Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Zebras not among seeded COSAFA teams

As is the case in the African Championship (CHAN) tournament, Botswana finds itself sweating it out in the preliminary stages of the Council for Southern African Football Associations (COSAFA) tournament.

Six Southern African countries have been seeded for COSAFA and Botswana is not one of them. The reason being because the country has been on a downward spiral in the FIFA rankings.
Of the two groups, the Zebras have been drawn in group B against some of the relatively weak countries which are Swaziland, Comoros Island and Seychelles.

Group A, on the other hand, comprises of Zimbabwe, Mauritius, Lesotho and Tanzania.

Tanzania has been invited as a guest appearance following the withdrawal of troubled Madagascar. The winners of the two groups will join the seeded six for the quarterfinals clashes.

The COSAFA matches will be played in Zimbabwe from October 17 to November 1.
Botswana has never won the tournament, let along reaching the finals. The furthest the Zebras went was the semifinals in 2006 and 2007.

In 2006, the famous victory that qualified the team for the semi-finals was against neighbouring South African, which Botswana defeated 7-6 after a penalty shoot-out. The following year, the then powerful Angolans fell victims to the Zebras following a 3-1 penalty shootout victory. Just like the South African match, it was after a goalless draw during regulation time.

Since the tournament falls outside the FIFA calendar many countries will mostly use the tournament as a form of practice and developing upcoming young local players.

Botswana might as well use only locally based players. The fact that Botswana is not as active as most seeded countries should make them take the tournament seriously.

The tournament on the other hand might cause friction between the Premier League teams and the Botswana Football Association because the league is just starting.

Because of the money involved, teams are taking the league seriously and might refuse to release the players.

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