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Batlokwa revels in Zebras debut

MQONDISI DUBE
Batlokwa played against Egypt
It was long time in coming, but Renei Batlokwa says the wait to pull on the Zebras shirt was worth the wait.

Batlokwa recently made his debut, albeit in an international friendly match against Egypt.

He came on as a second half substitute as new coach, Adel Amrouche runs the rule over the 21 year-old Southend United player.

After the game, Amrouche said Batlokwa is a player for the future, although the attacking midfielder turns 22 in December.

Batlokwa has been overlooked in the past despite being the only Motswana who plays in England.

Southend campaigns in the country’s third tier, but Batlokwa’s future with the club is bleak. Batlokwa recently said he will not be at Southend for long. He said the recent call-up gave him the opportunity to know his new teammates well.

He left Botswana at the age of six, and still regularly visits the country.

“It is an honour to represent Botswana, one of the things I dream of growing up. I hope there’s many more opportunities to represent my country and do great things for the people,” Batlokwa said.

He said he was never torn between representing Botswana and England, a dilemma that often confronts many

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players.

“My heart has always been set on Botswana. It was just a matter of time. Before maybe it would have been easier to represent England at youth level, only because it’s where I live,” he said.

Batlokwa said he was happy with the minutes he got against the seven time African champions.

The player will keep his fingers crossed that he gets a call-up when Amrouche names his squad for the crucial back-to-back Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers against Zimbabwe and reigning champions, Algeria.

Coach, Amrouche has been given the task to qualify for the 2021 AFCON finals, win the COSAFA Cup and do well in the World Cup qualifiers. His stay in the World Cup qualifiers was short-lived, when the Zebras lost 1-0 over two legs to Malawi, while it would be an uphill battle in the AFCON qualifiers, where the Zebras face Algeria, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Amrouche is still building his side, but at the same time, his employers, the Botswana Football Association will expect him deliver on the set targets.



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