As they play Burkina Faso in AFCON
David Bright, the veteran local coach, has so far not done as had been anticipated in his return to senior national team coaching.
Bright took over as Zebras coach last year and it was highly expected that he will turn the Zebras fortunes around and make them competitive enough to qualify for next year’s Africa Cup of Nations final set to take place in Cameroon.
So far the team’s performance has failed to reignite confidence that reached fever pitch when the team qualified for the 2012 AFCON finals.
Now mid-way through the 2019 qualifiers the Zebras’ best bet would be by coming among the best losing teams because the odds are now heavily stuck against them to emerge as group winners. The team will on October 13 start a back-to-back game s against Burkina Faso, with the first game being away in Ougadougou.
Other members of Botswana group are Angola and Mauritania. The team has lost the first two games at home to Mauritania and away to Angola, meaning that they are the only team without a point while Mauritania is leading with six points, having beaten Burkina Faso.
Now Bright, who rose to fame as a tactician when leading Mogoditshane Fighters to dominance of the Premier League in the 1990s and doing well in charge of Cape Town Santos in South Africa, will now have to draw deeper into his resolve to ensure the team wins all remaining games to have a chance of qualifying.
Garnering 12 points – while hoping that other group members lose points on the way – would land the team in a good place to qualify. The 72 hours between the away and home clashes against Burkina Faso next week will be crucial. While it will be difficult to take points in the away clash, Bright and his men should work their way into snatching home victory.
By the end of Tuesday next week any qualifications hope would be as good as gone unless the team wakes up from the slumber by securing at best a draw away and winning at home.
For that to happen, the players should improve in their sense of belief and take arising opportunities in front of goal. It is more than embarrassing that the team is still hunting for its first goal of the qualifiers.
Against Angola the midfield lacked confidence and failed to push forward as much as possible. The attack was equally blunt and hence Bright should work on sharpening attack even further. There were moments in the Angolan game which showed that the team were capable of claiming victory or at least salvaging a draw, but they were not clinical enough.
While they got a motivational 1-0 international friendly victory against Namibia on Botswana Day, the team will have to do more in an official game to win and restore locals’ trust on them.