FRANCISTOWN: An irate Zebras coach, Peter Butler took a dig at his employers, the Botswana Football Association (BFA) as Mauritania took advantage of a lapse in concentration to stun the hosts 1-0 in the opening 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier on Saturday.
“We played fantastic football but what goes on outside is totally unacceptable. We are happy with the president Maclean Letshwiti, but there is a problem with people around him. We wonder if they are with us or not. I am fed up to the back teeth. They should stop sabotaging those who want to do good for the nation,” Butler poured out after the game.
Zebras showed their attacking hand from the opening minute reaching the Mauritania box on numerous occasions in the first 10 minutes.
Zebras first threat came in the ninth minute when Omaatla Kebatho flicked into Onkabetse Makgantai’s path but the alert visiting goalkeeper was quick off the line to avert danger. On the quarter hour mark, Mogakolodi Ngele rattled the crossbar with a 20-metre free kick.
The visitors, who were holding back, had their first attack after 20 minutes but the end product was a tame low shot by Niass Amadou that was easily collected by the goalkeeper.
Zebras produced countless attacks but failed to make them count.
Mauritania squandered a chance in the 37th minute when Harouna Abou cut from the left, drove inside and laid a pass to Abeid Ali whose curler to the far post was well saved.
Ngele responded with a defence splitting pass to set Makgantai, but the striker’s effort under the defenders was parried away.
From the dugout, Zebras played deep but sprung into attack whenever they were on the ball. On the 59th minute, Zebras saw a glorious chance go bagging. Thabang Sesinyi linked well with Makgantai who worked his way into the box and laid a delicate low drive across the penalty area, but the ball eluded the Zebras attacking pack.
Amadou responded with a similar cross at the other end two minutes later, but his
Makgantai, who was ever threatening, was unfortunate in the 65th minute when he connected well with Ngele’s cross in the 16-yard area but Mauritania had enough bodies behind the ball to block his shot off the line. Tapiwa Gadibolae’s follow up shot was also blocked out for a corner.
In the 71st minute, Bagili Babacar produced a brilliant turn against Mosha Gaolaolwe to set himself a step ahead into the box and he poked a shot that produced a superb save from the advancing Masule. Six minutes later, substitute Mohamed Abdulai stunned the Zebras.
Abdulai chased at the end of a long ball and put pressure on Thato Kebue who was left alone at the back. Kebue failed to clear and Abdulai pounced and slotted with a low drive to the far post.
After the goal, Zebras attacked with the wings and posted a number of crosses into the box but luck continued to elude the home side. Lebogang Ditsile summed up the Zebras misfortunes when he skied a 90th minute chance from inside the box.
The visiting coach, Martins Corentin who was happy with the three points, said their plan was well executed.
Butler was happy with his charges’ performance and cared less about the loss. He was rather irate with his superiors at BFA.
Mauritania (0) 1 (Abdallahi 77th)
Mwampule Masule, Moreetsi Mosimanyana, Mosha Gaolaolwe, Kabelo Seakanyeng, Mogakolodi Ngele, Thero Setsile (Thatayaone Kgamanyane), Omaatla Kebatho (Thabang Sesinyi), Onkabetse Makgantai (Tumisang Orebonye), Thato Kebue, Tapiwa Gadibolae, Lebogang Ditsile
Brahim Souleimane, Ba Abdoul, Abeid Aly, N’Diaye Bakary, Harouna Abou, Yaly Mohamed Dellah, Camara Khassa, Guidileye Dialo, Khalil Moulaye Ahmed (Sarr Sally), Niass Amadou (Soudani Mohamed Abdallahi), Bagili Babacar (Salem El Moctar)
Caution: Niass Amadou