The national Under-17 girls football teamís preparations for the 2018 World Cup qualifiers have been severely affected as players are engaged in school commitments.
The team will face their Zambian counterparts in the preliminary round fixture to be played in Zambia on Sunday afternoon.
Information reaching this publication is that the team was set for a two-week training camp that was scheduled to commence last week Monday. However, only three players of the 25 reported for camp while by Friday only 13 players were on duty. Speaking to Mmegi Sport on Tuesday, Botswana Football Association (BFA) marketing and communications officer, Tumo Mpatane said all players who have been called by the technical team had since reported for camp at the start of the week. He said the team is made up of school going children, hence they were held up.
The events mean that the team had only a week of preparations ahead of the crucial encounter against the junior She-polopolo. Speaking at a press conference in Gaborone yesterday, the team’s coach, Boniface Lekaba said he could not manage to assemble 22 players for camp but remained confident that his charges will bring positive results from Lusaka.
“Some of our players are writing their examinations, but we had to work with what we have. The girls are charged up and confident. We have done our best and they have responded well. We hope for positive results, although we have wished for more time in camp. We had to work with what we have.
“The away leg is more of a litmus test. We will have to go out there and see what we can do and come and finish the job back home. With football, preparations
The women national football teams have been under siege lately with the BFA president, Maclean Letshwiti admitting in an interview with this publication that his administration has not done enough to elevate the status of the women’s game in the country. The Under-20s were forced to withdraw from the Under-20 World Cup qualifiers in July as the BFA cited lack of funds. The team could not honour the return leg in Kenya after they were thumped 7-1 by the Kenyans in the first leg played at the Lobatse Sports Complex. “No, there is not a chance that this time around we will be forced to withdraw from the competition. We have made the necessary arrangements for the team. We want these kids to compete,” Mpatane said.
The travelling squad:
Goalkeepers: Sharon Sedimonyane (Tsabong Unified SS), Bongadi Mangadi (Radikolo JSS)
Defenders: Gloria Pilane (Mochudi Brigade), Lone Gaofetoge (Ledumang SS), Letso Botlhale (McConnell College), Basego Sembuwa (Materspei College), Olesego Khuntha (Radisele JSS)
Midfielders: Bakang Ntsinyane, Kaone Kgokong (both Radisele JSS), Keitumetse Dithebe (Gaborone West JSS), Tlamelo Pheto (Linchwe JSS), Obonetse Rathari (Thobega JSS), Tlotlo Charles (Mogoditshane JSS), Phetso Selaledi, Theo George (both Seepapitso SS)
Strikers: Michelle Abueng (Mogoditshane SS), Maatla Tlhobogang (Naledi SS)