- New coach names four internationals to 25-man squad
- Coach Mpote confident inspite of poorer FIFA ranking
- Zebras beat Palancas Negras 1-0 last July
In their quest to revive the glory days of “the Mighty Zebras,” Botswana’s senior national football team will test their character against the Palancas Negras of Angola when they meet in an international friendly in South Africa this week.
The team have reported for camp on Monday ahead of the match that will be played at Dobsonville Stadium near Johannesburg on Thursday (tomorrow).
This comes hot on the heels of Mogomotsi Teenage Mpote’s confirmation as head coach of the Zebras after being caretaker coach for the past nine months. Mpote has called a 25-strong squad that he believes has what it takes to secure 3 points against Angola just a few days before the highly-anticipated FIFA World Cup begins in Doha, Qatar.
The squad is boosted by the experience of four players who ply their trade abroad in a professional setup, namely Tumisang Orebonye (Morocco), Kabelo Seakanyeng (UAE), Gape Mohutsiwa (Algeria) and Ethany Mohoto (Sweden).
Mpote was adamant in an interview with Gazette Sports that the players he has called for the Thursday encounter with Angola are committed and fit for the task.
“Angola are not a new team to us,” he said. “We know them very well because we have played them a couple of times before. I have a strong squad and therefore no doubt that they will do well, more so that most of them are fit and have been playing at their respective clubs.
“The start of the Botswana Premier League came at the right time and I believe that the boys will bring nothing but good results. I have also called the players who have been active in their respective leagues abroad, and we all know what they are capable of in the field of play.”
But why Angola in South Africa?
BFA’s PRO Carol Kgafela says Botswana is taking advantage of Angola being there for a fixture against Bafana Bafana. “Angola is already playing South Africa and our fixture was added to their schedule,” she told Gazette Sports.
“We took advantage of the fact that they will be nearby. We would have preferred to have them here so the game could be watched by everyone but it proved difficult.”
According to FIFA, Botswana is ranked Number 148 in the world and 45 in Africa while Angola is way above at 118 in the world and 29 in Africa.
Even so, the Zebras beat Angola 1-0 in their last meeting at the COSAFA Cup in South Africa last July. The last time The Zebras played an international friendly was when they suffered a 1-0 loss against Bafana Bafana in September.
Here is the the Zebras squad named by Mpote. Goalkeepers: Goitseone Phoko (Gaborone United), Kenneth Mmoko (Sua Flamingoes), Lesenya Malapela (Orapa United). Defenders: Mosha Gaolaolwe (Township Rollers), Thato Kebue, Mothusi Johnson (Gaborone United), Chicco Molefe (Police XI), Tebogo Kopelang (Security Systems), Goitseone Legopelo (Flamingoes). Midfielders: Mpho Kgaswane, Mothusi Cooper, Lebogang Ditsele (Gaborone United), Phenyo Serameng (Rollers), Tawana Mbakile (Security Systems), Godiraone Modingwane (BDF XI), Gofaone Mabaya, Boakeditswe Talane (Orapa United), Gape Mohutsiwa (ASO Chlef, Algeria), Ethany Mahoto (Sweden). Strikers: Thatayaone Kgamanyane, Thero Setsile (Gaborone United), Molaodi Tlhalefang (Security Systems), Kabelo Seakanyeng (Dibba Fujairah, United Arab Emirates), Tumisang Orebonye (Olympique Club De Khouribga, Morocco)