The road to this year’s CAF U-23 Championships in Senegal will be a steep one for the local side following a narrow qualification past Kenya in the first round. Pio Paul’s charges suffered a disappointing 4-1 defeat in Kenya only to be saved by the away goal rule following a 4-all aggregate.
To make it to the final stage the team has to win all the remaining two rounds. However, standing between them and the third round is the fancied Zambian team which is expected to give the local lads a tough time. The Young Zebras will play hosts to Zambia on May 22nd 2015 in the first leg.
The match is expected to produce fireworks as Pio Paul’s charges already have the understanding of what could happen if they do not finish off their challengers when at home. If it happens that the Young Zebras somehow make it past the Zambians then a much tougher opponent awaits them in the third round.
The team that wins between Botswana and Zambia in the second round will lock horns with West African powerhouse Ivory Coast in the next round. The winner of the third round will proceed to the group stages to be held in Senegal.
Paul will bank on his promising team to cause upsets to their opponents to reach the group stages. Striker Omaatla Kebatho will carry the hopes of the nation during the qualifiers. Kebatho is already one of the leading goal scorers of the tournament having scored three goals in two games. His goals have been crucial in Botswana’s qualification into the next round.
Only eight slots are available at the group stages of the CAF U-23 Championships. The teams which finish in the top three will qualify for the Rio Olympics while the fourth placed team will go through playoffs with an Asian team.