Botswana announces strong COSAFA Cup squad

Bakang Mhaladi

GABORONE – Botswana swam against the tide as they chose to name a strong, regular senior squad for their COSAFA Cup quarter final tie against Zambia on Saturday.

Other nations have fielded fringe or junior players in the regional tournament, but Botswana, last year’s finalists, on Tuesday named a strong squad, sending out a clear statement of intent.

Caretaker coach, Boyo ‘Oris’ Radipotsane, who takes charge after the sudden departure of Peter Butler last week, will miss only two key players, Ofentse Nato and Thato Kebue.

Nato has been without a club since the end of the Indian Premier League season in September where he turned out for Atletico de Kolkata while Kebue, who plays for Mochudi Centre Chiefs is out through injury.

Both were part of the recent training camp. Radipotsane said Nato’s fitness was questionable as he has been inactive for sometime, although his predecessor, Butler previously used the player.

But Botswana will retain enough firepower to go all the way, despite taking on a youthful Zambian side, which can still knock Botswana out of the tournament.

Zambia preferred to send its Under-20 side, which came agonisingly close to upsetting Italy in the quarter finals, but bowed out 3-2 after extra time at the recent World Cup in South Korea.

The Junior Chipolopolo would be bubbling with justified confidence after their sparkling run in Korea, which brought them close to the ultimate prize.

Radipotsane has avoided making wholesome changes after his senior, Butler left in a huff two weeks ago.

“It will not be ideal, may be in the next tournament. Remember, we started this training camp with Butler,” he said when asked if there would be changes to tactical approach.

In the absence of Nato, Chiefs veteran midfielder, Lesego Galenamotlhale will skipper the team against Zambia.

Defender, Tebogo Sesome told journalists in Gaborone this week before the team’s departure for South Africa, that they should go one better after last year’s exploits in Namibia.

“We want to do better than last year but we will also need the crowd to push us. In Windhoek last year, we had many supporters and I am hopeful that we will have even more of them in Rustenburg since the distance from this side is not long,” he said.

Sesome is confident that there is able replacement for the injured Kebue, a rising 20year-old central defender.

Botswana named Lebogang Ditsile, who plays for Highlands Park as the only foreign based player, with the other, Mogakolodi ‘Tsotso’ Ngele was excused.

Zebras squad:

Goalkeepers

Anthony Gouws (Jwaneng Galaxy), Mwampule Masule (Rollers), Michael James (Black Forest)

Defenders

Tebogo Sosome (Galaxy), Moreetsi Mosimanyana (Galaxy), Mosha Gaolaolwe (Rollers), Simisane Mathumo (Rollers), Onkabetse Seforo (BDF XI), Thabo Leinanyane (Galaxy), Tapiwa Gadibolae (Police XI)

Midfielders

Lebogang Ditsile (Highlands Park), Galen-amotlhale (Chiefs), Thero Setsile (Galaxy), Kabelo Seakanyeng (Gaborone United), Lemponye Tshireletso (Rollers), Lemogang Maswena (Orapa United), Thatayaone Kgamanyane (Black Forest), Mpho Kgaswane (Baroka FC), Richard Legwaila (BDF XI)

Strikers

Omaatla Kebatho (Orapa United), Tumisang Orebonye (GU), Thabang Sesinyi (Galaxy), Hendrick Moyo (Police XI)

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