Four Zebras players suspended over booze

Amrouche says he won't tolerate indiscipline. PIC: PHATSIMO KAPENG
Amrouche says he won't tolerate indiscipline. PIC: PHATSIMO KAPENG

Four Zebras players, who were recently found drinking while on national team duty, will face disciplinary action.

The four, names known to Mmegi Sport, were caught drinking by new Zebras coach, Adel Amrouche during the recent game against Malawi, where Botswana lost 1-0 to crash out of the 2022 World Cup qualifiers.

A livid Amrouche said he cannot allow the national badge to be disrespected, vowing to deal with indiscipline in camp.

“I am not happy at all. I saw the four players with alcohol after training. I cannot accept that,” Amrouche said.

The Belgian said the players will not be considered for selection until the issue is resolved. “I distaste losing, and after we lose, I see some people laughing. We had just lost a game.

We have to respect the flag. If people do not like me, it is not a problem, but I will stay loyal to my job.”

He said attitudes have to change if the Zebras are to succeed. “The attitude is wrong and drinking alcohol is not acceptable, not with me. If you don’t want me, no problem,” he said.  He said he had reported the issue to the Botswana Football Association (BFA) for further action, and the players would not be considered anytime soon.

BFA public relations and marketing officer, Tumo Mpatane said action would be taken against the players.Both Amrouche and the BFA said a code of conduct for national team players is being developed.

“We are closing (in) on the FUB and BFA national team code of conduct, but between then and now, those players will be excused from selection,” Mpatane said.

He said until formal charges have been laid against the players, their names would not be revealed.

Meanwhile, Amrouche said he was concerned with the widespread use of muti during national team games.

“We are in 2019, and very soon it will be 2020. Let’s not believe in juju but hard work. We need the chance to be professional and not traditional,” he said.

The former Burundi, Kenya and Libya coach said he is not asking for a (Diego) Maradona or (Lionel) Messi, but dedication and respect for the jersey from the players.

He said he will continue to monitor players, using the latest technology, to gauge their performance, and ensure that they stay away from harmful behaviour while on national duty.

Amrouche said his decision to drop some experienced campaigners for Monday’s Independence Day encounter against Libya was partly influenced by the poor performance of some players. But he added that it was an opportunity to give the young players a chance in order to add width.

Amrouche said some of the players who were left out would be back in the squad soon. The Zebras have two demanding encounters against Zimbabwe (away) and Algeria (home) in the Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers in November.

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