…Dump Banyana Banyana out Tokyo 2020 qualifiers
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.
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.
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.
“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.