The Zebras were expected to steamroll past Mozambique in an international friendly in Lobatse on Sunday, but in the end, Peter Butler’s charges fell to a late Elias Pelembe sucker punch in a 2-1 defeat.
The defeat comes after the Zebras’ juniors, the Under-23 side had done their work well on Wednesday night, winning 2-0 against Lesotho.
However, the senior side came unstuck as their play was not entirely convincing.
Some of the youngsters, who did duty against Lesotho, were thrown into the fray against Mozambique. But, it was Sankoyo Bush Bucks striker Omaatla Kebatho who caught the eye. His combination with fellow Under-23 player, Kabelo Seakanyeng proved a handful for the visitors.
Blended with experienced players such as Joel Mogorosi, Segolame Boy, Ofentse Nato, Obuile Ncenga and Mosha Gaolaolwe, the team was expected to register a win. But, it was the visitors who stole victory right at the death when the experienced Pelembe struck.
In defeat, Butler would be comforted by the display of Letlhogonolo ‘Butcher’ Senwelo of Police XI. Ofentse ‘Size 10’ Nato displayed his experience as he dictated proceedings in the midfield. It was not a surprise when he headed the Zebras in front in the first half. The introduction of Mogorosi added impetus to the Zebras game with his physical play. Although there were flashes of brilliance, the team laboured and lost concentration at the crucial moment, which gifted the visitors the winner.
The defence appeared leaky and communication was not at its best and this was exploited by the Mambas. Assistant coach coach, Pio Paul admitted it was not one of the best displays by the team.
“The boys cannot utilise one-on-one chances and it is unbelievable. I think the boys can defend much better than they did today,” he said. “With just a month left before the COSAFA Senior Challenge begins, it is important to prepare well since our men are going to play teams which are very comfortable on the ball.
I understand that it is not a complete team since we had many changes in order to give other players a chance, but on the other hand, FIFA rankings are important and if we keep on losing such games, we will go down,” he said. The team would have an extended camp in April ahead of the COSAFA Cup in South Africa in May.