The COSAFA Cup draw which was conducted this week has handed The Zebras a tricky and challenging fixture. Zebras have been pitted against South Africa’s Bafana Bafana in the quarterfinals of the 2015 COSAFA Cup set for May 25th.
The fixture will be an interesting one for Peter Butler’s lads who have been idle from competitive football for some time now. The last time the team played a competitive match was in November 2014 during the African Cup of Nations qualifiers while Bafana went all the way to the African Cup of Nations.
Bafana Bafana have always proved to be a tougher opponent for the Zebras. The Zebras have only managed to defeat Bafana Bafana only once during the COSAFA Cup in 2006. However, local lads have been showing signs of urgency when playing their neighbours. There is always that rivalry whenever the two meet, with Bafana dominating in wins.
Despite the hype that this fixture always bring to local football lovers Zebras coach Peter Butler did not want to say anything about the outcome of the draw. Butler declared this week, “I have no comment whatsoever”. The Zebras assistant coach Pio Paul also could not comment, referring this publication to the head coach.
Local supporters are excited about the draw, saying it will help the national team to get more competitive by playing stronger opponents. “We mostly play against weak opponents and this is not helping the team. To get more competitive we have to start playing against strong teams even in friendly matches,” said Zebras supporter Dithapelo Gotlhe.
He pointed out that South Africa always gives Botswana a good run and whenever local guys play them they put in their all. As a result Gotlhe feels that playing South Africa will produce an interesting match for Batswana as even Bafana Bafana players will be playing to keep pride of their nation in football. The soccer fanatic said this game will be a must watch as both sides have something to proof.
Ten COSAFA nations will take part in the 2015 tournament following the decision by both Angola and Comoros to opt out. West African outfit Ghana and the eastern African country Tanzania have been roped in as guest nations to make 12 competing nations. The bottom eight ranked teams, according to the February FIFA rankings, will compete in the first round of the group stages.
Group A is made up of Namibia, Lesotho, Zimbabwe and Tanzania. In Group B there is Seychelles, Madagascar, Mauritius and Swaziland. Winners in Group B will then proceed to play Ghana in the quarterfinals. Zambia will be waiting for winners from Group A while Mozambique will play Malawi.