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COVID-19 scare in Mares camp

KABELO BORANABI
Anxious wait: The women’s side returned three inconclusive COVID-19 results PIC: MORERI SEJAKGOMO
The Mares training camp is waiting anxiously for a COVID-19 re-test result, after the initial sample returned inconclusive.

The team is in camp, preparing for the 2020 COSAFA Women’s Championship.

Botswana Football Association (BFA) general manager-football, Monnakgotla Mojaki, however, said there was an inconclusive sample and results for a re-test were expected yesterday or today.

“There is nothing of that sort we have not recorded a positive case of COVID-19 in the team. From the initial tests, one came back inconclusive, not being clear if it is positive or negative. A re-test has been done and we expect results this (Thursday) evening or tomorrow morning,” he said.

The players are anxiously waiting for the outcome. The men’s team reportedly recorded a positive test, but the unnamed player has since recovered.

According to a source, the team had to undergo a round of testing after a positive case was recorded in the initial tests. Team coach, Gaolethoo ‘Ronaldo’ Nkutlwisang also said she was not aware of the positive test reports. She said two of the players are in mandatory quarantine.

“We have two players who are based in Zambia in quarantine, they are on day four of the quarantine. I do not know anything on the cases, the team is training as normal, the last session was this morning,” she said.

The Mares will return to action after a year-long hiatus, at the COSAFA Women’s Championship scheduled to start in November 2 until 14, 2020. The team last played in October 2019 when they were knocked out by Zambia in the 2020 Olympic Games qualifiers.

The Mares reported for camp last week and face a mammoth task to prepare for the two-weeklong tournament.

The outbreak of COVID-19 has disrupted the team’s preparations. Nkutlwisang, however, remains calm as she said her troops were not far off the required standards despite spending eight months without kicking a ball.

“It is very difficult to ready the ‘girls’ for a tournament like this during this time. It has been more than a year since we played and we have eight

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months without training. Women footballers in nature tend not to do anything football related at home, so some are lagging behind in terms of fitness. But I would consider myself lucky. A lot of the players I have called up have their own personal training programme. They are also young players and take less time to get them in shape.  There is still a lot of work to be done though.

We need to cover up for the lost time in a space of the remaining weeks before the tournament,” she said. The Mares are in Group C of the tournament following yesterday’s draw. The team will go up against last year’s semifinalist, Zimbabwe, and Tanzania.

“They are both very strong teams, but we are equally capable it will go down to how we have prepared for the tournament and what we want from the tournament. We have played Zimbabwe before; we beat them with our Under-20s who are now part of the senior team. I do not know much about Tanzania, but I expect them to be very tactical,” Nkutlwisang said.

In Group A, it is hosts, South Africa against eSwatini, Angola and Comoros. While 2019 finalists Zambia, Malawi and Lesotho make up Group B.

 

The squad:

Goalkeepers: Sedilame Bosija (Bloemfontein Celtic, South Africa), Gloria Moeng (Geronah), Tlamelo Pheresi (Prisons), Doris Motshegwe (Wonder Girls)

Defenders: Masego Montsho (BDF), Kesegofetse Mochawe (Prisons), Lone Gaofetoge (Geronah), Masego Joshua, Thapelo Moshe (both UB Kicks), Annah Sechane (Township Rollers), Veronicah Mogotsi, Bonang Otlhagile, Gotata Morekolodi (all Double Action), Game Motlogelwa (Gaborone United), Theo George (Wonder Girls)

Midfielders: Lesego Radiakanyo, Ontlametse Gaonyadiwe, Leungo Senwelo, Balotlhanyi Johannes (all Double Action), Atang Busang, Golebaone Selebatso, (both Prisons), Masego Nfandiso (Geronah), Segakolodi Didukanyane (both Mexican Girls), Bonno Mokopanele (Security Systems), Thando Mokgabo (Yasa FC, Zambia),

Strikers: Bame Ngenda (BDF), Nondi Mahlasela (Prisons), Michelle Abueng (Yasa FC, Zambia), Esalenna Galekhutle (Mexican Girls), Refilwe Tholakele (Township Rollers), Taboka Mathanga (B River Giants).



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