Botswana The Zebras Squad For COSAFA 2022

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Botswana The Zebras Squad For COSAFA 2022

The Botswana national football team, nicknamed The Zebras (Setswana: Dipitse), was founded in 1970 to represent Botswana in men’s international football and is governed by the Botswana Football Association (BFA). They have never qualified for the FIFA World Cup but they did qualify for the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations.[3] The team represents both FIFA and Confederation of African Football (CAF).

Botswana National Team History

Although Botswana have entered the FIFA World Cup preliminary stages five times, it took them nearly eleven years after playing their first match to register their first victory which was a 4–1 victory in the African pre-preliminary qualifying rounds for Germany 2006 against Lesotho.

 

The southern African nation took part in their first preliminary competition for the 1994 World Cup in the United States, where they faced Niger and Ivory Coast. They managed a 0–0 draw with the latter in Gaborone, but lost their other three matches, finishing last in their group.

The next competition they entered was for the 2002 World Cup, where they faced Zambia in a two-legged tie to decide which team would advance to the group stages. Zambia won both legs of the tie to qualify and knock Botswana out.

After this, Botswana suffered some poor results with the team losing 3–0 to Zambia, and losing to second-string sides from South Africa and Zimbabwe at home in Gaborone, frustrating many supporters. A draw with Madagascar which was ranked at 146th in the world at the time, led Botswana FA to sack manager Colwyn Rowe, despite him leading Botswana to their then-highest ever FIFA ranking of 95th. The BFA claimed this move was taken because they feared for his safety from angry fans. Stanley Tshosane was named as his replacement and in his first game in charge, Botswana achieved an impressive 2–1 win away to Mozambique to put them in a relatively strong position in their qualifying group. Despite also achieving a creditable draw with Ivory Coast, Botswana finished bottom of their qualifying group for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.

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This disappointment was followed by the most successful period in Botswana’s history. Botswana defied their ranking to become the first team to qualify for the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations, beating Tunisia both at home and away. This success coincided with a rise to their highest ever FIFA ranking of 53rd. They did not manage to build upon this upturn in form at the tournament, losing narrowly to Ghana and Mali and heavily to Guinea to finish bottom of their group with zero points.

The truncated qualification format for the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations saw them face Mali in a two-legged tie, which they lost 7–1 on aggregate. They then failed to qualify for the 2014 World Cup, finishing third in their group with seven points behind South Africa and Ethiopia.

In October 2013, the Botswana Football Association sacked Tshosane, citing his “failing to meet the targets set for him”. They subsequently appointed Englishman Peter Butler in February 2014.

Since then, the qualification to major tournaments has continued to elude Botswana. Despite beating Burundi and Guinea-Bissau in the knockout rounds, they finished last in their difficult qualifying group for the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations with just a single point. In their qualifying group for the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations, they finished third – seven points behind qualifiers Burkina Faso and Uganda. In the qualifiers for the 2018 World Cup, they beat Eritrea in the first round and won 2–1 at home against Mali in the first leg of the second round. However, a 2–0 win for Mali in Bamako meant that Botswana lost on aggregate and failed to make the group stages.

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In July 2017, David Bright became manager of the Zebras for the fourth time after the BFA chose not to renew Butler’s contract. He led the team during qualifiers for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations but results were poor with Botswana only scoring one goal in their six Group I matches.

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