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Zebras enter Antelopes’ backyard

Zebras will face Angola on Sunday PIC: KENNEDY RAMOKONE
Nothing but a win is what the Zebras aim for when they face Angola in a 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier in Luanda over the weekend. The Zebras are third in Group I after losing the opener against Mauritania in June last year.

On Sunday afternoon, the team will be eyeing maximum points to improve their chances of reaching the AFCON finals for the second time in history.

However, a mammoth task lies ahead as they visit the Sable Antelopes in their own grazing field. The two sides have met six times since August 2005, with five matches ending in draws and two of those going into penalties with the Zebras emerging victors. The Zebras have only won once in regulation time with a 2-1 scoreline in the COSAFA Cup earlier this year.

This time around, David Bright will lead his side against a rather experienced Angolan team that has players who ply their trade in the European leagues as they face a hostile environment in Luanda.

Bright, however, is aware of the situation that lies ahead but has bemoaned below par preparations. Speaking at a press briefing on Wednesday, Bright said his side did not have ample time to prepare for the game due to the league schedule. “We assembled on Sunday, on Monday we started physical training to test the fitness of the players and Tuesday we tried to condition the players. We did not have enough time. You can imagine if a national team if prepared in that manner, we are going to encounter problems in the actual game,” he said.

“It is for the reason that we did not have enough time for technical preparations due to the on going league. If only the BFA (Botswana Football Association) could have postponed the league games. But we always do this thing, we will have to use our

experience and knowledge in the match.”  The former Gaborone United coach has included a number of benchwarmers in his squad including the goalkeeping pair of Mwampule Masule and Kabelo Dambe who are playing second fiddle at Township Rollers and Bloemfontein Celtic, respectively. Another shock inclusion is Botswana’s finest export, Mogakolodi Ngele. The 27-year-old has not kicked a ball in a competitive match in over six months after being left out of the Mamelodi Sundowns squad for this season.

However, Bright said he has roped in experienced players to his squad as he eyes a win in the crucial away tie. He also claims his opponents, despite their star studded squad, are not a threat.

“We play a team that has four or five players playing in Europe, but they are not a threat. They have zero points like us, so it is going to be a very tactical game. We are going to be cautious. We will be looking at them for the first 15 minutes and see how they respond to our game plan, then we will take it from there,” he said.

Kick is off at 5pm Botswana time.


The Zebras squad

Goalkeepers: Kabelo Dambe (Celtic, SA), Mwampule Masule (Rollers)

Defenders: Tshepo Maikano (GU), Lesego Kereedilwe, Thabang Mosige (all Orapa United), Simisane Mathumo, Mosha Gaolaolwe, Thatayaone Ditlhokwe (all Rollers), Lesenya Ramoraka (Highlands Park, SA)

Midfielders: Lebogang Ditsele, Thero Setsile (both Galaxy), Alphonse Modisaotsile (GU), Kabelo Seakanyeng, Thatayaone Kgamayane (Chippa United, SA), Mpho Kgaswane (Baroka FC, SA), Mogakolodi Ngele (Mamelodi Sundowns, SA), Lemponye Tshireletso, Motsholetsi Sikele (both Rollers)

Strikers: Onkabetse Makgantai (Baroka FC, SA), Tumisang Orebonye (Rollers)





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