FRANCISTOWN: Zebras interim coach, Mogomotsi Mpote was full of praise for his youthful side following their narrow 1-0 loss to Angola at the Francistown Sports Complex on Friday night.
Mpote assembled a young squad for the match, arguing that the era of most players who have prominently featured for the national team over the last five years has come to an end. He emphasised that there is need to build a new team.
“I am proud of my boys. I expected them to be nervous in the first few minutes because they are new to international football,” Mpote said.
“They started slowly but gained confidence as the match progressed. They managed the game very well. They have really showed that they have potential to play at a high level.”
Despite losing the match, the Zebras were dominant in all departments against their much-fancied opponents.
Mpote added that the match was a good preparation for the national team’s upcoming CHAN matches.
Botswana has been drawn against Seychelles for the first round of the 2020 CHAN qualifiers. Dates for the matches (first and second leg) are yet to be confirmed.
The competition (CHAN) is played between the best national teams of Africa, exclusively featuring players who are active in the national leagues.
“Within the current crop of players (who are within the camp) we have suitable replacements for our foreign-based players who are not eligible for CHAN. For example, for Lesenya Ramoraka (who plies his trade in South Africa) we have Mothusi Johnson.”
Mpote also highlighted that the withdrawal of Thabo Leinenyane from the starting 11 just towards kickoff did not have any psychological impact on the players, which might have resulted in their slow start in the match.
“All the boys were hungry to play which is why I think what happened to Leinanyane did not have any impact on the way they started. Just like I said they were just nervous in the first few minutes because majority of them are new in the national team set up,” he said.
Leinanyane was withdrawn as the match commissioner said that his names on the match did not tally with those captured by the CAF system. In the CAF system, there is his middle name.
On the other hand the middle name did not appear in the match sheet. Mpote said he did not have readily available information on why there was mismatch of Leinanyane’s personal details.