“EACH TIME WE FACE THEM, I JUST WANT US TO WIN,”
President Ian Khama and his Sports Minister Shaw Kgathi have re-ignited the diminishing hopes of the national team’s chances of making it to World Cup 2014 in Brazil- or at the least progress to the next qualifying round.
Kgathi in particular pulled all the stops to motivate the demoralized Zebras squad and with the number one citizen weighing in Stan and his charges left the country in a better shape.
After months of depressing speculations about the future of coach Stanley Tshosane and allegations of indiscipline within the Zebras camp, the Best 2011 African team left for Durban on Wednesday a united front.
Following a narrow 1-0 victory over Malawi on Tuesday night, courtesy of Jerome Ramatlhakwana’s second half text book header the nation has found its voice once more and many should be forgiven for talking about a major upset in Durban.
Leading the upset chorus is Khama himself who implored the Zebras to rise to the occasion and humble Bafana Bafana in their own backyard this Saturday.
“Each time we face them, I just want us to win,” he said as he handed over 900 flags to the Zebras Supporters Committee members at the State House.
“As you know, they are very noisy, and you will need those flags to show your presence,” he said.
Over 700 supporters left for Durban aboard AT&T buses another initiative from Kgathi’s Ministry which saw the need for the presence of the 13th player in the all important clash at Moses Mabhida Stadium.
Khama’s somewhat late arrival in the Zebras fiasco saw private entities throw in money and individuals pledging towards players’ incentives.
The team is expected to receive bonuses amounting to over P500 000 should they win against Gordon Igesund’s side.
Debswana has pledged a P10 000 bonus per player should Tshosane’s side pull of a shocker and P6 000 per player for a draw or loss.
The Zebras are sitting on the brink of history and should they triumph over their pompous neighbours on Saturday, they will be a step away from making a debut at the biggest football stage in the world. However that probability is also heavily dependent on the outcome of the Ethiopia/Central African Republic match.
Though both South Africa and Botswana still fancies their Group A leaders, Ethiopia have far much better chances.
Nonetheless the date has been set, the nation’s hopes are still alive and if wishes were ‘zebras’ we’ll all gallop to Durban this weekend.