Young Zebras eye glory after sparkling start

Young Zebras player
Young Zebras player

MASERU: Botswana suffocated Swaziland during crucial times to emerge 2-0 winners in the opening match of the COSAFA Under-20 Youth Championships played at the Setsoto Stadium yesterday.

The Young Zebras pounced in the 22nd minute through ever green Unabatsha Mbaiwa before substitute, Thatayaone Ramatlapeng made sure of the points with a well taken 90th minute free kick. Botswana will be the first to admit that it was not a walk in the park against an equally determined Swaziland. The match started with Sihlangu on the ascendancy, putting together some neat touches and troubling goalkeeper, Keagile Kgosipula.

Swaziland took the game to Botswana’s door step with Mbabane Sundowns’ dangerman, Banele Sikhondze immensely involved. Mlamuli Nkambule increased the temperature on Kgosipula’s gloves with a stolen short in the fifth minute. In the 8th minute, Sikhondze shot curled inches over as Swaziland sought to draw first blood. Then in the 14th minute Sikhondze’s free kick curled just wide. Botswana then returned fire when Mpho Kgaswane drove neatly towards the box before crashing a left footer against the upright. It was a clear warning of what was to follow and the Young Zebras were ahead a minute later. In the 22nd minute, Kgaswane’s class shown as he picked Mbaiwa with a clever through ball. The reliable striker responded with a low left footed finish to throw the stadium into ecstacy.The Maseru crowd was solidly behind Botswana and the young boys reciprocated with a breathtaking display of short passing football garnished with solid defending.The Swazis were however not lying down as they knocked the ball round with aplomb but probably needed a compass to locate the goals as they fluafe bet for a second goal, but Swaziland has not been lying down throwing their own punches as well, but probably needed a compass to find the goal as they fluffed opportunities to get back into the game. In the 40th minute, Swaziland thought it had won a penalty when Mlamuli Nkambule crashed his shot against defender, Kabelano Mooketsane but the refere waved away claims of a hand ball. Swaziland kept asking questions at times with daring moves but the Botswana defence stuck together like glue.

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