Butler faces Moruleng moment of truth

Zebras.Pic.Kagiso Onkatswitse
Zebras.Pic.Kagiso Onkatswitse

Amid controversies that have engulfed both the senior and Under-23 sides, Zebras will have to be at their best against Bafana Bafana this Sunday in the quarterfinal of the COSAFA Senior Challenge.

The game kicks off at 5.30pm at Moruleng Stadium in Rustenburg.  Zebras will be without Keitumetse “Pio” Paul as the assistant coach following his sacking on Wednesday by the Botswana Football Association (BFA).  He was also relieved of his duties as the head coach of the Young Zebras.

This was after he expressed his grievances through Botswana Television (Btv) over five junior players who travelled with the senior team to South Africa.

While South Africa has taken a second-string side to the tournament, Peter Butler and his technical team have called up a strong team that boasts of experienced players. 

Despite lack of game time, captain Joel Mogorosi is expected to lead the Zebras together with Mogogi Gabonamong.

The two players were recently released by Bloemfontein Celtic, but will be valuable to Butler’s aspirations.  They have played many games against some of the South African squad members called up by Ephraim ‘Shakes’ Mashaba.  

Another player who is expected to be key for the Zebras is Mogakolodi Ngele who has been playing regularly for Platinum Stars.

Ngele wrapped up his Platinum Stars career in style, scoring crucial goals, thus saving them from the chop.

His confidence seems to be back ever since coach, Cavin Johnson returned to Platinum Stars in the middle of the just ended season. It will be interesting to see how Butler picks his first 11 with both Ngele and Segolame Boy capable of winning the match.

Upfront, Omaatla Kebatho has been doing well both for the Under-23 and the senior team.

Zebras can take comfort in the fact that South Africa had to make forced changes to their initial squad because of injuries.  This week, Mashaba was forced to call up Tlou Segolela, Mduduzi Nyanda and Lebogang Manyama to fill up spaces left by Athenkosi Dlala, Puleng Tlolane and Cole Alexander.

Zebras on the other hand have a clean bill of health ahead of the encounter.  Bafana Bafana, however, seem to be taking this game seriously even though their preparations have been hampered by injuries.   They played two practice matches this week and will have another friendly game against Malawi this Friday before they take on Zebras. 

Butler has been told to bring the cup home, and amid all the storm anything less will be viewed as under-achievement.

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