SEVENTH HEAVEN Botswana wins 7-0 in preparatory friendly match in Morocco
Ahead of their first ever participation at the TotalEnergies Women’s Africa Cup of Nations, the Botswana women’s national football team, The Mares, played a friendly match in Morrocco in which they thrashed a local side 7-0 on Saturday.
The Mares were actually scheduled to play an international friendly game against another competition finalist Uganda, but the games scheduled for Saturday night had to be called off after the Ugandans reportedly experienced logistical travel issues to Morocco ahead of the tournament as per schedule.
The Botswana Football Association (BFA) reports that the CECAFA side only arrived late Friday night from France where they got delayed, which meant they could not arrive on time to the venue of the friendly match against Botswana.
The Mares however took to the field to play against Morocco Super League side Najah Sous FC, and overwhelmed the club side, posting seven goals while conceding nothing, with goals coming from Thuto Ramafifi, Esalenna Galekhuthe, Balotlhanyi Johannes, Atlang Busang, Michelle Abueng and a brace from Refilwe Thokalele.
The Mares will now face Togo in their next match on the 29th June in Marrakech, before heading to Rabat where the team will be based for the tournament.
The Mares have been pitted in Group C with nine-time champions, Nigeria, neighbours South Africa and fellow debutants Burundi. The games begin on July 2 and Botswana squad is made up of South African based goalkeeper, Sedilame Boseja, who is a CAF Women’s Champions League winner with her club, Mamelodi Sundowns. Esalenna Galekhutle and Thuto Ramafifi are based in the USA where they play in college football for Tyler Junior College and Albany State University while Mokgabo Thanda plays for Yasa Queens in Zambia.
The rest of the squad is as follows:
Goalkeepers: Sedilame Boseja, Lesego Moeng, Merylin John
Defenders: Bonang Otlhagile, Masego Montsho, Kesegofeste Mochawe, Veronicah Mogotsi, Nancy Baeletsi, Laone Moloi, Lone Gaofetoge
Midfielders: Golebaone Selebatso, Mokgabo Thanda, Annah Sechane, Leano Atang Busang, Keitumetse Dithebe, Lesego Radiakanyo, Balotlhanyi Johannes
Strikers: Thuto Ramafifi, Refilwe Tholakele, Esalenna Galekhutle, Michelle Abueng, Nondi Mahlasela, Ontlametse Gainyadiwe
Botswana will not be taken lightly despite their experience as they have before beaten Banyana Banyana of South Africa to deny them qualification to the Olympic games played last year, and have eliminated previous qualifiers Zimbabwe.
Coach Gaoletlhoo Nkutlwisang’s team will open their campaign against the Burundi on 4 July at the Stade Moulay Hassan in Rabat.