Zebras coach Peter Butler has hinted that he could stick with selecting up and coming strikers as his main forward options for national team games. Unabatsha Mbaiwa (BMC), Onkabetse Makgantai (Nico United) and Omaatla Kebatho (Sankoyo Bush Bucks) were selected as the national team’s three main strikers ahead of Sunday’s international friendly against Mozambique.
Observers have criticized the coach for the absence of an experienced striker in the selected squad but the coach is not fazed by any skepticism surrounding his decision to pick a youthful striking department.
Speaking at a pre match press conference on Friday, the coach highlighted the lack of consistent prolific strikers as the main reason for sticking with what many perceive as inexperienced front men.
“Skepticism will always be there but I choose to focus on the players in the squad. We have to be patient with our young strikers and give them time to develop. If they are not given opportunities, they will not learn. The only way they can get experience is if they get to play at a higher level. There is a shortage of prolific strikers in the country, we have to develop players who can rectify that situation,” Butler stated.
“At times we have played Joel (Mogorosi) upfront, in some games he did well and some he had difficulties. Those are other options we have with versatile players in our squad,” he added.
The coach’s comments are vindicated due to the low number of local strikers at the top of the beMobile Premier League’s scoring chart. Mochudi Centre Chiefs winger-cum-forward Lemponye Tshireletso is the current top scorer in the league.
He is followed by Orapa United pair Henrick Moyo and Patrick Lenyeletse (also a winger-cum-forward) who have accumulated 12 and 11 goals respectively. Moyo is the only local out and out striker in the top five of the scoring chart.
Football analyst Jimmy George supports Butler’s selection. “Obviously the coach has a long term plan. The new strikers should only be judged after six or seven games at senior level. The coach must not be under pressure to select high scoring strikers because scoring charts can be deceiving. One can have a stellar season but fade in the following one. Its better to work with players you can build in a way that suits your system. That being said, I do not have any doubts concerning the newly selected strikers,” the analyst told Gazette Sport.