Gaborone — The women's under 17 team left for Mauritius on September 16 to compete in the COSAFA Under 17 Championships billed for September 20-29.
Botswana is in group B with South Africa, Madagascar and Seychelles. Only two teams will advance to the semi-finals. Botswana's first game is against Madagascar on Saturday. On Monday they will face South Africa and play Seychelles on Wednesday.
Botswana Football Association spokesperson, Tumo Mpatane said they had sent a formidable team to compete in Mauritius. "That is the same team we took to COSAFA under 20. It is the team for the future and we believe that it will grow together," he said.
He said the team was beaming with confidence and under no pressure, adding that the association was adamant the team would make it to the semi-finals and win the championship.
He said with the experience gained at the COSAFA under 20 tournament, the girls were in a good position to connect and gel as a team.
"Even when you look at their training, they play like a team much wiser than their age, and this is a team that we will continue to take care of. We urge the girls to go out to play their very best, we strongly believe they will make this country proud, he said.
The COSAFA website notes that this edition will be the first time an Under 17 championship has been played for women teams. This forms part of COSAFA's mandate to grow opportunities for female players and provide them with a platform to gain international experience.
"It is often stated that the Under 17 age-group is among the most important as it provides a first opportunity for players to test their ability on a global stage against their peers," it said.
The eight teams in the tournament include Botswana, Comoros Islands, Madagascar, Mauritius, Seychelles, South Africa, Zambia and East African guest nation Uganda, which is expected to bring added flair to the tournament.
<i>Source : BOPA</i>