Butler optimistic

SHARE   |   Monday, 30 May 2016   |   By Othusitse Tlhobogang

Despite the cancellation of the Zebras/Malawi friendly game, Zebras coach Peter Butler remains optimistic about their upcoming game against Uganda. Butler’s charges take on Uganda on June 4, 2016 at Francistown Stadium in a crucial AFCON qualifiers match. This is a must win game for the team to keep alive hopes of qualifying for the AFCON finals in Gabon. The Zebras were expected to play Malawi in a friendly game to prepare for the Uganda match. The game was however cancelled on Thursday following a communiqué from the Football Association of Malawi that their team will not be able to honour the match due to reason beyond their control.

Even though he was looking forward to the friendly match prior the qualifiers, Butler remained positive of good results. He said the players are in good shape and are promising to deliver come next week. Butler said he trusts the squad he has called into camp. The camp has not been a smooth one with players boycotting training at the beginning of the week. The players refused to train demanding that they be paid their allowances for the Lesotho game. This obviously affected the team’s training adding to the blow brought by the cancelled friendly game. Asked whether this could have disturbed his preparation plans Butler said he will not comment on the matter. “I will not comment on that matter. What I can say is that we should all be positive and look forward to the coming match,” said Butler. The team is currently training as the players returned to the pitch following the intervention of Botswana National Sport Commission (BNSC) Chief Executive Officer Falcon Sedimo.

Zebras’ welfare manager Sakaeyo Jane said the situation has been resolved after Sedimo addressed the players. “The situation has gone back to normal. The players have been training twice a day since Thursday,” said Jane. He pointed out that the players only needed assurances that they will get what they wanted. Jane revealed that the morale is back up and the players are looking forward to the Uganda game. To qualify for the Gabon 2017 AFCON Botswana have to win the remaining two games against Uganda and Burkina Faso. Botswana currently is at position three in Group D with 6 points behind the two which are both tied at seven points. Only the group winners will qualify and two of the best runner-ups. It remains to be seen if Zebras will continue their unbeaten run at the Francistown Stadium when they welcome the tricky Uganda next weekend. Botswana Football Association (BFA) has since urged Batswana to go in numbers to the stadium to support and motivate the team. The fans have been also asked buy tickets for the match in time to avoid any inconvenience.