Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Zebras in a scrappy draw with Lesotho

MASERU: Botswana’s national team, the Zebras, was yesterday (Wednesday) held to a goalless draw by the Lesotho national team, known as Likoena (Crocodiles).

Zebras might have repeatedly defeated Lesotho in past encounters, but Lesotho looked a more determined side, unlike the Zebras.

Lesotho dominated, especially in the midfield, but their finishing was their main undoing.

The Zebras’s defence, on the other hand, looked solid and was not threatened by Lesotho’s continued marauding attacks. Lesotho took complete control of the midfield and Botswana players were just chasing their shadows. Zebras midfield combination was fragile and could not coordinate with their strike force.

At first, coach Stanley Tshosane tried Mafoko and Extension Gunners’ Kemmy Pilato but it did not work. Later on, he tried Elijah Montsho with Mafoko again but to little avail.

There was no ball holder and players in the likes of Dirang Moloi and Vincent Phiri made Mokgathi Mokgathi and Mogakolodi ‘Tsotso’ Ngele ineffective up front. Latter on the coach brought Mgadla for Ngele but still to little avail.

Nevertheless the real chance for Botswana came thirteen minutes before half time when Ngele’s free kick hit the upright following a tip from Lesotho goalkeeper, Sam Ketsekile.
Moments latter, Maposa was also called into action from a dangerous shot by Modi Lesasa and conceded a corner. Lesotho was forced to bring positive results to the nation because they have not even managed a draw in a single game for a long time.

Just like Botswana, the team also is struggling to get friendly games, especially with tough opponents. The last time Lesotho had one was against Botswana in December, which the latter won 3-0.

Lesotho brought their strong possible squad, while Botswana brought mainly players from the Under 20 and 23s. The only two players who are regulars in the senior team were, Mompati Thuma and Mafoko.

After the game, Lesotho coach was a happy man saying the results were positive and that players had responded to what he had said at training.

Zavisa Milosavlyevic, the Serbian born coach, told Sunday Standard that the Zebras have, for a long time, terrorised his side and it was time they got their revenge.

“We had chances to even win this game and I am happy with my boys. Botswana is a very strong team but we had to contain them today. We were controlling the midfield but the problem was scoring despite the chances we had. It is difficult to keep the team in shape because we cannot get as many friendly games as we would like to,” he said.
On the other hand, the Zebras coach, Stanley Tshosane, made it clear that he was not after the results but to give some players a chance and to try some combinations. He said even though the game ended on a goalless draw, he had learned something and some players impressed him the most.

The game was played on an open pitch because of the unavailability of stadiums in Lesotho. There is only one stadium, called Setsotso, and it is still under renovations.

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The Telegraph September 23

Digital edition of The Telegraph, September 23, 2020.