tshosane because he believed in long training camps that were bleeding the association a lot of money despite the fact that they were bringing the results. Sebego even said BFA’s financial challenges should not be used as an excuse for not bringing desired results.

Tshosane has long left the hot seat and in came, Briton, James Peter Butler. He started well in the preliminary qualifications by beating both Burundi and Guinea Bissau. The Zebras then progressed to a group that had the North African duo of Tunisia and Egypt, and West African power house, Senegal. So far it has not been an easy ride for Zebras as the team has lost all the three opening games and managed to score only a single goal. Many people are asking themselves the likely problem for the team’s poor performance. One soccer pundit who preferred anonymity made it clear that the problem lies in the technical department of the team. He said both the coach and the assistant are clueless of what they are doing and cannot take the country anywhere. “Lets’ be honest, why was Tshosane fired to start with? He did a marvelous job under difficult circumstances from the current BFA leadership. Tshosane was sabotaged and did not get the support he needed and that’s why they fired him.

When Zebras qualified they were in a difficult group and that cannot be used as an excuse by the current coach. The current coach is being given all the support he wants and where are the results? To make matters worse you are appointing a coach who does not understand African football and even appoint the assistant who does not have experience of African football as a coach. But we have many coaches in this country who have that experience. It is the BFA here that have failed the nation,” the source said.

The source also stressed that the current technical team seems to have a problem with managing the professional players. Already two foreign based players, Ofentse Nato and Mogakolodi Ngele are not part of today’s match against Egypt after allegedly falling out with the coach. The source also emphasized that when coach Butler came in he always said he was going to play an attacking football compared to the previous coach who was defensive. “Our previous coach, Tshosane always made it clear that we do not have attacking capability like top African teams and that is why he was always defensive. It is not like he liked it, but had no choice. Look at Butler he tried to be attacking but it backfired. Generally we are moving backward as far as Zebras are concerned,” he said.

On the other hand, another soccer expert, Fobby Radipotsane gave a different view. He said the transition in the team has made the situation to be what it is now. “When the new coach came in he did so with his own philosophies and had to drop previous players and bring in new ones. That is a process that takes time and I am hopeful as time goes on that something positive will come up,” he said. Radipotsane also stressed that even the supporters understand the situation because they keep on filling the stadium to capacity despite the fact that results are not coming their way. “The stadium is always full and you can see that the supporters are appreciating what the coach is doing. Also remember that we are in a very tough group and it was always going to be difficult to even score a goal. Those countries have players in top leagues around the world, but our players are learning and they will get there,” he said.

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