Payback time for Mali massacre survivors


That only three survived from the 7-1 Mali massacre in 2012 amplifies the evolution, which has swept through the Zebras camp. The then coach, Stanley Tshosane and some of the Zebras players who did duty on the day are now distant memory.

But when the Zebras trot into the Francistown Sports Complex tomorrow, memories of a humiliating defeat three years ago, would come flooding and they need to be quickly erased.

The Zebras were outplayed over two legs, with the return, a 4-1 demolition at the then new Lobatse Stadium, particularly standing out like a sore thumb.

It shoved Tshosane closer to the exit door and denied his charges a passage to a second Africa Cup of Nations qualification.

Mali were expected to touch down in Francistown last night with an intimidating and menacing line-up. All but one player, are based in Europe.

But Mali would arrive to find a completely new Zebras team, which has rediscovered its belief after a frustrating lull.  Ever since moving north, the Zebras have a spring in their step following consecutive and impressive wins over Burkina Faso and Eritrea.

But the biggest test just landed at the refurbished Francistown airport yesterday. Mali rates as one of the biggest football competitors on the continent with an impeccable record in Africa although World Cup qualification has eluded them.

Now, Tshosane’s successor, Peter Butler would attempt to become the first Zebras coach to tame the Les Aigles of Mali.

The three survivors from the 2012 demolition, Joel Mogorosi, Mogakolodi ‘Tsotso’ Ngele and Ofentse ‘Size 10’ Nato are almost guaranteed a starting berth.

Mogorosi in particular, would want to put one over Mali after being a victim of a sleek move back in 2012. The Zebras captain was caught helping out in defence and was exposed to harsh dribbling lessons, which left him sprawled on the turf.

Nato, who arrived from India on Wednesday, told Mmegi Sport they have to beat Mali.

“It’s a home game. We have to win and in order to do that we have to put up a good performance. Without a doubt, Mali is a big team with their players based in Europe. But we have beaten big teams like Tunisia before,” he said.

Since the 2012 summer massacre, Ngele has gone on to make a big move to a South African side, Mamelodi Sundowns, while Mogorosi has returned home after a stint at Bloemfontein Celtic in South Africa.  Nato is with Indian Super League team, Atletico de Kolkata.

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