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P10m for Zebras qualifiers

An approximation of P10 million is budgeted for the The Zebras to improve their slim chances of qualifying for the next edition of Africa Cup of Nation (AFCON) to be held in Cameroon, WeekendSport has established.

Minister of Youth Empowerment, Sport and Culture Development, Tumiso Rakgare, is said to be determined to dangle more incentives for the team to qualify. This was revealed at a closed meeting between the ministry and the squad on Wednesday afternoon.

The Zebras, under the tutelage of hard to please Adel Amrouche, is preparing for back-to-back crucial encounters with The Warriors of Zimbabwe and Desert Foxes of Algeria in March.

Amrouches side is sitting on the third spot having accumulated four points from four games. Leading the group is Algeria with 10 points, followed by Zimbabwe on five points.

The two games are crucial for you as players, as the society and the country. We should look ahead with much confidence. Furthermore, we should be more focused and remember that talent alone cannot give us the needed results, we have to mix it with discipline and we will reach the Promised Land, said Rakgare.

For far too long Botswana was but a spectator in the African Cup of Nations qualifying race and the future of Botswana as a footballing nation mirrored a tomorrow that may never come.

However, an unexpected run of impressive form between 2010 and 2011 saw Zebras qualifying for AFCON finals for the first time.

Under Amrouche, the most expensive coach BFA has ever had, Zebras showed varied performances. On paper, it looked more as an easy job given his wealth of experience around the African continent, but in reality it is a monumental task to qualify with Botswana football in a comatose.

Players should fight for the badge; fight for the flag and for this country. It is possible and I am happy for the amount of gesture shown to us by the Minister, Amrouche said when giving a word of thanks.
The Ministry, although not proudly maintaining it, says it has set aside around P10 million to help the team leave no stone unturned in preparation for the games.

Botswana will play host to Zimbabwe at Obed Itani Chilume in Francistown on March 25 before jetting off to Algeria for the ultimate affair with the African power house. Two teams per group will book a ticket to Cameroon and should Amrouche qualify, it will be for the second time that Botswana plays in the finals of the prestigious tournament in Africa.

The Zebras first booked its spot in 2012, finished ahead of favourites, Tunisia and Togo in group stages.

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