Zebras return to happy hunting ground

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FRANCISTOWN: The Zebras return to the Francistown Sports Complex with memories of the sparkling 1-0 win over Burkina Faso still fresh in the minds of fans.

The Zebras play Eritrea tonight holding a healthy 2-0 lead from Saturday’s first leg. Peter Butler’s charges would hope the fans re-create the same atmosphere, which left the Burkinabe bamboozled on a cold afternoon.

The atmosphere won the Francistown fans another opportunity to watch the Zebras in action tonight.

Zebras would be buoyed by the handsome 2-0 away win three days ago, thanks to Joel Mogorosi and Galabgwe Moyana’s goals.

Butler emphasised the need to kill of the contest. "We have travelled across the globe and obviously we have come back with one or two tired legs, but we have our minds right. There will be no change, we are going to play the same formation. The most important factor is to finish this game off.

"I rested two players during the second half, I substituted Galabgwe because he was not fully fit and I also brought Tsotso out because if you have a player like him you must take care of him. He is a match winner for me and these two guys will come in much rested than others."

He said Omaatla Kebatho will not play as he is a bit overweight and needs to shed a few kilos.

On paper, the odds favour the Zebras as Eritrea who are not settled have not won in their past eight competitive games where they lost six games and drew two. They have conceded 18 goals and scored four goals. Three of their four goals were scored on the road, two in Malawi and one in Rwanda. The Camels have not played any friendly match in preparation for the qualifiers since the beginning of 2015 while the Zebras had the luxury of eight friendly matches and two African Nations Cup qualifiers to sharpen their charges.

However, the Zebras lost four of their friendly games, won one and drew three. In the Nations Cup qualifiers, the Zebras lost one and won one. In that period, they scored 10 times and conceded 11 goals.

The Camels are ranked 202 in the FIFA rankings; 91 places under the Zebras who are 111th. On the continent, the Zebras are ranked 19th, while their opponents are 52nd.

In April this year, Eritrea pulled out of the African Cup of Nations qualifiers without advancing reasons. Furthermore, the Camels have a history of absconding from their camp after the game to seek refuge in the countries they play against. In 2009, in Kenya nine players disappeared from the camp after the game, the same happened in 2011 in Tanzania when 13 players disappeared and also in 2012 where 17 players and a team doctor left the camp to seek asylum in Uganda.

The game is scheduled for 8 p.m. with gates opening at 3 p.m. Meanwhile, the Botswana Football Association (BFA) has urged fans who bought tickets for the Zebras and Ethiopia Independence Day match to come forward for refund. This after the Minister of Youth, Sport and Culture, Thapelo Olopeng said the match would be free of charge.

Editor's Comment
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How can this be achieved when there already is little care about the working conditions of those within the private sector employ?For a long time, private sector employees have been neglected by their employers, not because they cannot do better to care for them, but because they take advantage of government's laxity when it comes to protecting and advocating for public sector employees, giving the cue to employers within the private sector...

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