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Zebras faces Bafana dilemma

The 2017 African Nations Championship (CHAN) qualifying draw conducted this month has pitted the senior national team (Zebras) against familiar foe in the mould of South Africa.


The two teams are expected to play each other in a preliminary round on the second week of July, on a two legged affair. The aggregate winner will then proceed to the next round of the competition. The pairing of Botswana and South Africa is a repeat of the 2016   Confederations of South African Football Association (COSAFA) final, where the latter won the tournament under dubious circumstances.


The local Football Association is therefore forced to prioritize the issue of the coach as qualifying rounds appear close. Zebras’ coach, Peter Butler’s contract expires at the end of February and currently, the association has been stalling, giving him a new contract.
The association is mindful to take advantage of the tournament in preparing for the upcoming African qualifiers commencing later in June.


When spearheading the Zebras late last year, Butler managed to finish third behind eventual group winner, Burkina Faso and runner up, Uganda. The toss might force BFA to renew the coach’s contract mainly because he gave South Africa, a major threat in winning the tournament, a difficult time in a final played at Windhoek, Namibia last year.


CHAN is a football tournament which was first announced on 11 September 2007. It is administered by the Confederation of African Football (CAF) and is played between the best national teams of Africa, exclusively featuring players who are active in the national championships and qualified to play in the ongoing season. Expatriate players, regardless of where they play, even in Africa, are not qualified to take part in the African Championship of Nations.


The creation of the African Nations Championship was a response to the desire to revive or strengthen national competitions which are regularly weakened by a mass exodus of top players who leave their home countries to play for foreign teams which pay more and get them more media coverage. Starting from the 2014 edition onwards, all of the matches are recognized by FIFA as first team matches.


The first tournament was held in 2009. It was hosted by Ivory Coast and won by the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The competition was expanded to 16 teams for the second tournament, held in Sudan in 2011. The tournament was won by Tunisia in the wake of the Tunisian Revolution. The tournament is held every two years, alternating with the Africa Cup of Nations.

 


 Here is a brief glimpse at the head-to-head history between the two teams.
 
1993- Botswana 0-2 South Africa

Since South Africa returned to international football, there has been enormous pressure on Southern African national teams to perform, Botswana included. In 1993, Bafana Bafana came to Gaborone and beat Botswana 2-0 via goals by John Mosweu and Rudolf Seale. The two teams played preliminary rounds of AFCON.

1999 – Botswana 1-2 South Africa – COSAFA Castle Cup
 
Former SuperSport United and Santos attacker Diphetogo ’Dipsy’ Selolwane had opened the scoring for The Zebras as early as the 13th minute but Bafana rallied back just before half-time in quick succession, with goals from Pollen Ndlanya and Alfred Maimane Phiri; sealing the win for the South Africans.
 
2002 – Botswana 4-5 (pen.) South Africa – COSAFA Castle Cup
 
On route to clinching their first COSAFA Cup title, Bafana played an attacking brand of football. However Botswana held their nerves which saw the match end in a 0-0 draw. The game was eventually decided on penalties, with SA triumphing with a 5-4 shootout win.
 
2006 – Botswana 6-5 (pen.) South Africa – COSAFA Castle Cup
 
The following year saw The Zebras get their revenge also in spot kicks after the match had ended in a 0-0 stalemate.
 
2007 – South Africa 1-0 Botswana – COSAFA Castle Cup
 
Teko Modise scored the only goal of the match in the 32nd minute to hand Bafana the narrow win over Botswana. That year also saw South Africa claim their second COSAFA title.
      
2013- Botswana 1-1 South Africa- WORLD CUP Qualifier

Under Stanley Tshosane, Bafana Bafana took an early lead through Morgan Gold, but Botswana equalized briefly through the Ofentse Nato’s strike. South Africa went on to win the return leg in their home soil by 4-1.
 

2015 – South Africa 6-7 (pen.) Botswana – COSAFA Castle Cup

This was the last time these two teams met in the competition, as The Zebras pulled off one of the major shocks in the quarter-final to advance to the semis.

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