FRANCISTOWN: Although they posted a much-improved performance, the Zebras ended their 2019 AFCON qualifying campaign on a very low note when they lost to the Palancas Negras of Angola by a solitary goal at the Francistown Sports Complex last Friday night.
Despite the match being nothing but a dead rubber to the Zebras, supporters turned up in droves and created a fitting carnival atmosphere for the match.
The visitors, who going into the match were on nine points in Group I, needed nothing but victory to secure outright qualification to the 2019 AFCON finals.
On Friday, Mauritania who have already secured qualification lost away to the Stallions of Burkina Faso.
Burkina Faso are on 10 points and can secure qualification as one of the best third-placed teams. However, they have to wait for the last round of the qualifiers to confirm if they will go to the 2019 AFCON finals or not.
Angola looked lively in the first 35 minutes and they elicited joy from their several hundred fans in attendance. In the same period, the Zebras were not keen to take initiative and struggled to combine.
Angola was rewarded for their greater impetus as early as the 20th minute when debutant Wilson Eduardo coolly converted from inside the box with a low shot.
The former Portugal junior international capitalised from a rebound after Igor Vetokele’s short came off the post. Vetokele had connected well with a cross from left.
Angola could have increased their lead but Eduardo’s well-taken free kick hit the post and bounced back into play. Eduardo was guilty of squandering two clear-cut chances early in the first half
Jwaneng Galaxy forward, Thero Setsile gave the visitors’ defence a tough time but his efforts failed to bear any fruit.
His close header was saved by goalie Adao Cabaca towards the end of the first half. Midfielder Gape Mohutsiwa also had a chance to score in first half but his shot went inches wide after he was set up Mogorosi.
In the second half, Mpote was forced to make a few tactical changes and he adopted a 3,5,2 approach. The move proved to be a good one as the Zebras managed to contain Angolan wingers who were more creative in the first half. The changes also gave the Zebras an opportunity to possess.
In short the second stanza entirely belonged to the Zebras. The host had their penalty appeals turned down in the 63rd minute after defender Isaac Dacosta appeared to have handled in the box.
A minute later, Setsile failed to make amends for his earlier miss when his close-diving header was calmly collected by Cabaca.
In the 74th minute, Setsile missed another notable opportunity to score when he ballooned his shot over the bar with Cabaca the only men to beat. The match ended at 1-0 with Angola sealing qualification for the AFCON 2019 finals.
Botswana: Ezekiel Morake, Thato Kebue, Ramoraka, Fortunate Thulare, Thatayaone Dithokwe, Onkabetse Makgantai (Gofaone Mabaya), Gilbert Baruti (Tumisang Orebonye), Segolame Boy, Setsile
Angola: Cabaca, Djalma Campos, Da Costa, Maneul Cafumana, Masunguna Afonso, Salamo Troco, Alfred Ribeiro, Vetokele, Bartolomeu Quissanga, Eduardo, Hernilson Carmo
Cautions: Mogorosi, Campos, Thulare