Botswana’s national soccer team, the Zebras will next weekend try to improve their chances of making it to the next stage of the 2010 World/Africa Cup of Nations when they play Madagascar in Antananarivo.
So far, Botswana has only managed to pick up five points and have only two games remaining.
The forthcoming game is vital for Botswana because there is no more time to recover should they continue dropping points.
Also, it is not yet clear which team will finish last. This is so because other groups are not made up of four countries.
In the first game Botswana only managed to play to a goalless draw against the island nation. Batswana would latter boo the then coach, Colywn Rowe, who was then fired the very following day.
Former army officer, Stan Tshosane, took over the coaching of the national team and surprised those who doubted his abilities by defeating Mozambique 2-1 away. Bearing in mind that the game against Mozambique was an away game and, for that matter, having never defeated Mozambique in an official game, all odds were stalked against Botswana.
Diphetogo Selolwane and Boitumelo Mafoko made sure that Botswana made history by scoring in each half.
Botswana then made history once again the following weekend when they played to one-all draw against the Ivory Coast.
Selolwane was, once again, on the score sheet after getting the ball into the net through a brilliant bicycle kick. The goal was historic in the sense that it is rare for a Botswana player to score in such a manner in an international game.
The return game against the Ivorians was miserable because the Ivory Coast put four goals past Botswana without reply from.
The game exposed how lacking many local players are. Some people feel that some of the players are well past their sell-by date.
Against Madagascar next weekend, Botswana should show no mercy because it has since been proved that they can easily be beaten at home. Although the Zebras have, for a long time, been poor travelers, a victory against Mozambique should boost the players’ morale.
When Tshosane inherited the team, he did not have time to make changes because games were being played almost every weekend. This time, he has had time to look at several players. One of them is Nico United speedy winger, Thobo ‘Fish’ Kgoboge.
He played in two games against Mozambique (COSAFA) and Zimbabwe, in a friendly.
Although Botswana lost both games, Fish was given rave reviews for his gallant performances. He is set to make runs in the game against Madagascar and even in the last one in Gaborone against Mozambique. As usual, Modiri Marumo will be the first choice keeper ahead of Noah Maposa.
Marumo has, on several occasions, saved Botswana. A typical example being the victory against Mozambique. He made many brilliant saves that could have seen Mozambique scoring an avalanche of goals. Others, like Selolwane, Mogogi Gabonamong, Mompati Thuma, are players likely to be in the starting line-up.
The Zebras play a friendly game against Lesotho on Monday as part of their preparations. Lesotho is already out of contention after losing several of their opening games.