Europe-bound basketball star, Churchill Ofentse- Barrows has been ruled out of Botswana’s Afrobasket-All Africa Games qualifier against Mozambique in Maputo next Saturday.
The former Dolphins shooting guard will also not be available for the return leg in Gaborone.
Barrows is scheduled to leave for his new base Malta where he will turn out for Hibernians in the south European island nation before the Valentine’s Day clash. He told Mmegi Sport he was disappointed about missing the Mozambique clash.
“I am totally disappointed because I really wanted to play a part in Botswana’s pursuit of our first qualification for the All Africa Games. “We have a very good chance. We have put in a lot of work that can get us over the boundary. However, I have a once in a lifetime chance that I must exploit,” he said. Barrows believes the Mozambique tie is Botswana’s toughest hurdle to qualification yet made simpler by Swaziland’s pulling out.
For the first time, Botswana play a qualifier on a home and away basis as the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) tries out a new format. Barrows however, predicted Botswana may shock their much more illustrious opponents as they have adequately prepared for this clash. “This particular game is the one which is challenging but truly an upset is possible,” he said. Barrows, who has had two trial stints in Angola, added he cannot wait to meet his new coach, new teammates and new competition. He has also had a training camp in the United States of America (USA) and a short stint with Zimbabwean side Cameo. With Barrows out, Botswana will now be banking on China-based point guard Karabo Geche’s experience. Geche is expected in the country in time for the first leg tie, but it remains unclear whether he will also play the second leg. He deferred his arrival following the postponement of the first leg tie, which had been scheduled for February 3. The country is fighting for qualification for the finals that will be hosted by Cameroon. The women’s team, which is currently in camp, ahead of the qualifiers in Zimbabwe in exactly a fortnight are seeking qualification for the finals that are set for Tunisia. The women’s team will play in a week-long tournament in Bulawayo from February 21 to 28. The dates for the finals are yet to be announced.The winners will directly qualify for Rio 2016 Olympics.