Botswana Under 17 National team will leave for the COSAFA tournament in Mauritius on Friday.
The country has been drawn against Seychelles, Namibia and the host’s Mauritius in their group.
The team goes without goalkeeper coach, physiotherapist and kit manager as Botswana Football Association (BFA) says it does not have money to cover their travel expenses.
As part of their preparations the team had a friendly match against Eswathini on Saturday and drew 1-1.
The young Zebras also played two games against Lesotho, which they all lost 1-0 and 2-3 respectively.
Briefing the media this Wednesday the team Head Coach Tumie Duiker said the senior national team coach Major David Bright helped them to select a final team of 20 players.
He said in the practice matches they played they were not necessarily concerned with results but getting the right shape and balance ahead of the tournament.
“We tried different winning combinations and we learnt a lot from these games. I believe we have what it takes to proceed to the knockout stages,” said Duiker.
Diamond Zebras Captain Larona ‘Maila’ Modisaemang shared his coach’s confidence.
The youngster said the team is ready for the tournament after training together for a long time.
“We have developed an understanding which is important for team sport. We are not going to Mauritius just to add numbers; we are going there as ambassadors of this nation!” Modisaemang said.
Giving players a word of advice, BFA CEO Mfolo Mfolo advised the team to remember that they are on national duty and thus their conduct in a foreign land should be reflective of where they come from.
“All of you here are secondary school students and have been engaged in BISA competitions so you know what to expect in regional competitive games.
“Go there and compete. We have assessed all your opponents and they are not as technically gifted like you,” he praised.
The CEO further reminded the upbeat junior team that they stand to gain a lot should they do well in the tournament.
“Remember this tournament is a qualifier for the FIFA World Cup qualifiers to be held in Tanzania,” said Mfolo.