Mmegi Online :: Zebras In Drab Draw
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Last Updated
Monday 10 December 2018, 15:12 pm.
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Zebras In Drab Draw

The senior national team, the Zebras laboured to a lukewarm 1-1 draw against Iran yesterday, and coach, Stanley Tshosane left the University of Botswana (UB) stadium a satisfied man.
By Staff Writer Tue 11 Dec 2018, 03:19 am (GMT +2)
Mmegi Online :: Zebras In Drab Draw








Tshosane fielding only local players said he was satisfied with the display of his boys. Returning Patrick Motsepe was given a starting berth in midfield alongside Dirang Moloi and the two played well in the first half.  However, the Zebras got off to a bad start when the Iranis went ahead as early as the third minute when Shahrar Shirvand scored from a corner.

It took six minutes for the Zebras to take a shot at goal with Motsepe's effort flying wide off the upright. In the ninth minute, Ndiyapo Letsholathebe showed why he is a defender when he miscued his shot after being put through by Dirang. The Zebras were playing better football at this stage and the Iran goalkeeper, Mahdi Rahmati held firm a deflected Mokgathi Mokgathi shot.

The imposing visitors used their physical strength to thwart the Zebras who resorted to a quick passing game to open their opponents.

Dirang, increasingly influential in the opening stages of the match, ballooned his first time effort above the cross bar in the 15th minute.

The bustling Mokgathi returned to haunt the Iran goalkeeper who managed to turn around the blistering drive for a corner.

In the 30th minute, the BDF XI striker duly brought parity, side footing Mosimanegape Ramohibidu's cross, giving the goalkeeper no chance.  Suddenly, the subdued Zebras' fans, among them President Ian Khama Seretse Khama and Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture, Gladys Kokorwe, found their voices. Pontso Moloi, who had a relatively quiet afternoon, saw his header dug out of the line by Rahmat in the 34th minute.

The Mochudi Centre Chiefs forward could have claimed a brilliant individual goal after skipping the challenge of two defenders but curled his effort just

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inches wide.

The two teams went to the break tied at 1-1.
Traffic continued flowing towards the Iran goal in the second half and Pontso almost gave the Zebras' the lead when his deft turn took him past Shojae Kalilzadeh but his effort found the side netting.

In the 60th minute, Mokgathi could only manage to scoop his effort over the bar from a Pontso cross.

Then goalkeeper Noah Maposa did well to thwart Kalilzadeh. As the match fizzled into a damp squib, Tshosane had to do something, sending in Bonolo Fraser and  Mogakolodi 'Tsotso' Ngele and withdrew Pontso and Mokgathi.

But the duo had little say as the match degenerated into a boring affair.
The Zebras' defence was twice breached in a space of five minutes but Maposa saved well. Iran's Karim Ansari Farid cross caused problems in the Zebras' defence but there were no takers as the ball rolled across the face of goal with three minutes to play.

Tshosane said the local players acquitted themselves well. He said it was a tough game but still his charges managed to create enough chances, which could have won the match.

"I think so far so good. Some people did not give the local boys any chance but I believe they played well," Tshosane said.

Once again, Gaborone United holding midfielder, Ofentse 'Size-10' Nato shone like a beacon to cement his growing reputation.

Moemedi 'Jomo' Moatlhaping was disappointing and was pulled out for Mpoeleng Mpoeleng. Malepa 'Chippa' Bolelang who had played 24 hours earlier for his club, ECCO City Greens, was given three minutes on the pitch, replacing Dirang.

Overall the Zebras' can look back with pride after holding a team ranked 58th in the world.

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