COSAFA FOCUS: Botswana skipper ‘Bebeto’ upbeat

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Botswana Mares skipper Bonang Otlhagile says the inactivity over the last eight months should not be an excuse for failure when they take part in the COSAFA Women’s Championship that will be held in South Africa’s Nelson Mandela Bay from November 3-14.

Otlhagile, popularly known as ‘Bebeto’, is part of the squad named by Mares coach Gaoletlhoo Nkutlusang. “We must bring results, just as we did last year when we reached the semifinals for the very first time. This has now put us under pressure,” Otlhagile said.

Nkutlusang has infused new blood into her side with UB Kicks duo of Masego Joshua and Thapelo Moshe, defender Game Motlogelwa from Gaborone United and River Giants forward Taboka Mathanga in line for their international debuts.

At least 10 of the players in the provisional squad were drawn from the Under-20 side that featured in the World Cup qualifiers against Namibia, where they won their tie 9-0 on aggregate. The team has already assembled for full training and have been through the COVID-19 testing protocols.

The Mares will know their pool stage opponents next Thursday when the draw is made for the first round. With 10 teams set to battle it out for the regional crown, the format looks likely to change with three pools instead of the two that were initially planned.

Besides Botswana, Angola, Comoros Islands, ESwatini, Lesotho, Malawi, hosts South Africa, East African guest nation Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe are set to slug it out. Botswana will be seeking to build on their maiden appearance in the knockout stages of the COSAFA Women’s Championship last year.

They made it through to the last four but lost 4-0 to eventual runners-up Zambia. They went through the pool stages unbeaten though, defeating Namibia (1-0) and Mauritius (3-0), before playing to a 0-0 draw with Zambia.

Botswana provisional squad:

Goalkeepers: Sedilame Bosija (Bloemfontein Celtic), Gloria Moeng (Geronah), Tlamelo Pheresi (Prisons), Doris Motshegwe (Wonder Girls)

Defenders: Veronicah Mogotsi (Double Action), Bonang Otlhagile (Double Action), Masego Montsho (BDF), Masego Joshua (UB KICKS), Kesegofetse Mochawe (Prisons), Lone Gaofetoge (Geronah), Annah Sechane (Township Rollers), Thapelo Moshe (UB Kicks), Game Motlogelwa (Gaborone United), Lone Gaofetoge (Geronah), Theo George (Wonder Girls)

Midfielders: Atlang Busang (Prisons), Balotlhanyi Johannes (Double Action), Lesego Radiakanyo (Double Action), Golebaone Selebatso (Prisons), Masego Nfandiso (Geronah), Segakolodi Didukanyane (Mexican Girls), Leungo Senwelo (Double Action), Bonno Mokopanele (Security Systems), Ontlametse Gaonyadiwe (Double Action).

Strikers: Refilwe Tlholakele (Township Rollers), Nondi Mahlasela (Prisons), Bame Ngenda (BDF), Esalenna Galekhutle (Mexican Girls), Michelle Abueng (Yasa FC), Taboka Mathanga (B River Giants)

RELATED STORY: No COSAFA Women’s Championship for Namibia

By FARPost Reporter

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