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New CAF dates confirmed, Zebras braces for Angola

Publishing Date : 04 December, 2017


Following requests by teams that qualified for the FIFA World Cup, Russia next year; the Confederation of African Football (CAF) has confirmed the match dates for the Qualifiers of the Africa Cup of All Nations (AFCON) scheduled for March 2018. 

This was done to enable them to play friendly matches as part of their preparations to the final tournament of the FIFA World Cup. A CAF statement reads in part: “In order to support the African teams in the FIFA World Cup and to ensure the best possible representation of the African continent in the final tournament of the said competition, the Executive Committee has decided during its meeting in RABAT, Morocco on the 16th of November 2017, to approve the said request.”

This change effectively means Botswana’s two AFCON crucial qualifiers have moved to the months of September and October. In September, The Zebras will face off against the Palanca Negros of Angola. The Southern African country who hosted AFCON in 2010 has never proved to be a dangerous opponent whenever they faced the Zebras.  Of late, they have been busy luring some of their naturalized players in Europe to come and play for the country of their origin.

The country was for a long time been engulfed in civil war and that led to many Angolans seeking refuge around the world. This is the reason why many talented Angolans were born outside their home country and ended up playing for countries of their refuge, especially in Europe. The Angolan government is now fighting tooth and nail to at least bring on board those who have played at youth level so that they can easily represent that nation.

On October 8, 2018, David Bright will carry another difficult task against Burkina Faso. The pairing of Botswana and Burkina Faso is a repeat of the 2017 qualifier where the latter eventually dominated the group to participate at the 31ST AFCON show-piece. Another moved game is that of Mauritania.  It will be played on November 12. The North African powerhouse has already beaten the Zebras by a solitary goal early this year at Francistown Stadium.

All in all, in Mauritania, The Zebras face will face a tricky but beatable opponent. In previous encounters, Mauritania has beaten the Zebras 4-0 in the 2008 AFCON qualifiers. Botswana tried to reverse the score line but the 2-1 win was not enough. At the time, Botswana was led by Colwyn Rowe.

There will be three two leg preliminary ties beginning the month of September involving the six lowest ranked sides with the overall winners securing places in the group phase. One round of mini league fixtures is scheduled for 2017 and five for next year with the 12 group winners and the best three runners up joining hosts, Cameroon, in the finals.



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