Under 17 national team coach Tumi Duiker says preparations and progress ahead of the COSAFA Championships slated for Mauritius next week are going well and he is happy with the team ‘s response so far in all positions. Duiker who is also the head coach of the Lobatse based premier league outfit Extension Gunners , revealed during media briefing this week that the team is ready to go to represent the country by not just adding numbers at the tournament but to compete for the championship as well. The Diamond Zebras as it is affectionally known will participate in the under 17 COSAFA championship hosted by Mauritius to kick start next week.
The mentor charged that the team has been on the training camp for quite some time to extensively prepare for the tournament. “We underwent training camps for a long period of time with a 25 squad member team but these camps have been helpful to the technical teams as we were able to select and reduce the team to a number that is needed to participate in Mauritius” charged Duiker.
He further said the team has also played friendly games as part of preparations, pointing that they played against Lesotho and Kingdom of eSwatini on what became good preparatory exercise as they managed to see the weaknesses and correct them. “I very am quite happy with the pool of the players that we have and they played well on the match practices that we have played so far. However, there are always challenges because most of the boys are students and they have to balance the camp and school work, and so far this is chief challenge that we face regularly,” he added.
The team captain Larona Modisaemang noted that they had a very successful good training camps which is a morale boost to the players towards the competition, adding that as players they are hunger for success and the team has been responding well to the instructions from the entire technical team . He said that they are looking forward to have a good tournament because of the team’s potential.
For his part Botswana Football Association, CEO Mfolo Mfolo gave the team word of encouragement saying that the team possesses the potential to cause upset in the tournament and progress all the way to the next round. The Diamond Zebras is pitted against Mauritius, Namibia and Sychelles in the group stages. First game of the team will be against Mauritius on the 19th July, followed by encounter against Sychelles and Namibia on the 21st and 24th of July respectively.