RUSTENBURG: Zebrasí difficult period continued on Saturday when they lost 2-1 to Zambia in the quarterfinals of the Castle COSAFA Cup. The team has had a difficult week prior to their departure to South Africa with players demanding their unpaid allowances from the Botswana Football Association (BFA).
The situation nearly turned into an embarrassment when the two parties reached a deadlock, resulting in a delay in the team’s departure. Earlier last month, the team parted ways with head coach, Peter Butler after a defeat to Mauritania in the Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers.
On Saturday, Zebras had a slow start to the game and conceded as early as the 10th minute, giving Zambia an early lead through striker, Brian Mwila. However, they settled down and nearly got the equaliser through Gaborone United striker, Tumisang Orebonye but his shot went wide. The attempt followed a brilliant exchange of passes, which was orchestrated by Township Rollers winger, Lemponye Tshireletso.
They were dealt a blow when they had to make a forced substitution in the 37th minute after an injury to Omaatla Kebatho who made way for defender, Thabo Leinanyane. Zebras had another chance before halftime, but the Zambian defence cleared off the line with the goalkeeper beaten. From the clearance, Zebras got hold of the ball again in the box and Orebonye took a shot, which was deflected for a corner as Zambia survived conceding before the recess.
At the start of the second half, Zebras introduced Mpho Kgaswane for Tapiwa Gadibolae to try and pile pressure on Zambia. But it was their opponents who increased the lead after a defensive lapse. Justin Shongwa took a shot, which created confusion at the back for the Zebras, leading to defender, Moreetsi Mosimanyana beating his own goalkeeper.
Thabang Sesinyi came
Last year they lost in the final, after going all the way for the first time. Speaking to the media after the game, caretaker coach, Boyo Radipotsane said the goal, which they conceded early in the game made it difficult for his charges. He, however could not be drawn into discussing whether the standoff between the players and the association last week affected the performance on Saturday.
For his part, Zambian coach, Wedson Nyirenda said he was happy with the victory. He said they are trying to create a pool of players having realised that they have been on a downward spiral since they won the 2012 Africa Cup Of Nations.
Zebras: Mwampule Masule, Gadibolae (Mpho Kgaswane), Mosha Gaolaolwe, Tebogo Sosome, Mosimanyana, Lesego Galenamotlhale, Seakanyeng, Lemponye Tshireletso, Kebatho (Leinanyane), Setsile (Sesinyi), Orebonye
Zambia: Allan Chibwe, Lawrence Chungu, Diamond Chikwekwe (Godfrey Ngwenya), Nsofwa Mwansa (Lubinda Mundia), Shonga (Solomon Sakala) , Donashano Malama, Mike Katiba, Jackson Chirwa, Webster Mulenga, Isaac Shamujomba, Mwila Cautions: Galenamotlhale, Sesinyi