FRANCISTOWN: The Zebras will play their crunch tie against Algeria in Gaborone on Monday, with Botswana Football Association (BFA) citing costs for the shift from what is now considered the team’s traditional base, Francistown.
The Monday clash would be the second round of the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers.
In recent years, Francistown residents and those from surrounding areas have remained faithful to the national team even when the Zebras were not doing well.
The Zebras appeared to have made the Obert Itani Chilume Stadium (formerly Francistown Sports Complex), their home ground, since the facility was opened in 2015.
Even officials at the BFA have in the past openly expressed desire to see Francistown turning into a base for the national team.
The Zebras play Zimbabwe in Harare on Friday before returning to Gaborone to face Algeria at the National Stadium. “Logistically speaking we found it reasonable for the national team to play in Gaborone because the national team is playing two matches within a short period of time,” BFA spokesperson, Tumo Mpatane said.
“Playing in Francistown would also have meant added time of travelling for the players from Zimbabwe.
That would not have given them enough time to recover ahead of the match.”
Mpatane reiterated that Francistown would not be turned into the home of the Zebras as suggested by some.
“The other reason we moved the match to Gaborone is because we believe that the national team is for all Batswana.
We wanted Batswana in the southern part of the country to get a feel of the AFCON qualifiers,” Mpatane added.
Attendance for the Zebras matches at the National Stadium has been less impressive in recent times.