Zebras ladies ambled to a 6 ÔÇô 0 victory over Mauritius this past Sunday to all but book a date with South Africa’s Banyana Banyana in the next round of the CAF Africa Women Cup of Nations Cameroon 2016 Qualifiers.
Playing in front of a raucous crowd at the Lobatse Sports Complex, the local ladies did what was expected of them to ensure the return leg in Mauritius will become a mere formality. Despite the flattering scoreline, this was not the most polished of performances for coach Gaoletlhoo Nkutlwisang’s charges.
“In the first half, the team was very lethargic in their approach. When we got to the dressing room at half time, we told them to push up a bit and that is how we scored the number of goals we got in the second half,” the coach explained. “I think my players got into this game very slowly and my midfield was not very mobile in the half.”
Against the Mauritians, the Zebras ladies, though not getting into first gear, were superior and dictated proceedings from the first whistle to the last. However, profligacy in front of goal as well as some superb goalkeeping by Mauritian keeper Mary Jane Nancy Betty ensured the score never surpassed double digits. Within the first twenty minutes, Betty had produced three saves to deny Thuso Leseane, Bonang Otlhagile and Refilwe Tholakele. The goalkeeper however could do nothing as the Zebras ladies took a well deserved lead on the 20th minutes courtesy of Nondi Mahlasela.
Receiving a cushioned header from Tholakele inside the box, Mahlasela kept her composure to skip past Betty and put the hosts ahead. Otlhagile and Tholakele then missed the upright each before the latter hit the upright on the 45th minute as the local girls cranked up pressure. However, just when everyone thought Botswana will go into recess with only a single goal, Otlhagile increased the tally to two goals.
After making her way around Mauritius left back Marie Martina Jerome, the Zebras ladies’ captain looped her ball over Betty from a tight angle to ensure Botswana went to recess with a two goal lead. From recess, it took the local ladies barely eight minutes to increase the tally to three as Mahlasela got her brace with Tholakele providing the assist. This would prove to be Mahlasela’s last goal of the match as she, along with Lebogang Setereke made way for Refilwe Matlho and Bame Ngenda respectively on the 68th minute. Ngenda then had her name on the score sheet six minutes after coming in as she tapped in Zebras ladies’ fourth goal from another Tholakele assist. The local girls then got their fifth goal on the 77th minute through Tlamelo Motlhale’s wonder strike before Golebaone Selebatso, who had replaced Leseane earlier on, netted the sixth goal in referee’s optional time to complete the rout. Commenting on the game, Mauritius Coach Alain Dominique Jules conceded that Botswana was a deserving winner of the encounter. “Botswana was a superior team and we must accept the defeat. It is the first time we have participated in the competition and we have gained experience, but it was a tough game for us,” Jules explained. The gaffer however reserved the praise for his goalkeeper, saying she was ‘fortunately outstanding.’
Botswana: Sedilame Bosija, Kgomotso Molefe, Masego Montsho, Motlhale, Kesegofetse Mochawe, Otlhagile, Setereke (Ngenda), Leseane (Selebatso), Thuto Ramafifi, Tholakele, Mahlasela (Matlho)
Mauritius: Betty, Marie Anaelle Samantha Rassoie, Michelette Azie, Elsa Daphnee Dadard, Marie Matrine Kelly, Johanne Carine Amelia, Aniece Cynthia Edouard, Marie Anais Fourneau, Clothilde Elodi Prisca Aliphon (Anne-Marie Planteau De Maroussem), Jerome, Marie Anabelle Agathe (Shakeena Kareen Adelaide)