The Botswana Under-17 girls team delivered a five star performance with a 5-0 shellacking of Zimbabwe in the first leg of the 2020 World Cup preliminary round played at the National Stadium on Friday evening.
The win gives the local girls, who should be dubbed 5StarGals, a dominant advantage ahead of the second leg to be played in Zimbabwe on January 25.
The home side got off to a blistering start as early as the third minute. Khumo Jautse put in a teasing cross for Yaone Modise who, however, was let down by her dithering control. The chance was cleared. Zim was spared for just that moment.
Because from then on, Botswana took a firm grip of the proceedings, though they seemed to settle for entertaining and educating the spectators.
Hence another chance went begging in the 18th minute. Bofelo Rantsho missed the top corner from inside the box.
Six minutes later, the Gals were on the attack again resulting in Modise colliding with the visiting goalkeeper, Tariro Chirume. But when the referee waved played-on, Rantsho ballooned the shot over an empty net.
Just past the half hour mark, Jautse had her shot saved by the keeper. The home side eventually broke the deadlock in the 37th minute.
Precious Tlhapi volleyed in a corner kick capitalising from poor marking by the visitors. A minute later, Modise tried to lob the keeper on the break but her effort went wide.
The urgency and frequency of the home side ‘s attacks seemed to suggest they were scenting more blood.
Four minutes to the break, Modise tapped in Christinah Monyatsi’s cross but the goal was ruled offside. Botswana took a 1-0 lead into the interval with the visitors failing to manage a shot on target.
Zimbabawe had a torrid time dealing with Botswana’s speedy wingers. They escaped another punishment just five minutes into the second half as Modise hit the cross bar from yet another cross from the wings.
The neighbours resorted to a defensive approach to curb an embarrassing scoreline.
However, Botswana doubled the lead in the 71st minute, tapping into an empty net after a scramble in the
Substitutes, Peggy Manewa and Dimpho Sedirwa combined well with the latter at the end of a dazzling tapestry with a mere tap of the cross from the former into the net as the keeper stood bemusedly motionless.
Skipper, Lorato Motlogelwa made it 4-0 from the spot after a foul on Sedirwa with two minutes to time.
Sedirwa bagged her brace in additional time with yet another sublime volley that beat the keeper to the bottom corner, an impressive display from the bench.
“I am happy that we managed to win the game at home with such a big scoreline. We won the game from the bench.
“We wanted to study the opposition first in the first half hence why we had a very brilliant second half. We saw that we could benefit more from the flanks hence we unleashed our speedy wingers in the second half,” Botswana coach, Tapaphiwa Gaebolae said after the match.
Her counterpart, Garthly Chikunba, though defiant in defeat, bemoaned poor preparations on their part ahead of the away clash.
“I could not bring the whole squad because of administrative issues, which I would want to talk about. We played well but Botswana has been competing at this level while we just formed the team a while back. Yes, we lost but we will not be beaten again in Zimbabwe. We might not proceed to the next round but we will not lose,” he warned.
Botswana: Katso Gaorelathe, Jautse (Manewa), Keitumetse Thomas, Modise, Motlogelwa, Monyatsi (Serati Modisenyane), Tlhapi, Pearl Sikwane, Neo Kgalaeng, Rantsho (Sedirwa), Dessire Kenyaditswe
Zimbabwe: Chirume, Tatenda Mazhetese, Priscilla Marikosi (Beverly Nyandoro), Nokukhaya Ndlovu, Praynence Zvawanda, Tinotenda Taurai (Nosipho Dube), Melody Chikore, Martia Nyanhete, Lucia Chisvo, Thando Sibanda, Emaculate Zulu (Sisa Ndebele)
Botswana 5 (Tlhapi 37th, Modise 71st, Sedirwa 76th, 90+2, Motlogelwa 88th)