National team captain, Joel Mogorosi, has urged his youthful teammates to bring the energy they have displayed on camp to the Friday night AFCON qualifier encounter against Angola.
The Zebras, who are already out of the running for the 21 June-19 July 2019 Egypt showpiece, meet an Angolan side in a desperate need of maximum points to qualify.
Speaking at a press conference at Adansonia Hotel in Francistown, Mogorosi said since arriving in the camp the young squad has shown the unity and quality needed to win international matches.
A late call-up by interim coach Teenage Mpote following the departure of Orapa United striker Omaatla Kebatho, Mogorosi said there’s no doubt about the talent possessed by the young squad.
“Physically they can compete with anyone. They are a talented group of youngsters currently playing at the highest level in the country,” he said.
“Physique alone is however never enough. They need to show football intelligence. They should be willing to die for the badge,” added Mogorosi.
Currently the leading goal scorer in the BTC Premier League, Mogorosi said the time has come for the young players to take over and deliver.
“I’ve been there before. I was once a young player who also took over from a generation before me. I believe given time this young group can deliver. Batswana should come to the stadium in large numbers to see what I’m talking about. We have a new coach, an entirely new technical team with a totally different approach,” added the skipper.
Reiterating Mogorosi’s sentiments; Vice Captain Thatayaone Dithokwe said they are ready to go toe to toe with Africa’s best players. “The talent is unquestionable, we just have to go out there and play,” he said.
His coach Mogomotsi ‘Teenage’ Mpote also echoed the same sentiments.
The newly appointed interim coach said he has confidence in his young squad. “I know Batswana want victory, but I’m also looking at giving these youngsters an opportunity to play at the highest level. I’m preparing them for future CAF competitions and for life after the likes of Joel Mogorosi.”
“These players are the future, we have to give them game time now and focus on qualifying for the next AFCON. But if they don’t play now, how are we going to qualify next time,” Mpote asked rhetorically.
Currently rooted at the bottom of Group I with a single point after five games, the Zebras will be playing for pride against a side three points away from qualification.
Angola are second with nine points, just three below table toppers Mauritania.
However victory for third placed Burkina Faso against Mauritania could send the Angolans crushing out should they falter against the new look Zebras on Friday night. Kick-off is 1900hours.