It is back to the drawing boards for Botswana against the Warriors of Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe have been dominant over Botswana for so many years and it was not surprising yesterday when the former edged out Botswana by a solitary goal in the quarterfinals of the Council for Southern African football Associations (COSAFA) tournament.
Botswana is yet to defeat Zimbabwe in an official game and many people had hopes that the Zebras would this time do better, especially considering the good run the team had in the group stages.
It was not to be as Zimbabwe scored two minutes from full-time.
The last time the Warriors defeated Botswana was about a year and half ago in a friendly match at the National Stadium, also by a solitary goal.
The results also once again revived the memories of the Zebras past defeats in which they held on for the most part of the game only to falter late.
Some of the matches that come to mind was in a do or die encounter against Egypt for the 2008 Africa Cup of Nations.
The Egyptians scored the only goal of the match towards the end in Cairo.
Another one was against Zambia in a COASAFA match three years ago. Zambia ended up equalising when the Zebras were fighting for a draw.
Against Zimbabwe, the Zebras had somehow no one else but themselves to blame. They played well in the first half only to falter in the second half and thus giving Zimbabwe the match on a silver platter.
The Zebras brought in two internationals, Noah Maposa and Pontsho Moloi, who are playing for a First Division side, Bay United in Port-Elizabeth.
Zimbabwe, on the other hand, had very experienced players like Evans Gwekwerere and Cuthbert Malajila.
Gwekwerere once played for South African side, Moroka Swallows, for a long time before joining Jomo Cosmos, and is now based in Vietnam. Malajila had a stint in Belgium before coming back home to join Dynamos.
Botswana could have won the match in the first half courtesy of Moloi’s predatory instincts. As early as the fifth minute, the referee denied Botswana what looked like a clear penalty after Moloi was brought down inside the box.
Eleven minutes latter Moloi fired a scorcher that hit the upright with Zimbabwe goalkeeper a mere spectator.
In the second half, Botswana held back and looked tired. They wanted to apply counter attack tactics but there were no players who could push the team.
One of such players is Pontsho’s younger brother, Dirang, who did not play at all.
Zimbabwe wrapped the game courtesy of Mthulisi Maposa. The goal looked to have touched Botswana defender, Ndiapo Letsholathebe, and thus confusing goalkeeper, Maposa.
Botswana might have been hard done by the six players who had to play for their teams during the weekend for the league.
Once again, Ontse Ntesa had a beautiful game. He looks to be slowly making inroads into the national team. He was influential as a quarter back on the left and delivered many crosses the Zimbabweans found difficult to deal with.