Apologetic Mini Cooper zooms back into Zebras fold
After making headlines for his drink-fuelled indiscipline whilst on national team duty, Mothusi Cooper has offered a heartfelt apology to the nation.
Although he was not included in the Zebras initial 25-man squad for the upcoming AFCON 2021 qualifiers with Zimbabwe and Algeria, Cooper’s remorse has earned him a recall to the side.
Widely regarded as one of Botswana’s most talented footballers, the 22-year-old central midfielder was one of four players suspended from the Zebras by Head Coach, Adel Amrouche.
Cooper, along with Orapa United players, Mothusi Johnson and Onkabetse Makgantai and Thero Setsile (TS Galaxy) were booted out in disgrace after being caught drinking alcohol while in camp.
The quartet’s boozy antics reportedly took place in-between the Zebras ill-fated two-legged FIFA World Cup 2022 qualifier against Malawi, which they lost 1-0.
Whilst Cooper’s drinking mates remain condemned to the sidelines, the Township Rollers playmaker has been handed a shot at redemption.
Having originally been omitted by Amrouche when the Belgian announced his squad on Monday, Cooper was handed a surprise recall just 24 hours later.
This was followed by a 39-second video of Cooper on social media in which he apologised to the nation for his indiscipline.
The dreadlocked midfielder, who goes by the nickname Mini Cooper, advised professional players to stop drinking alcohol ‘before it’s too late’.
He further apologised to his family for his misbehaviour and was quick to thank Amrouche, the Botswana Football Association (BFA) and the fans for giving him a second chance with the national team.
Not wishing to dwell on the matter, Amrouche described Copper as a good player bursting with potential.
“I’m glad he’s apologised,” added the coach, whose side left for Zimbabwe on Tuesday, where they meet the Warriors in Harare on Friday.
The Zebras then return home, where they face the daunting task of hosting recently crowned AFCON champions Algeria at the National Stadium on Monday.
In a brief interview with Voice Sport, Amrouche stressed that whilst Botswana players are talented, they need to work on their discipline and ‘respect the camp’.
Although he bemoaned the lack of preparation time the squad have had together, Amrouche noted match fitness was not a concern.
“I believe my players are ready to represent the nation well. There are new players in the team – they will be guided by the more experienced guys who have played in international games before. We do not have stars and are in the process of building a strong team with a good mentality,” added Amrouche.
The no-nonsense tactician further revealed that Jwaneng Galaxy’s midfield maestro Lebogang Ditsele was called for camp but did not show up.
“If he does not respect his country he should stay at home. I will work with those who are willing to play!” blasted the Belgian.