Botswana at 56: Sport comes of age

Earning their stripes: The Mares qualified for their first ever AFCON finals this year. PIC WAFCON
Earning their stripes: The Mares qualified for their first ever AFCON finals this year. PIC WAFCON

Botswana’s early years in sport can at best be described as forgettable. But that has been shifting in recent years with the present and the future looking bright.

Athletics has been headlining the surge as a country with a population of just above two million, takes its place among an elite group. Even long after Botswana’s Independence from Britain in 1966, the country’s soccer team was classified among the weakest teams and in the process, labelled the Whipping Boys of Africa.

In the COSAFA region, Botswana was mentioned in the same breath as Lesotho and Eswatini, with victories hard to come by. But that narrative has steadfastly changed since the turn of the millennium when the national team, the Zebras, began to turn up and compete. It was a refreshing departure from the energy-sapping 6-1 defeats, as Botswana began to go toe-to-toe with the region and ultimately, the continent’s giants. It will no doubt go down in history that the Jelusic Veselin era in the early 2000s heralded a paradigm shift as he assembled a brittle squad. By 2010, Botswana was competing for its first ever spot at the Africa Cup of Nations finals, which was duly delivered by a local coach, Stanley Tshosane. The Zebras made their first appearance at the AFCON finals in 2012 and subsequently reached the finals of the regional COSAFA Cup in 2016 and 2019.

Editor's Comment
Urgent call: Stop the killing!

The previous week, we had an article about a police officer shooting his wife, and turning the gun on himself, whilst he died, his wife survived and is still in the hospital.Sadly that was not the only article we carried on intimate partner killings. There was the Francistown case, where a young woman allegedly stabbed her ‘former boyfriend’ and many others which were reported throughout the week.As all the reports were coming in, a Botswana...

Have a Story? Send Us a tip
arrow up