Zebras break 29-year Guinea jinx

22 Nov 2023

November 21 will always be engraved in the hearts of Batswana, as the Zebras salvaged a historic win against a highly ranked and more fancied western African country, Guinea in a World Cup qualifier game played in Francistown.

The last time Zebras upset another West African side was in 2010 when they stole a surprise 2-0 win against Togo in an AFCON qualifiers game played at the University of Botswana Stadium.

The latest win was even sweeter given that the Zebras won against a team that has tormented the local lads for a very long time.

The two sides met in AFCON qualifiers games twice previously, and on both occasions Guinea emerged victorious.

In 1994, Guinea won 1-0, while in 1995 they embarrassed the Zebras with a 5-0 scoreline.

The two met again in the World Cup qualifiers twice.

In 2004, Guinea won 4-0, and the domination continued in 2005 when they won 2-1.

In 2012, during the AFCON games, it was Guinea that caused people to call give the Zebras a mocking moniker of ‘Six Pack’ after a 6-1 drubbing.

Tuesday was a different ball game, and Kabelo Seakanyeng’s of his 79th minute goal was loaded with meaning.

He got a yellow card for removing his jersey, but who could blame him after he scored what would prove to be the decisive goal against a team that included Diawara Amadou, who plays for Belgian Pro League club Anderlecht, Camara AGuibou, who plays for a Greece Super League side Atromitos, Guirassy Serhou, who is a regular for the German Bundesliga club VfB Stuttgart and Moriba Kourouma Kourouma, who plays for another Bundesliga club RB Leipzig.

The Zebras head coach, Didier Gomes Da Rosa took a brave gamble when he changed his line-up just within seven days before the game.

He later told BOPA that he drew inspiration from former Arsenal coach Arsene Wenger who once said: “If you are not ready to take risks don’t take this job.”

He said against Guinea, he had to change the team that faced Mozambique because he wanted results.

“We have to be pragmatic,” he said. “I am very clear and frank. Yes, against Mozambique we made some mistakes and we needed to correct that.”

Da Rosa said Mogakolodi Ngele was on good form against Mozambique, hence he started.

He said Seakanyeng had been tired against Mozambique after arriving late from Morocco, but was ready for the clash against Guinea. Da Rosa said he planned for Guinea by watching their videos and analysing them, which helped him to understand and appreciate their style of play.

“I also picked their strength and weaknesses,” he explained.

“If you look at the team, a lot of them play in their Premier League and compete in the European Championship, so we decided to be compact and play 4-1-4-1 system and to be very complimentary in the wings.”

He admitted that there was a lot of work to be done in his team, adding that he was happy that Botswana Football Association was supportive.

He said his biggest assignment was to identify more players who play both in Botswana and outside the country.

“Bottom line is that we have to improve the team and organise more camps and there is a need for more competitive friendly matches,” he said.

The Zebras win has now opened up Group G, which is currently led by Algeria with six points, while Guinea, Botswana, Mozambique all have three points while Somalia is at the bottom of the log without any point. ENDS

Source : BOPA

Author : Anastacia Sibanda

Location : GABORONE

Event : football match

Date : 22 Nov 2023