Zebras coach, David Bright has said he will drop any unfit player, as the team regroups on Sunday, preparing to face Angola in an Africa Cup of Nations qualifier on September 9.
Derailed in their opening Group D AFCON qualifier against Mauritania last June, the Zebras will attempt to get back on track against the Palancas Negras next week Sunday in Luanda.
But the Zebras’ preparations did not start in the best possible way, as clubs refused to release players ahead of this weekend’s league matches.
The national team was supposed to meet in Gaborone on Sunday, but Bright was left frustrated after clubs cited the league program as reason for holding on to the players.
Bright will be forced to reshuffle his program as players will now convene in Gaborone on Sunday, after doing club duty.
The coach indicated that, with little time before the Angola game, he would be forced to take the players through a fitness test.
“We don’t have time to do reconditioning. Therefore, we will run fitness tests and those who fail will be dropped, regardless of reputation,” Bright said.
He emphasised that any player who fails the test, even those based abroad, would be dropped. There are fitness concerns over the team’s star midfielder, Mogakolodi ‘Tsotso’ Ngele. He has been training own his own, after he failed to force his way into coach, Pitso Mosimane’s star-studded Mamelodi Sundowns.
The Botswana league has just kicked-off while Angola’s Girabola commenced in February. Bright said he wanted to start the camp on Sunday so that the fitness tests are carried out. Out of the 30 players called up, the squad will be trimmed to 20 before
“I am not happy that we could not go into camp, but there is nothing I can do about it. The FIFA date starts on September 3, so I cannot blame the clubs. What it means is that we will not have any friendly match. I intend to ask local clubs to release foreign players, to form a select and they we play against them,” Bright said.
He added that this will be the only way they can assess players in a game situation, and try and work on their shortcomings.
Bright failed in his attempts to get this week’s league matches postponed as the Botswana Premier League, reportedly said they had a tight schedule.
The Zebras are third in Group I, but can resuscitate their hopes with a win in Angola. The Angolans are bottom of the group, after they went down 3-1 to Burkina Faso in the opening match.Burkina Faso and Mauritania are joint top with three points, but the 2013 AFCON finalists are ahead due to a superior goal difference.
Goalkeepers: Kabelo Dambe, Mwampule Masule, Keeagile Kgosipual, Bophelo Kealeboga
Defenders: Lebogang Ditsele, Simisane Mathumo, Lesego Kereedilwe, Thabang Mosigi, Lesenya Ramoraka, Thero Setsile, Tshepo Maikani, Mosha Gaolaolwe
Midfielders: Tebogo Sesome, Gape Mohutsiwa, Alphonse Modisaotsile, Lemponye Tshireletso, Thatayaone Kgamanyane, Kabelo Seakanyeng, Motsholetsi Sikele, Karabo Phiri, Mpho Kgaswane, Kobamelo Kebaikanye, Segolame Boy, Thatayaone Ditlhokwe, Mogakolodi Ngele
Strikers: Onkabetse Makgantai, Omaatla Kebatho, Tebogo Sembowa, Jerome Ramatlhakwana, Tumisang Orebonye