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Zebras’ opponents get down to work

MQONDISI DUBE
Back-to-back: Zebras and Chipolopolo have a double date in November PIC: KENNEDY RAMOKONE
Zebras’ next Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers opponent, Zambia are knuckling down ahead of a back-to-back encounter in November.

Chipolopolo are due to face South Africa’s Bafana Bafana and the Harambee Stars of Kenya, as they ramp up preparations for crucial AFCON clashes against Botswana.

COVID-19 has wreaked havoc with football activities in both Botswana and Zambia severely curtailed.

However, it is the Copper Bullets, who have a head start, and have a date against Bafana Bafana and Kenya next month.

The Zebras have not kickstarted their preparations with coach, Adel Amrouche having travelled to Belgium.

However, he is expected to return early October to take charge of the side’s preparations, as the Zebras chances of qualifying for the continental showpiece already hang threadbare.

Botswana opened the campaign with a 0-0 draw away to Zimbabwe, before losing 1-0 to Algeria at the National Stadium November last year. No further action has been possible after COVID-19 disrupted proceedings.

But CAF recently announced the qualifiers would resume in November.

Amrouche has expressed his desire to play an international friendly

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match before facing the Copper Bullets.

Botswana Football Association (BFA) public relations officer, Tumo Mpatane said the office and Amrouche were preparing a plan for the team. “At the moment, we cannot confirm any friendly, our priority will be on assembling a strong team and getting it ready to compete,” Mpatane said.

He said due to COVID-19 restrictions, players’ match fitness has been compromised.

Local players have been inactive since a decision to suspend football activities back in March.

“Unfortunately because of the restrictions, our players have no proper match fitness at the moment, but our hope is that the preparation will be enough to get them up to speed,” he said. Zambia are under the tutelage of former Orlando Pirates coach, Milutin ‘Micho’ Sredojevic. They anchor the standings in a group that includes reigning African champions, Algeria and Zimbabwe. The Zebras are third with one point, but yet to score a goal.



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