FRANCISTOWN: Orapa United forward, Mbatshi Elias’s good form has not gone unnoticed by the national team selectors.
The former TAFIC man is set for his first run out in national team colours after he was included in the Zebras side that will face Zambia in the 2020 African Nations Championships (CHAN) qualifiers at the Francistown Sports Complex next week.
Mbatshi moved to Orapa from TAFIC during the January transfer window. Since moving to Orapa Elias’s rise to stardom has been somehow spectacular. Perhaps his most defining moment this season was scoring the opening goal in a 3-0 Orange FA cup final win over Township Rollers last month.
Although he left during the January transfer window, he can claim much credit for having played a key role during TAFIC’s promotion’s to the Premier League.
The 23-year old marksman found the back of the net nine times for ‘Matjimenyenga’. The team struggled upfront after his departure.
Meanwhile, Zebras interim coach Mogomotsi Mpote has kept faith on a host of players who did duty for the national team during the COSAFA Cup in South Africa in May. The Zebras reached the final but lost to Zambia. Township Rollers talisman, Segolame Boy and Joel Mogorosi, who played a sterling role at the regional tournament Cup are some of the notable names in the team.
Township Rollers’ goalkeeper, Keagile Kgosipula has also made his way back into the team.
This will probably be Mpote’s last assignment as interim coach. The Botswana Football Association (BFA) has indicated that it will soon announce a coach who will take the Zebras on a permanent basis. A Belgian coach has been tipped to take over with Mpote to be retained as an assistant.
The return leg is in Zambia on the weekend of 2-4 August. The winner of the two-legged tie will play either Eswatini or Angola in the final qualifying round for the tournament, which Cameroon hosts next year.