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Zebras starts on wrong-footing

17 Nov 2023

The senior national football team, the Zebras started the World Cup Qualifier campaign on a wrong footing as they lost 3-2 against Mozambique during a match played at Obed Itani Chilume stadium Thursday afternoon.

Even though the new look Zebras which is under the tutelage of Frenchman Didier Gomes looked agile, composed and were firing on all cylinders from the first whistle, their fire dozed off quickly.

Perhaps the visitors' strike by Clesio Bauque as early as the 13th minute unsettled the Zebras whose tempo  slowed a little.

The Zebras started to show cracks in the middle and its Thatayaone Ditlhokwe marshalled defence was often porous. They gave Mozambiquean space to play which the visitors embraced with both hands. Mozambique took the game by the scruff of the neck and was especially menacing when on the offensive.

However, Tumisang Orebonye missed a golden opportunity to equalize for the home side in the 17th minute, much to the disappointment of the fans who touted the home team.

Segolame Boy who played behind Orebonye miscued in an attempt to connect a cross from Kitso Mangolo.

The seemingly anxious Zebras fans were now showing signs of frustration and wanted the Zebras bench to make a substitution. They were not happy with the poor finish and seems to have left their scoring boots at home.

The two sides went into recess with a 1-0 score line. In the second half, Coach Gomes and the technical team took out Lebogang Ditsile and Segolame Boy and brought in Tsotso Ngele and Molaodi Tlhalefang to try and mount up pressure on the visiting side and peradventure equalize.

The Mozambiqueans who enjoyed a lot of ball possession and played a passing game struck yet again through the nip-footed Stanley Ratifo on the 55th sinking the hearts of the Zebras supporters.

Ratifo was at it again four minutes later with a diving header which went over the bar. Tlhalefang scored for the Zebras to narrow the scoreline in the 84th minute, a moment that was shot lived as Pacholo King scored his side third taking the game further from the homeside.

Moments later Tsotso failed to convert from the sport after a handball by a Mozambican defender but lady luck smiled upon him as he was able to redeem himself seconds later by scoring a beauty from outside the box to narrow the score line to 3-2.

At this point, it was a raise against time for the Zebras but was hard done by the poor finish and the visiting side that never relented.

Coach Junior Francisco commented on his charge for executing the plan very well and said they were ready to hit the ground running as they prepare for the next qualifier against Algeria.

While Coach Gomes said  there were also positive moments that he said would prove worthwhile in the next game next week Tuesday against Guinea at the same venue.

“We have failed to take advantage of the many goal-scoring opportunities that we had and were porous on the defence. We will have to work on those mistakes as we prepare for the next game,” he said. BOPA


Source : BOPA

Author : Mooketsi Mojalemotho


Event : game

Date : 17 Nov 2023