Zebras’ Away Venue Against Uganda Gets CAF Approval 


The Botswana senior men’s football national team, the Zebras, will face Uganda at the Mandela National Stadium (also known as Namboole Stadium) on 7 June in Kampala in a 2026 FIFA World Cup-qualifier game.

Doubts about the readiness of the newly renovated stadium arose after it failed several inspections last year but it has finally been granted permission to host international matches after a five-year closure.

Test matches successful

The continent’s football governing body, the Confederation of African Football (CAF), had previously instructed the Federation of Ugandan Football Association (FUFA) to host test matches to ensure that the stadium was ready to host matches of the magnitude of FIFA World Cup Qualifiers.

On 1st May, the FUFA organised test matches between Ugandan clubs BUL FC and Vipers SC with another game between KCCFA and SC Villa following a few hours later.

The test matches proved successful and the venue will host the clash against Botswana and another game between Uganda and Algeria days later.

Cleared by CAF 

The announcement of the venue’s inspection success was confirmed by Uganda’s Ministry of Tourism who released a statement last Saturday.

“It is thrilling that our national football Mandela Stadium (Namboole) has recently been cleared by CAF to host the 2026 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers,” said the statement.

“Games between Uganda, Botswana and Algeria will be among the first to be hosted at the newly renovated stadium.”

Match officials confirmed

FIFA has released a list of match officials for the game between Uganda and Botswana, who are a quartet of referees from Cote d’Ivoire. The list includes main referee Franklin Kpan, assistants Prosper Adiouman and Wenceslas Ettien, as well as fourth official Tanguy Vlei.

The referee assessor will be Ethiopian Tesfanesh Hailu while the Match Commissioner will be Kaptingei Solomon.

Botswana’s preparations

Botswana will play back-to-back away game fixtures against Uganda on 7 June before travelling to Somalia for another FIFA World Cup Qualifier three days later.

Zebras head coach Didier Gomes Da Rosa has released a provisional squad for the two matches. The current list contains 34 players but it will be cut to 24 players days before the two games.

Zebras Squad for the Two Away Games

In the goalkeeping department, Didier Da Rosa has called up Kabelo Dambe, Goitseone Phoko, Thabo Motswagole, Victor James and Keagile Kgosipula.

The defenders who have received a call-up are Mosha Gaolaolwe, Tebogo Kopelang, Thatayaone Ditlhokwe, Obakeng Senono, Mothusi Johnson, Alford Velaphi, Benson Mangolo, Motsholetsi Sikele, Tlamelo Kolagano and Thato Kebue.

Midfielders on the list include Gape Mohutsiwa, Olebogeng Ramotse, Godiraone Modingwane, Phenyo Serameng, Koketso Majafi, Mogakolodi Ngele, Mpho Kgaswane, Gape Thibedi and Boniface Ramolale.

The attacking department

Da Rosa has entrusted the attacking department berths to the likes of Tumisang Orebonye, Kabelo Seakanyeng, Molaodi Tlhalefang, Thabang Sesinyi, Thabiso Bante, Segolame Boy, Oarabile Sekwai, Mbatshi Elias, Samuel Makgoro and Eric Ookame.