The Zebras moved a step closer to realizing their dream of making it to the 2015 Africa Nations Cup group stages in Lobatse last Sunday. After edging Burundi 1-0 in the preliminaries, Peter Butler’s charges will now face Guinea Bissau who knocked out Central African Republic this past Saturday.
The Zebras had to navigate their way through a tricky encounter after playing to a goalless draw a fortnight ago in Bujumbura. A draw with goals would have sent Botswana crashing out of the 2015 qualifiers.
However, after managing to hold the Swallows of Burundi to a 0-0 score line in the first half it was the captain Joel Mogorosi who chased Kabelo Dambe’s searching pass and put Botswana ahead on the 56th minute. It was a goal that calmed players nerves and ended Burundi’s journey.
Though Burundi tried everything to open the Zebras defense led by Boitumelo Mafoko; there was no way through as coach Butler’s 4-5-1 formation proved to be spot on.
After the match, ‘Juluka’ as Mogorosi is affectionately called thanked his teammates for their hard work and Batswana for the much needed support. “Good thing we worked hard as a team and we got what was important which is going to the next stage”
Zebras Coach on the other hand revealed that it was never going to be a pretty game: “it was about sticking to a disciplined game plan and holding on to the important goal until the last whistle, now we have to embark on proper preparations,” said Butler.
For his part Burundi coach Winfred Rainer was not happy with the officiating, saying they played really well only for their efforts to be frustrated by the referee. Botswana will now meet Guinea-Bissau in the next round.
By Leonard Matota