* James Butler take a swipe at Mogogi and company
Unimpressed Zebras coach Peter Butler on Wednesday morning accused players who did not honour the national call-up of committing a serious national crime.
Butler stressed the importance of putting the national team first and the pride that comes along with wearing the Zebras shirt.
After the humiliating 1-4 loss to minnows Swaziland last Sunday, Butler made a U-turn and reached out to Bloemfontein Celtic player Mogogi Gabonamong, as well as Bonolo Fraiser and Musa Ohilwe to help beef up his inexperienced squad.
However the players snubbed the late call citing personal commitments.
“I will never call them again. They have shamed the nation.
“Players must come to me and explain why they did not honour the first call-up and commit to playing for the team. I honestly feel it’s a serious crime and an embarrassment to the nation for them not to play.
“Even if a player is called at the eleventh hour they should be ready to put themselves on the line,” said Butler.
He added that he believes in inviting players for the national team rather than chasing after them.
“I will not force any player to come forward, but would rather continue with this development side,” he said.
The Zebras coach singled out Bloemfontein Celtics skipper Joel Mogorosi whom he said would do anything for his country, a quality that earned him the permanent captaincy of the Zebras, assisted by Township Rollers attacker Sekhana Koko.
He however noted that he does not hold grudges and his door will always be open for reconciliation, provided players come forth and show respect for the national team’s shirt.
Though happy that most of his South African based players are in camp, PJ was worried that he did not spend as much time as he would have liked with them, something that has hampered their preparation.
“Its nice working with these guys. They are experienced and help mentor the young ones. I just wish we had more friendly games together,” he stated.
On the issue of young players he has introduced, the coach said he had a development squad with a pool of players whom he intended to give a chance. He said some of them knew they would not make the cut, but feels it was a good experience for them.
“Some still declined to honour the call-up but those who came got the chance until we trimmed the squad to the final 21 who are fairly balanced with experience and youth. For the past three days this experience brought a complete dimension to the team and I couldn’t be happier,” he added.
For his part team captain Mogorosi said it was great to have such a blend of players in the camp.
“These youngsters are hungry for success and their commitment motivates us as senior players to give our all,” he said.
Mogorosi also praised the BFA leadership for resolving issues concerning player welfare.
“Things have improved tremendously. We are no longer going to be heard arguing over bonuses because we are being taken care of,” he said.
“We have warned them against such behaviour as threatening to boycott games over allowances. It is a thing of the past. Here it is the nation first and we should all go with that in mind because it will be tough out there, but we have to do it for Botswana.”
The Zebras left for Burundi on Thursday. Butler’s charges will face the East African sidein the first leg of 2015 Africa Cup of Nations preliminary stage on Sunday.