Zebras’ two key players, Mogakolodi Ngele and Mothusi Cooper are expected to get a run in the Africa Cup of National (AFCON) qualifier against Algeria tonight after missing out on the match against Zimbabwe.
The two players were badly missed in the 1-0 loss to Zimbabwe on Thursday, a result that crashed the Zebras’ hopes for qualifying for their second AFCON finals.
The Zebras needed a win to stay in the race for the second spot in the group, but Perfect Chikwende’s solitary effort in the first half was enough to end the team’s dream at Obed Itani Chilume Stadium last Thursday.
The Zebras struggled to make meaningful movement of the ball, especially in the midfield with both Cooper and Ngele not in the match day squad. Cooper was serving a one-match ban, while Ngele’s absence was reportedly due to some medical reasons.
Both players are available for selection for tonight’s match and are expected to give the Zebras much needed balance especially in the midfield. Ngele has been doing well for his side, Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivhandila (TTM), while Cooper has also settled well in Zambia for his side, Dynamos. The latter has since secured a place in his new side’s starting eleven.
The match, however, means nothing much to both Algeria and the Zebras with the group’s first two spots already settled. Algeria and Zimbabwe will face other African giants at the finals to be held in Cameroon next year.
It will be interesting to see how head coach, Adel Amrouche approaches tonight’s match as both sides have nothing to gain from it.
The Zebras gaffer’s future is expected to be one of the Botswana Football Association’s (BFA) agenda items in the next few weeks.
Football pundits have already expressed different views on whether he deserves to be retained as the Zebras coach or not.
His job has not been made easier by the prolonged absence of competitive football since March last year. Zebras team in Algeria:
Kabelo Dambe, Ezekiel Morake, Lesenya Malapela, Goitseone Phoko, Tshepo Maikano, Onkarabile Ratanang, Onkabetse Makgantai, Simisane Mathumo, Mosha Gaolalwe, Thatayaone Ditlhokwe, Thatayaone Kgamanyane, Mothusi Cooper, Mogakolodi Ngele, Gape Gaogangwe, Mothusi Johnson, Fortune Thulare, Tendai Kesekile, Thero Setsile, Kobamelo Kebaikanye, Tapiwa Gadibolae, Kutlwelo Mpolokang, Kitso Mangolo, Moagi sechele, Gosego Galathwe