In realising that most African countries will benefit close to nothing in next week’s 2010 World Cup in South Africa The Chief Executive Officer of the World Cup 2010 Local Organising Committee Danny Jordan said Botswana and other neighbouring countries can still benefit by offering practice matches to teams participating at this year’s soccer show. Jordan was speaking at a media Tourism Indaba held at the Chief Albert Luthuli Convention Centre.
This invitation is Botswana’s only hope of facing a World Cup bound team and gets the much needed match practice ahead of the AFCON qualifier against Tunisia on July 1. However despite this assurance given by Jordan Botswana is still not certain as to whether the Zebras will be able to secure a match with one of the World Cup teams. Speaking to Voice Sport on Monday Botswana Football Association acting Chief Executive Officer Susan Monametsi could neither deny nor confirm whether the Zebras will find a team to play before the local lads entertain Tunisia in the AFCON qualifiers on 01 July 2010. “At this point I cannot say for certain that we have an agreement with a certain team. However we are working very hard to ensure that the national team get preparation before the AFCON qualifiers begins,” Monametsi said. She said it is imperative that the Zebras get match practice especially against a World Cup outfit, to prepare for the looming qualifiers that have pitted the national team with former World Cup campaigners in Togo and Tunisia. Monametsi however could not shed light on which teams they are currently in talks with preferring to take a diplomatic route. “At this moment I cannot say which teams we are in negotiations with, but I can assure you that we are talking to a couple of teams,” she said. However Monametsi did make it clear that as of this moment the Zebras have not secured a practice match with any World Cup bound team.
“I cannot say much on the teams we are talking to. The best person to talk to would be David Fani,” said Monametsi.
The national team find itself between a rock and a hard place after the reinstatement of Togo, which was then mysteriously thrust into the Zebras group. There has been media speculation that the CAF leadership put Togo in the group as retaliation after President Ian Khama condemned the suspension of Togo from the Nations Cup, following their boycott of the Angola show-piece. This was after Togo was ambushed by gunmen in the notorious Cabinda region, an attack that left two team members dead and another in a critical condition.
The reinstatement of Togo has derailed the Zebras’ preparations by backtracking the games to two months earlier than expected.
Coach Stanley Tshosane has just under five weeks to prepare for the Tunisia clash on first July in Tunis.
In an earlier interview the acting CEO said though they are aware that there is no ample time to get enough friendly matches before the July encounter, she is confident that the team would be ready.
“The players selected have been active throughout the season and I believe four weeks is enough for the coach to select his starting eleven,” Monametsi said.
As the football showpiece slowly approaches soccer pundits who have been harbouring hopes of seeing their striped team take on the best of the world are slowly letting go of the dream. Some even believe the team may not get a friendly match before the Tunisia match.
Efforts to speak to the BFA President David Fani were unsuccessful despite promising this reporter an interview. Fani had asked to be called back after two hours, but his phone remained unanswered thereafter.
Head coach Stanley Tshosane’s phone was off and efforts to engage his assistant proved futile as he referred all questions to Tshosane.
“I have a head coach and it would be inappropriate for me to talk about the national team,” Mogae said as he referred all questions to his boss.