The senior national soccer team - The Zebras - leave the country tomorrow (Monday) for Eritrea. The Zebras will take on Eritrea on October 10th 2015 in the first leg of the FIFA World Cup qualifiers game. Peter Butler’s charges will be looking for a good start in the qualifiers. On paper Botswana is much stronger opponent than Eritrea and stands a better chance to come out with good results. Eritrea is ranked 84 places behind Botswana, which is ranked 120th in the FIFA rakings. However, games are not usually won on paper.
The second leg of the encounter will be played in Botswana on the 13th October 2015 at Francistown stadium. The winner between Zebras and Eritrea will face a much tougher opponent - Mali – for a space into the group stages. The Zebras go into this game following a disappointing 2-3 loss to Ethiopia on Independence Day. What was supposed the climax of the 49th Independence celebrations ended in disappointment for Batswana as visitors destroyed the Zebras’ defence from the first whistle with two early goals.
The early goals destabilised the local team who only managed to pull 1 back in the dying minutes of the first half. The solitary goal was however not enough as the visitors increased their tally to three immediately after recess. The match was also used as a preparatory game for the Eritrea clash. Despite the loss all hope is not lost as the team officials believe the boys played very well. The team welfare manager Sakaeyo Jane said they went into the match to try some new techniques and some players. Jane is happy with way the team played, saying if it was not of conceding the early goals they may have won the game.
“To me, the boys played very well despite the little mistakes that cost them the early goals,” said Jane. He said the loss will not have a big impact going into the Eritrea game as the mistakes will be rectified. However, the team is currently not in camp as the players have been released to play in their beMOBILE premier league games.
According to Jane, the players are expected back into camp today (Sunday) noon. “Hopefully all players will be back in camp by Sunday afternoon for them to have group training in the evening, he said. The team will leave Botswana on Monday at 11am and is expected back home on the 11th October 2015 where upon arrival they will go straight to Francistown.