The Zebras’ interim coach Mogomotsi ‘Teenage’ Mpote faces a strikers’ crisis ahead of the AFCON qualifiers tie against Angola, which is scheduled for next Friday at the Francistown Sports Complex.
Speaking at a press briefing at the Lekidi Football Centre yesterday, where he named the latest Zebras squad, Mpote admitted that he is facing striker problem hence had to turn to off-form and unproven attackers in a bid to freshen the squad.
Eyebrows were raised following the tactician’s decision to omit the current league top goal scorer, Joel Mogorosi who leads with 12 goals together with on-form strikers, Tebogo Sembowa and Bonolo Fraizer. The coach has, however opted for out-of-form duo of Omaatla Kebatho and Onkabetse Makgantai, while Prisons XI’s Kitso Mpuisang got his first Zebras call up, to add on the striking force that includes Tumisang Orebonye.
Of the quartet, Mpuisang is the most inexperienced but has the most goals with eight in the league; Orebonye has five league goals to his name, while Makgantai has found the back of the net once in 11 appearances.
“We have strikers’ problem in Botswana, it is an issue we are dealing with as coaches. The current leading goal scorer is a senior; Mogorosi is scoring goals, that’s a fact but looking at development we have to look for younger strikers to take over,” Mpote said.
“We need a new pool of strikers that will help the country qualify (for major tournaments).
The reason why we have not been qualifying is because we are not scoring goals and that’s what we need to work on as coaches,” he added. Mpote has omitted all the foreign-based players except Makgantai and full back, Lesenya Ramoraka. He argued that this was in line with preparations for the CHAN 2020 qualifiers where the Zebras are pitted against Seychelles. “The players in the squad have been part of the national teams’ structures. They have been playing international games at different levels and this gives them license to be called up in the senior team,” Mpote explained. “We have an immediate responsibility to take the team forward looking at the games we are going to play. We have CHAN in the next month, so we wanted to freshen the squad because a lot of players in the team are aging. Of course there are lot of players on form but we have to look at the future.”
Meanwhile, Zebras are expected to be wearing the new Umbro jersey in the game against Angola. “We will be fully dressed by Umbro. All the kits and equipment are expected to arrive on Monday. We would have expected them by now, but we were taken aback by some logistical problems,” Botswana Football Association, chief executive officer, Mfolo Mfolo said.
Goalkeepers: Keeagile Kgosipula (Rollers), Ezekiel Morake (Galaxy)
Defenders: Thatayaone Ditlhokwe (Rollers), Kitso Mangolo, Thabo Leinanyane, Thato Kebue, Fortunate Thulare (all Galaxy), Mothusi Johnson (Orapa United), Alphord Velaphi (GU), Lesenya Ramoraka (Highlands Park, SA)
Midfielders: Segolame Boy, Gape Mohutsiwa, Mothusi Cooper (all Rollers), Lebogang Ditsele, Gilbert Baruti, Thero Setsile (all Galaxy), Gofaone Mabaya (Orapa United), Phenyo Serameng (BDF XI), Brian Mankanku (Gunners), Mpho Kgomo (Police XI)
Strikers: Tumisang Orebonye (Rollers), Omaatla Kebatho (Orapa United), Kitso Mpuisang (Prisons XI), Onkabetse Makgantai (Baroka, SA)