A week after the Zebras beat their Lesotho counterparts in a friendly match played before a near-empty National Stadium, Young Zebras coach Dragojlo Stanoljovic has called on supporters to rally behind his charges as they take on Namibia on Friday night.
The junior side play their neighbours in the first leg of the World Cup qualifiers at the National Stadium.
As fans and football pundits alike continue to question the late 7pm kick off on a holiday weekend, Stanoljovic said national teams should be given the support by the public as they carry national pride. “I’m not happy with support given to the national teams here in Botswana.
In Europe when a national team plays, you have a full stadium. I do not understand people around here, so please let’s support our national team in our first game (of qualifiers) against Namibia,” the Serbian tactician said.
Drago, as he is affectionately known, said the team has been in camp since January with a pool of 50 players who trained on weekends.
He said they have since cut down the squad to 22 players and Drago said the players are more than capable of
“For me is a big job as this is a national team. We play Namibia in the first match and it’s not an easy task. It’s a very special moment for us and the team,” he said.
The team’s assistant coach, Michael Mogaladi said the team’s lack of exposure to the high level of competitive football could be a fact on the day as most of the players would be getting their first national team cap.
The team has played against Security Systems, Matebejana, Zebras and Swaziland, winning 1-0 against the Swati last weekend.
“In Swaziland we tried different combinations. I can say that we are happy with the outcome and how the players responded,” he said.
The team boasts Kitso Mangolo of BDF XI, Township Rollers’ Kago Monyake and Ryan Brown of Gaborone United who are expected to lead the side to victory.