FRANCISTOWN: The Zebras will have a mountain to climb in their bid to progress to the last qualifying round of the 2020 CHAN tournament billed for Cameroon.
The Zebras played to a goalless draw against Zambia in an encounter played at the Francistown Sports Complex on Friday night. A win at home could have improved Botswana’s chances of advancing to the last round of the CHAN 2020 qualifiers for the first time ever.
The Zebras dominated the encounter from the word go, but failed to hit the back of the net. Zambia never threatened that much in the first half. In fact, for the entire first half Zambia never had any shot on target.
The only time they came close to scoring in the first stanza of the match was in the seventh minute.
Chitiya Mususu’s header went slightly over the bar after he connected with a cross from left.
Twenty-six minutes into the match, Joel Mogorosi who had an eventful match had his shot from range well saved by Zambian goalie Sebastian Mwange. Three minutes later Kgosipula calmly collected what appeared to be a dangerous low ground cross from the left side of the field. The cross was destined for Mususu who appeared ready to score with a simple tap in.
Late in the first half Gilbert Baruti’s well-taken shot from the edge of the box also produced a fine save from Mwange. Mogorosi had set up Baruti with a slick pass. It was 1-1 at the break.
The Zambians were the better side in the early stages of the second-half and they could have found the lead through Mususu who had a fairly impressive match.
Eleven minutes into the second half the Zanaco forward intercepted a very poor back pass from left-back
In the first half Ditlhokwe also cheaply gave away the ball in a dangerous area and Kgosipula came off his line to avert the danger.
Segolame Boy could have put the Zebras ahead in the 63rd minute with a volley, but his effort from inside the box went over the bar. An unmarked Boy had connected well with right-back Thabo Leinenyane’s well taken cross.
Seconds later striker Omaatla Kebatho, who appeared isolated for most of the proceedings sent his shot from range inches wide after he had cleverly navigated his way past his marker.
For most of the second half Zambia appeared to be content with sitting at the back. Just like in the first half, they did try to utelise their aerial strength by delivering a lot of the crosses in the box, but in all occasions they were thwarted by a solid Zebras defence led by Jwaneng Galaxy defender, Fortune Thulare.
Zambia will host the Zebras for the return leg in Lusaka on August 3. The winner of the two-legged tie will play either Eswatini or Angola in the final qualifying round for the Cameroon 2020 CHAN competition.
Botswana: Kgosipula, Mogorosi (C)-(Mbatshi Elias), Ditlhokwe, Thulare, Thabo Leinanyane, Baruti (Mothusi Cooper), Boy, Mothusi Johnson, Kebatho (Tumisang Orebonye), Gofaone Mabaya, Lebogang Ditsele
Zambia: Sebastian Mwange, Simon Silwimba, Mwila Phiri, Clement Mwape, Adrian Chama, Benson Sakala, Jack Chirwa (Larry Bwalya), Ernest Mbewe, Kelvin Kampamba (Youremember Banda), Tapson Kaseba, Mususu (Emmanuel Chabula).