Lobatse — Botswana caretaker coach Mogomotsi 'Teenage' Mpote says the Africa Nations Championship (CHAN) provides an opportunity to develop the youthful 'Zebras' side into a competitive team.
The Zebras beat a tame Seychelles side 2-0 in the first round, first leg qualifying encounter at Lobatse Sports Complex on April 20 to register their second victory in the CHAN competition since it was established in 2008.
The hosts were in vibrant mood in the first half and came close to scoring on numerous occasions.
However, Gilbert Baruti, Segolame Boy, Thatayaone Kgamanyane and Joel Mogorosi were let down by lack of composure in the opening 20 minutes.
Seychelles goalkeeper, Ian Kong pulled off good saves to stop a close range attempt from Mogorosi and Thero Setsile's curling effort midway through the first half.
Zebras' goalkeeper, Ezekiel Morake enjoyed a quiet afternoon as the visitors offered very little threat going forward.
With midfielders Lebogang Ditsele and Baruti particularly impressive, the hosts continued their onslaught in the second half and finally took the lead in the 59th minute when centre-back Thatayaone Ditlhokwe bundled in a well taken free-kick from Baruti.
Morake saved a long-range effort from Gervais Waye-Have moments later as the midfielder attempted to catch him off the line.
Boy doubled the lead in the 65th minute with a low finish inside the box to give Mpote his first victory since being appointed the national team caretaker coach last month.
There were more chances to increase the margin, but Fortunate Thulare, Baruti, Orebonye and Mogorosi missed them. In a post-match interview, Mpote expressed delight that the Zebras ended their winless spell.
"I told the team that we had to play the game in phases because Seychelles put nine men behind the ball and it was difficult to penetrate a team of that blanket defence. So we had to draw them out in order to have space to exploit behind their defence," said Mpote.
He said the boys implemented the strategy well and should be given time to develop into a competitive side.
"We should give these young boys a chance. We need to build a solid team which would compete with the best. In terms of development this CHAN tournament will help us to improve our boys. We would go there (Seychelles) and as long as we do the right thing then we are home and dry," added Mpote.
The return leg will be held in Seychelles on the weekend of May 10-12. CHAN finals will be hosted by Cameroon next year.
Source : BOPA