The Botswana Football Association (BFA) has confirmed that the Zebras’ international friendly game against Niger in Niamey on Tuesday night will go on as scheduled.
The game is being used as part of the preparation for the 2012 African Cup of Nations (AFCON) tournament to be hosted by Equatorial Guinea and Gabon in January. But the association is facing the major challenge of securing a flight for the team out of the West African country.
In an interview on Friday, acting BFA chief executive officer, Tlhagiso Sethibe, said, “The game has long been confirmed but the problem we’re facing is the team’s departure from Niamey after the game. The thing is that we want the team to leave on the 16th (Wednesday) and arrive the same day here. But the flights we’re getting can only arrive here on Thursday which might disturb the league fixtures at the weekend.”
Sethibe added that his office was working closely with travel agencies to try to find a solution. If the Zebras arrive in Johannesburg on Thursday, it will create headaches for the South African-based players Mogogi Gabonamong, Diphetogo Selolwane (both Supersport United), Boitumelo Mafoko (Capetown Santos) and Phenyo Mongala (Bloemfontein Celtic) who are expected back at their clubs on Wednesday.
Recently, when South Africa played Niger in the AFCON qualifiers in Niamey, they used a chartered flight which allowed them to return home on stipulated time. At the time of going to press, the Zebras were scheduled also to play another friendly game against African powerhouse Nigeria in Benin City.
When they departed for West Africa on Thursday, head coach Stanley Tshosane said that the two games in West Africa would help prepare his side well for the tournament. The Zebras have been pitted alongside West African countries Mali, Guinea and Ghana in Group D.
Tshosane has taken a 23-man team to West Africa.