In days leading up to the Black Friday shopping frenzy, the junior and senior Zebras faced a bleak week with defeats to Malawi and Mauritania respectively. The Young Zebras were the first in action and lost 2-1 to Malawi on Saturday at the National Stadium, to kick-start the ‘black week’.
The team, with a number of seasoned Premiership players, was expected to fully utilise home advantage, but meekly surrendered towards the end, as the two-legged tie turned on its head at home.
The return leg on Tuesday was always going to be a mammoth task, and it proved just that, although the Young Zebras managed to hold the Malawians to a 1-1 draw. However, the result was only sufficient to knock them out of the Olympic Games qualifiers, at the first hurdle. While the Young Zebras were being bundled out of the Olympic qualifiers in Blantyre, thousands of miles away, in Mauritania, the Zebras were receiving a routine 2-1 beating.
The Zebras have just one point from all five Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers, and with just one round to go, against Angola next March, there is the real danger of finishing the campaign winless.
The Botswana Football Association (BFA) does not want to upset the applecart at this stage, and press panic buttons. However,
BFA public relations and marketing officer, Tumo Mpatane said there would be a review of the national team’s performance in a campaign that refused to sufficiently take off from day one.
However, signs are that patience with Bright is running thin, after he criticised his employers for lack of support last month. Other than the poor results on the pitch, both national teams also faced challenges off it. The Young Zebras’ kit remained behind in Johannesburg, when the team flew to Malawi.
There was another misfortune for the Zebras, as they were holed up in Mauritania after snow in France, where they were supposed to fly through, meant flights were not possible until the latter part of the week. The team was only expected to land today, on Black Friday.