Lesotho in the firing line for buoyant Bots
Following a brave performance against regional powerhouses South Africa on Tuesday, the Zebras will be scenting blood when they take on Lesotho in a must-win game this weekend.
Having each lost their opening fixtures, both nations will be desperate for the points to keep their COSAFA dreams alive.
Botswana go into Saturday’s midday clash on the back of a narrow 1-0 loss to Bafana Bafana in what was ultimately a promising but pointless start to the post Adel Amrouche era.
The local lads were undone by a 67th minute strike from substitute Kagiso Malinga, the Moroka Swallows star somehow beating Ezekiel Morake from the tightest of angles.
In truth though, it was a howler from the Jwaneng Galaxy shot-stopper, who should have done much, much better.
Recently linked to Soweto giant’s Orlando Pirates, the talented 25-year-old keeper will be desperately disappointed he let such a tame shot squirm past him and will have to pull up his gloves if he is to realise his dream of playing in the PSL.
Morake’s blunder aside, interim head coach, Letang Kgengwenyane will have been relatively pleased with his troop’s efforts.
For most of the 90 minutes the Zebras went toe-to-toe with the former African champions and were unlucky not to score on a couple of occasions, coming closest when Thatayoane Kgamanyane’s thunderous strike bounced back off the crossbar.
The team are still without key players Mothusi Cooper and Kago Monyake, who tested positive for Covid and remain at home on isolation.
Zebras Captain, Thatayaone Ditlhokwe will also miss the Lesotho game having travelled back to Bots to attend the funeral of a close relative.
Although the trio’s absence is a blow, the squad will be boosted by the arrival of Morocco based duo, Kabelo Seakanyeng and Tumisang Orebonye, who are expected to join their countrymen this Friday.
In an exclusive interview with Voice Sport, sounding relaxed and optimistic, Kgengwenyane hinted the Moroccan pair would go straight into the starting line-up.
“They have tested for Covid and their ticket is ready. We are expecting them to leave Morocco this Thursday to join the team on Friday. The combination of Seakanyeng, Orebonye and Kgamanyane will bring result because our main challenge is on the striking force. We need a pool of players since we are playing Zambia on Tuesday and Eswathini on Wednesday.”
Both Seakanyeng and Orebonye will arrive match fit and full of confidence having just secured promotion to the Moroccan top flight with Olympique de Khouribga (OCK).
Briefly reflecting on the defeat to South Africa, Kgengwenyane praised his players for their effort, noting they deserved at least a point from the encounter.
“We lost an easy game and a draw would have been a fair result. We now shifting focus to the next game and the boys are ready to collect the necessary points. Defensively we were compact and we did not create more scoring chances but we were good on ball possession. We need to be quicker going forward, add more numbers in the box especially when taking crosses,” concluded the wily tactician.
From a Lesotho perspective, the ‘crocodiles’ will be looking to bounce back from a disastrous 3-1 opening day defeat to eSwatini. Likuena were reduced to 10 men early on and, despite briefly pegging the score back to 1-1, never really recovered from the Red card.
The all-important match will be played at the Isaac Wolfson Stadium in Port Elizabeth and kicks-off at 1200hrs.