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The Mares make history

SHARE   |   Tuesday, 10 September 2019   |   By Ricardo Kanono
The Mares make history

…Dump Banyana Banyana out Tokyo 2020 qualifiers

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The senior women’s national soccer team, The Mares, has taken a giant step   towards qualifying for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics by defeating the much fancied South Africa’s Banyana-Banyana at Orlando Stadium.

The local lasses put up a spirited fight against the mighty South Africa to force   a 3-2 win on penalties after a goalless draw in 150 minutes of football. The win was a sweet victory for the local ladies after searching for a win against Banyana in nine attempts. The players have been offered cash incentives by the Botswana Football Association (BFA) for their sterling performance.

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They are set to take on Zambia on two-legged ties to seek a spot in the fourth round of the qualifiers. Botswana’s   impressive performance has been   attributed   to the   good efforts of BFA to send the team   to an international training camp.

In August the   team spent almost two weeks in Slovakia where they played a number of local sides and trained in high quality training centres to prepare well for the do or die encounter against Banyana Banyana.  The   arrangement   led   to the  team   missing this year’s   COSAFA  Cup, something  which  attracted  criticism  from many pundits , however the  move  has now   brought  some good   results.

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The team’s assistant coach Alex Malate has called for more support in order for the team to march all the way.

“The  trip to Europe was very good  because we had time to be  with the  team and that’s what  spirited the players most and now I want to challenge all stakeholders in Botswana to take  women’s football  seriously  because this is a game which players won for everything to be changed. Now we have  the game so it’s  time  to  have  proper  structures and active  league such that  we can do   better  than  this,” said  Malete.

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“The   girls have sent a strong message to the authorities through this win because for a long time they have been bit neglected while priority was given to the men’s team. So  now it’s  up to the  association to  start giving  the team the same respect  the men gets and  international  camps  have proved to be working for us. Look for the past years boxing has been performing badly   but   with the   preparations they had prior to the Africa games they returned   with   good results. So this a route which  Botswana National Sport Commission  together  with affiliates  can  follow regularly  because it is bearing fruits,” said  a source   close  to BFA.



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