Zebras' campaign clatters to an anti-climax

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On a cloudless but cold afternoon in Lobatse, dazzling midfielder Dirang Moloi proved he was football's undisputed sound track, while coach Stanley Tshosane looked increasingly puzzled as Zebras' World Cup campaign spiralled to a crash landing, writes MQONDISI DUBE

Dirang Moloi returned to the grand stage to prove that he has few peers in his position. Stanley Tshosane's hands went up in despair after a routine defeat, which, however, this time was fatal. It marked the end of the Zebras' interest in the 2014 World Cup. The Ethiopians painstakingly applied the coup de grace, which was difficult to stomach for Tshosane and the sizeable crowd, which bothered to follow a campaign heavily dented by the opening day 2-0 loss to the Central Africa Republic (CAR).

Expectations were high when the draw was made, with CAR, Ethiopia and South Africa the other teams in the group. But Tshosane finds himself standing in the middle of a rubble-strewn campaign after a desperate attempt to stitch together the pieces failed at the new Lobatse Stadium on Saturday.Despite Tshosane's efforts to pilot the campaign to safer heights, Ethiopia sent the nation's faint hopes tail spinning, to effectively put Brazil 2014 out of sight. On Saturday, Tshosane was brave. He threw in two attacking midfielders, Jackie Mothathego and Dirang Moloi, leaving them without protection in the absence of holding midfielders, Mogogi Gabonamong and suspended, Ofentse Nato. Alphonse Modisaotsile, an option in the absence of the duo, was left to watch proceedings from the bench.

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