The plight of Young Zebras
The Botswana national Under 23 men’s football team has been inactive for the past two years and yielded only a handful of players who progressed to be national team players in recent years. Pundits have argued that the senior team’s struggles are as a result of lack of progression of younger players from its feeder team.
Young Zebras, as they are affectionately known, last played a 2012 Olympic qualifier against Egypt in Lobatse in 2011. They won the game 2-1 but their loss in the first leg meant that the Egyptians progressed to the next stage of qualifying.
Most of the players were expected to progress to the senior side but only a few have done so. Kabelo Dambe, Mogakolodi Ngele, Galabgwe Moyana, Ntesang Simanyana and Ontse Ntesa have featured for Zebras while others have not yet been given chances to prove themselves. Players such as Kgololo Kgogobi and Bakang Moeng have been hampered by injuries in recent years.
As it stands, the side’s coach, Daniel ‘Chico’ Nare has no assurances of continuing in his role according to a source. This publication has learned that the coach was only given an update about the running of the team last year.
He received a letter from the previous Botswana Football Association (BFA) Chief Executive Officer Duncan Kgame, which stated that the association would adjust allowances. The coaching position at Under 23 level is not a contractual one; the whole technical team is paid on match day allowances.
BFA president Tebogo Sebego told Gazette Sport that the association’s technical department is looking into the matter. The president could not give a definite answer when asked about the coach’s situation. “As far as I know nothing has been discussed about the Under 23 coach’s position. This is an ad hoc team that is mainly assembled for certain competitions and changes always occur as we see the players graduate from younger age groups,” said Sebego.
When reached for comment, Nare said, “At the moment I have not been informed of any changes if at all they have taken place. In my position, I would not be surprised if a new coach is brought in because I do not have a contractual agreement with the BFA. For the past two years we have been behind other nations because there has been no continuity. Our side should have been the feeder to the national team.”
Meanwhile he said the team should be in camp to prepare for next year’s qualifiers for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. The draw for the qualifiers will be conducted early next year while the qualifying games will start in May.