Zebras forget Afcon, focus on World Cup

2012-02-04 20:13

Botswana might have lost all three matches at their maiden Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon), but the experience they gained at the continental tournament is priceless.

This was the view of the Botswana Football Association (BFA) president David Fani, who said they were not embarrassed in Equatorial Guinea and Gabon – tournament co-hosts.

The Zebras opened their account with a 1-0 loss to Ghana and were walloped 6-1 by Guinea in their second match of the tourney before narrowly going down 2-1 to Mali in their last match to finish bottom of the group and without a point.

With the above in mind, Fani was quick to mention that it was a learning curve for his national team and that the future looked bright.

Botswana have been drawn in the same group with neighbours South Africa, Ethiopia and Central African Republic in the 2014 Fifa Soccer World Cup qualifiers. They will also participate in the 2013 Afcon qualifications later in the year.

Fani hoped the team would use their Afcon experience to good effect when the qualifiers resume in June. “We couldn’t have asked for more and our boys gave all but our lack of experience cost us at the end.

“We started well but we were found wanting in the second game against Guinea. It was a good lesson for us and we were not embarrassed. We are just disappointed but I think we stood our ground and surpassed our expectations.”

He added that the team fared well in matches against Ghana and Mali, which they narrowly lost.
“We gave it our all at the tournament and there was nothing more we could do. The only game we did not play well was against Guinea, but in the other two games we were happy with our overall performances...”

Apart from the co-hosts, Botswana were the first nation to qualify for the tournament after topping their group and Fani believes they can still repeat the feat.

He said Botswana football was on the rise and that the experience gained from Afcon would go a long way.

“We hope to use our experience to good effect during the forthcoming World Cup qualifications,” he said.
“The fact that we took part in the tournament was an achievement on its own and we want to build on that momentum.”

»There are new reports that veteran midfielder Dipsy Selolwane was set to quit international football.

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