Paul optimistic ahead of Kenya clash

Upbeat: Under- 23 coach, Pio Paul is confident his star- studded side can beat Kenya
Upbeat: Under- 23 coach, Pio Paul is confident his star- studded side can beat Kenya

National Under-23 coach, Pio Paul is upbeat ahead of the CAF Under-23 Championship qualifiers against Kenya next month. The team is in camp preparing for the encounter.

The Young Zebras host Kenya in the first leg on April 25 before travelling to East Africa for the return match on May 10.

The winner will face Zambia in the next round. The CAF Under-23 Championship is also used as the qualifier for next year’s Olympics-where the top three teams from Africa will represent the continent in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil next year.

“I believe we can do well in these qualifiers. Kenya are a physical side and we are not. We just have to play our game,” he said.

The camp started last week although some of the players had not yet joined because of other commitments.

The absent players are mostly from BDF XI, Gaborone United (GU) and Township Rollers who are engaged in the Mascom Top 8 semi finals this weekend.

BDF XI have two players, Kabelo Seakanyeng and Mosha Gaolaolwe in the team while GU have Obonye Maome, Mpho Kgaswane and Karabo Phiri in the team.

“That is the only challenge we are having at the moment. It is good that most of the players have regular game time at their respective teams and we will try and create a pool of players so that we cater for any challenge that we may face,” he said.

While the Young Zebras expect a friendly encounter against Lesotho on March 25, more friendlies are lined up against some top South African Premier League teams in preparation for the Kenya encounter.

Paul said the friendly games against South African teams will give his young troops exposure ahead of the qualifiers.

CAF has put the year 1993 as the cut-off point, which ruled out the likes of Segolame Boy in this competition.

Boy, currently 22, will be over age next year when the Olympics begin in Brazil. He, however, can be included in the squad as one of the three over-aged players if the Young Zebras make it to Brazil.


The current squad

is as follows:

Goalkeepers: Ezekiel Morake (FC Satmos), Bophelo Kealeboga (Jwaneng Galaxy), Keagile Kgosipula (Township Rollers)

Defenders: Moshe Gaolaolwe (BDF XI), Kennedy Taukobong (Black Forest), Kaone Van Der Westhuizen (Letlapeng), Thato Kebue (Motlakase Power Dynamos), Dikaonyana Matlou (Sharps Electrical)

Midfielders: Kabelo Seakanyeng (BDF XI), Emmanuel Machinya (Extension Gunners), Eric Molefi (UF Santos), Karabo Phiri (Gaborone United), Mpho Kgaswane (Gaborone United), Obonye Maome (Gaborone United), Lebogang Ditsile (Letlapeng), Michael Pillar (Extension Gunners), Gape Mohutsiwa (Motlakase Power Dynamos), Keorapetse Seloiso (Notwane), Kagiso Dithebe (Police XI), Letlhogonolo Senwelo (Police XI), Tapiwa Gadibolae (Township Rollers)

Strikers: Unobatsha Mbaiwa (BMC), Onkabetse Makgantai (Nico United), Omaatla Kebatho (Sankoyo Bush Bucks)

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