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Zebras slide towards worst ever ranking

STAFF WRITER
The Zebras form has dipped after a bright period in 2011
The Zebras slid further down the FIFA World rankings released on Monday, reaching number 147, just 18 places away from the worst position reached in 1999.

Back then, the Zebras were known as the ‘whipping boys’ and the weeping appears to have returned with just one win in over a year.

The Zebras were number 146 last month, but despite an Independence Day win over Ethiopia, the national side was back to its losing ways with a 3-1 reversal at the hands of league-less Namibia.

The national team reached number 165 in 1999, their worst ever ranking, before the arrival of Jelusic Veselin saw a drastic change in fortunes.

Botswana appeared to be on an upward trajectory when the senior team moved to number 88 in 2015, following victories over continental powerhouses, Burkina Faso and Mali. But a combination of factors, including inactivity, saw the Zebras slide towards new lows.

David Bright was brought in to steady the ship, but there was no immediate reprieve as he has registered just one victory in five matches.

Zebras’ only bright moment has been qualification to the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations, but with an increase in participating teams

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at the finals, Batswana will be hopeful.

BFA president, Maclean Letshwiti has said while he is concerned about the slide, he is not overly worried as he has the finger on the pulse. Letshwiti, who rode on a campaign largely based on development, said the road map, which has seen country wide introduction of youth leagues, carries the solution.

“I am addressing the low performance by having a robust development programme, which can produce quality players for Zebras. There is no other cure. There is no successful team without a robust development programme. When you know that you have arrived, you should see your players being exported to Africa, Europe and other parts. And we are far from that.

Only an ignorant, naive person will say the Zebras are not performing. In any case, what have they achieved in the last 50 years? It has always been mediocre performance. Yes, I am worried but I am doing something about it,” Letshwiti said in a recent interview.



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