This coming Saturday, Botswana engages neighbours, South Africa, in a do or die encounter for both sides.
Botswana should win the match at all costs to brighten their chances of making it to the next round of 2014 World Cup to be held in Brazil. Already Botswana lost 2-0 in their opening match away against the Central African Republic this past Saturday.
A loss to South Africa would, indeed, diminish Botswana’s chances of progressing beyond the group stages.
South Africa, on the other hand, also failed to take advantage of home ground as they only managed a draw against stubborn Ethiopia in Rustenburg. This means South Africa will come with guns blazing because they do not want to miss the chance to grace the world’s biggest sporting event.
Botswana should be prepared for a slightly wounded lion. After the draw with Ethiopia, South African media heavily criticised coach Pitso Mosimane, whose future is hanging in the balance.
The coach of runners up in the South African Premier League, Gordon Igesund, was touted to be Mosimane’s successor.
Botswana goes into the encounter missing several key players from the squad that made it to the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations. Such players are experienced goalkeeper, Modiri Marumo, veteran midfielder, Diphetogo Selolwane and the man in the heart of defence, Mompati Thuma.
Both Marumo and Selolwane have retired from the team while Thuma is still nursing an injury.
Trusted top marksman, Jerome Ramatlhakwane, is suffering from match fitness because he is not attached to any team at the moment.
Coach Teenage Mpote believes Botswana can still cause havoc and beat South Africa. He said if South Africa’s play on Saturday is anything to go by, Botswana would emerge victorious.
“South Africa was not convincing at all and if they continue playing like that, they will be in trouble on Saturday. If you also look at the way Ethiopia played, it is a style similar to that of Botswana and South Africa struggled to break them because they were compact at the back. Botswana is extremely compact and South Africa might find it tough to pass through our defence. We have mastered defending in numbers and we do not easily lose shape,” he said.
Mpote also added that Botswana will use UB stadium to their advantage because it has been a slaughter house for some years now. He said Botswana knows UB stadium well and South Africa will find it difficult to outclass Botswana at it.