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Bright eyes AFCON finals

Publishing Date : 10 September, 2018


Good experience, more ambition. Coach Major David Bright is such a good communicator that he could almost write the headlines for the media himself. In four words, the Zebras head coach summed up perfectly the 20-man AFCON Cup squad he announced on Wednesday of this week.  He has gone for youth and talent but he never forgot maturity and experience. But the average age of this group of players is only 26, which is the youngest in the last 10 years for Botswana.

Proof of the depth that the Botswana has, Major Bright has left some big names out: Segolame Boy, Bonolo Fraizer, Ofentse Nato and Jerome Ramatlhakwane are not going to Angola while Omaatla Kebatho and Edwin Moalosi are injured. Bright might come to regret some of those decisions, but he had his reasons. Boy has never been as good for the national team as for Township Rollers and Bright might have lost patience quickly.

However, the Zebras mentor is optimistic that his squad will reach AFCON finals to be held in Cameroon next year. This is even backed by the fact that two teams from each group will automatically qualify. With this in mind, it was also pleasing to hear the coach acknowledge the lack of cohesion in the attacking third and pledging to improve on the game against foreign XI ON Tuesday. The evidence night point to a conservative squad constrained by Stone Age play and their thinking.

Under former coach Peter Butler, Lebogang Ditsile appeared as an excellent footballer, made his reputation as an unanswerable force in the midfield. Kabelo Seakanyeng is overlapping in the side territory. For the Zebras, he plays on his own, a more withdrawn role that often exposes him. With the Zebras’s midfield core so deep, the creative responsibility falls to wide men who are essentially denied any opportunity to apply sustained pressure because they do not see enough of the ball.

By extension the centre-forward is condemned to 90 minutes running in the wrong direction chasing down opposition full backs, this has been the story of the Zebras even at the historic AFCON 2012 participation. But there are indications that Bright is looking to alter his tactics a little bit. The man of the match often time displayed by Seakanyeng, gelling well with strikers inspires faith that a more improved attacking scheme is being crafted.

However, continuing calls of attacking football are still pouring. There is need to identify this as a deeply fulfilling viewing experience. The dominant school of thought still lays the blame for Botswana’s seemingly travails at the quality of players at Bright’s disposal. Yet Onkabetse Makgantai continues to show composure and slotting home with his left foot that there is technique in his feet.

But the question still looms, Will Mogakolodi Tsotso Ngele bounce to his intriguing form on time? Before he experienced a late dip in form, he teased teams on his own. He may not have the same explosive change of pace. But the league fomer goal scorer, now with South Africa’s Chippa United, Thatayaone Kgamanyane has the necessary authority and if he lives to attain his form together with Teenage Orebonye, they might be heartbeat of the Zebras at this AFCON qualify edition.



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