The Zebras coach, David Bright says his side is targeting the final of the COSAFA Cup, despite taking a team without the foreign-based legion to the regional tournament, which starts in Polokwane on Sunday.
Bright has named a 20-man squad for the tournament omitting a number of South African-based players including Mogakolodi Ngele, Thabang Sesinyi, Mpho Kgaswane and Kabelo Dambe. He has opted for younger players, with an average age of 24.
Addressing a press conference in Gaborone yesterday, Bright said his side’s preparations for the tournament were affected by the congested league schedule but was optimistic that they will meet their target.
“This is a totally different team that played Gabon (in a friendly match early this year). It is not a reserve squad though.
We have taken into consideration that the league has just finished and players will need to recover. So scientifically, younger players recover faster. We also considered young players because we want them to expose them to international markets like South Africa.” “Everyone wants to win, we have celebrated teams winning leagues across the world, now it’s time to shift focus to the Zebras. With the team selected we are convinced that we will reach the finals.
We have to overcome our first hurdle which is the group stages, then the quarterfinals where would play Zimbabwe. The third obstacle is the semifinals, at least for the first obstacle, we know our opponents, the semi-final would be a tough one,” he said.
‘Fakude’ further said his
He was however, impressed with the team’s response to his training method as they have played two preparations against Security Systems and Uniao Flamingo Santos where they lost 3-2 and won 3-0 respectively.
The Zebras are in Group B alongside Angola, Mauritius and Namibia. The team will kick start their tournament against, Angola on Monday before taking on Malawi on Wednesday, they will end their group stage matches against Mauritius on Friday. The Zebras last reached the final of the tournament in 2016 where they lost 3-2 to South Africa, which remains the team’s best achievement.
The travelling squad:
Goalkeepers: Bophelo Kealeboga (Miscellaneous), Goitseone Phoko (Gaborone United), Mwampule Masule (Township Rollers)Defenders: Thato Kebue (Jwaneng Galaxy), Lesenya Ramoraka (Orapa United), Tshepo Maikano (Gaborone United), Lesego Keredilwe (Miscellaneous), Thatayaone Ditlhokwe (Gaborone United)Midfielders: Katlego Masole (Police XI), Alphonse Modisaotsile (Gaborone United), Kabelo Seakanyeng (Gaborone United), Thatayaone Kgamanyane (Gaborone United), Kobamelo Kebaikanye (Orapa United), Gape Mohutsiwa (Township Rollers), Eric Molefhi (Uniao Flamingo Santos), Karabo Phiri (Gaborone United), Gilbert Baruti (Jwaneng Galaxy), Godiraone Modingwane (Security Systems)Strikers: Onkabetse Makgantai (Orapa United), Tumisang Orebonye (Gaborone United)