The Under-20 women’s soccer team has set their eyes on World Cup qualification following two years of continued success.
The team will face Namibia on Sunday afternoon in the first leg of the preliminary round of the 2020 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup at the Sam Nujoma Stadium in Windhoek, Namibia.
The team is beaming with confidence after reaching the final of the AUSC Region V games for the first time, where they lost to South Africa.
In 2019, the team represented Botswana at the COSAFA Senior Women’s Championships held in South Africa where they reached the semi-final of the showpiece for the first time in history. They eventually finished fourth, which was the country’s highest finish.
Speaking to journalists on Wednesday, the team’s coach, Jacqueline Gaobinelwe said her side was looking to continue with the history-making trend and take a step further higher with the World Cup qualification. Gaobinelwe said the team has been in camp since Boxing Day and was happy with preparations ahead of the Brave Gladiators’ clash. She however expressed worries over her weekend’s opponents.
“I must say we have studied Namibia a lot. We played them in 2018 and 2019. They are a very organised team with skilful players. We would have to be at our best on Sunday,” she said.
“I told the girls that the same style of play we saw in South Africa against Namibia we should expect on Sunday. The aim is to take every chance we have. In the past our let-down has been how to build up going forward, but I believe we have worked on that, hence we are ready for Namibia.”
Gaobinelwe said her troops were eager to continue with the history-making trend and book a place
“This is a group that has been together for a while now. They have a trend of breaking records where we go. It is my dream and the players to make the country proud and qualify for the World Cup. But it has to start with a good performance against Namibia.”
“We have prepared the girls very well; we have conditioned them mentally, physically and psychologically. I told them that we should expect anything in Namibia, especially after our recent wins against them. This is African football, so anything is possible,” she said.
Gaobinelwe said both goalkeeper, Bame Mokime and midfielder, Lone Gaofetoge are carrying respective knee and ankle injuries, but have travelled with the team.
The team left for Namibia yesterday (Thursday) and will hold two training sessions today and on Saturday. The return leg will be played at the National Stadium on January 31. The winner of the two-legged tie will face a regional powerhouse in either Zambia or South Africa.
The travelling squad
Goalkeepers: Doris Motshegwa (Wonder Girls), BMokime (Double Action), Karaboyaone Masutlhe (Colabo FC), Nametso Sechane (Rollers), Neo Mokgweetsi (Francistown FC)
Defenders: Gloria Pilane, Theo George (both Wonder Girls), Kaone Kgokong (Makufa FC), Mpho Sekate (Mvela FC), Kemo Moloise (Rollers)
Midfielders: Gaofetoge, Oratile Rathari (both Geronah FC), Letso Botlhale, Phetso Selaledi (both Wonder Girls), Keitumetse Dithebe, Segakolodi Didukanyane (both Mexican Girls), Leungo Senwelo, Gaonyadiwe Otlametse (both Double Action), Gertrude Seambala (Makufa FC)
Forwards: Michelle Abueng (Yasa FC, Zambia), Tshegofatso Mosotho (Geronah FC), Esalenna Galekhutle (Mexican Girls), Rethabile Segobye (Eastern Pirates)