FRANCISTOWN: Women’s national team coach, Gaolethoo ‘Ronaldo’ Nkutlwisang has said that there are many positives that her team will take forward.
Mares were booted out of the 2020 Olympic Games qualifiers after falling 3-0 on aggregate to neighbours Zambia.
Although they lost the Tuesday evening second leg tie 2-0, Mares dominated proceedings. They were, however, let down by a shaky defence and lack of predatory instincts upfront. Mares lost the first round tie in Zambia by a solitary goal. Before falling to Zambia, Mares beat highly-rated Banyana Banyana.
“We have assembled a very youthful team. Everyone can see that the style of the team has entirely changed. We have become a team that plays with much focus. Our confidence is improving by the day. It is clear that we are going in the right direction. We have a strong foundation to build on.”
“Going forward I think it is important to focus more on being organised at the back and scoring goals. If we can correct that, we can compete against other established African teams,” Nkutlwisang said after the Zambia match.
Her Zambian counterpart, Bruce Mwape also sees a bright future for Mares. “I think they are a good side.
They should work more on their confidence on the ball. They should work on their defence as well. I thought they gave away the ball very easily in very crucial areas.”
“I have picked several excellent players particularly the goalkeeper who I believe the team can be build around her.
She showed experience and the ability to compete at a higher level. She produced very brilliant saves. We could have scored four or five goals if it was not for her.”
Mares goalkeeper, Sedilame Bosija who plays professional football in South Africa, was in her element against Banyana Banyana last month saving two penalties in the shootout before scoring one to hand Botswana a surprise 3-2 victory.
Mwape was also impressed with Mares forward, Refilwe Tlholakale who gave the visitors’ defence a torrid time.
“Botswana should also play friendly games with bigger teams. We have gained experience from playing bigger teams.
They contributed significantly to where we are today. From what I have seen I am sure it will not take time for them to be able to compete at a higher level,” he said.