Botswana’s national team, the Zebras, managed to secure two friendly matches ahead of their clash against African giants, Tunisia, for the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations.
Information reaching Sunday Standard is that Botswana will play against Lesotho and even Zambia.
Botswana will play Lesotho on Wednesday and the Zambia match will either be on Saturday or Sunday.
The team that is likely to give Botswana much needed practice is Zambia because they have been busy of late.
Botswana’s friendly against the two countries comes at a time when they failed to secure one with one of the 32 countries playing in the World Cup in neighbouring, South Africa.
Botswana was supposed to play Brazil on June 2 but the unavailability of proper stadium and P14 million demanded by Brazil hampered the desire by the Zebras.
Surprisingly many stadiums were refurbished while new ones were built in preparations for a possible friendly match.
Zambia, on the other hand, managed to play two friendly matches against Chile and Japan. Despite losing both matches, they gained valuable experience.
National team coach, Stanley Tshosane, is happy with the matches, saying the Zebras will learn something from the match. He said preparations for the team are going well.
“So far I would say all is going accordingly and I am optimistic my boys will do something against Tunisia. They are a great team but it does not mean that we cannot match them,” he said.
Tunisia, on the other hand, has so far played one friendly match against former World Champion France and played to one all draw.
The major stumbling block for the Zebras, however, is that they are training without three professional players based in the South African Premier League.
They are Mogogi Gabonamong, Boitumelo Mafoko and Diphetogo Selolwane. Selolwane is reported to have requested to be given some time for pre-season training for his new team, Supersport United. He just joined them from Ajax Cape Town.
Mafoko, on the other hand, is reported to be not fit for the team while Gabonamong has issues with the Botswana Football Association (BFA). “Selolwane will join us at a later stage while Mafoko and Gabonamong will not be with us at all. I have no choice but to work with those players I have,” he said.
Information reaching Sunday Standard is that Gabonamong has written BFA a letter demanding certain things to be met. He is reported to have demanded insurance in the matches he plays, in addition to appearance fees. Before press time efforts to get hold of the BFA were futile. Gabonamong is undoubtedly one of the invaluable players in the team. Even at his team, Cape Town Santos, he is a vital cog and is the team captain. Meanwhile another Motswana in South Africa, Phenyo Mongala, who plays for Orlando Pirates, is in training with the Zebras and is expected to play a vital role.
Botswana will play Tunisia away on July 1st.