Mmegi Online :: Matlhaku joins Under-17 merry-go-round
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Last Updated
Monday 19 November 2018, 13:52 pm.
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Matlhaku joins Under-17 merry-go-round

The Botswana Football Association (BFA) has made a fourth change in the technical team, appointing Odirile ‘China’ Matlhaku as the head coach of the Under-17 girls ahead of the crucial 2018 World Cup second leg encounter against Zambia in Lobatse. Kick off is at 4pm.
By Kabelo Boranabi Fri 27 Oct 2017, 12:55 pm (GMT +2)
Mmegi Online :: Matlhaku joins Under-17 merry-go-round








The team started with Temogo Benjamin as the team’s head coach, but was replaced by Boniface Lekaba prior to the team’s training camp three weeks back. Lekaba, however, did not make the first leg encounter that was played in Zambia a fortnight ago due to work commitments and his assistant, Tapaphiwa Gaebolae took over the reigns.

 Speaking at a media briefing in Gaborone yesterday, the BFA spokesperson, Tumo Mpatane said Lekaba could not return to his post due to work commitments, which meant Matlhaku comes in as the team’s head coach, while Gaebolae will serve as his assistant.

 “We have had a fair share of problems in the team’s camp. Coach Lekaba was held up with work commitments before the Zambian trip and he would be unavailable for this one also. 

So coach, China Matlhaku has been appointed as the team’s coach would lead the team tomorrow,” he said. Matlhaku is the the BFA youth technical coordinator and he also coached the junior national men’s teams, with the Under-20s his last post in the national team setup.

The local girls will face their Zambian counterparts in the preliminary round match to be played this afternoon at the Lobatse Sports Complex. The team faces a mammoth task to qualify for the next round as they lost 5-2 in the away leg played at the Nkoloma Stadium a fortnight ago.  Matlhaku told journalists at

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the briefing that the team has the capability to reverse the score line. 

“I was roped in on October 17 to assist the technical team that went to Zambia due to unavailability of the appointed head coach.  We have kept the same squad that travelled to Zambia.”

“Besides the results, the players have shown great focus and willingness to work hard. That on its own shows that they believe they can reverse the deficit. The fight back they displayed to force two goals in the second half of the game is an indication that it is possible to come back,” Matlhaku said.

The team welcomes striker, Esalenna Galekuthi who missed the first leg trip due to school commitments and is injury free. But Matlhaku decried lack of fitness in the squad, which he attributed to lack of regular action in the local women’s game. 

“The focus of our training was to add on the aspects of game understanding, how to deal with pressure and more finishing frills as well to bring players as close as possible to football fitness level, remember these players are only playing at schools and the women league has long stopped.   We cannot develop fitness in a two or three-week training camp,” he said. 

The winner of the two-legged tie will face South Africa in the first round. Uruguay will host the World Cup finals in December.

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