Botswana: The Mares Start Campaign On High

Gaborone — Following the women's senior national football team, The Mares' emphatic 4-1 victory over Gabon during the 2024 Women's Africa's Cup of Nations (WAFCON) encounter on September 22, the two will lock horns for the return leg encounter at Lobatse Sports Complex tomorrow.

The 4-1 win means the Botswana side has edged closer to a second WAFCON appearance and one can only hope that The Mares keep the momentum.

In an interview, the team's head coach, Mohambi Saulos said the 4-1 margin was not a true reflection of the game given that they could have scored avalanche of goals had The Mares utilised all the chances.

Given that it was his first game since he assumed the position of head coach, Saulos said he had observed that if they continued to play as a unit they would produce good results.

He added that there were basic things that needed to be polished, among them combination play, communication and the correct techniques of passing the ball in critical areas.

"We need to train a lot so that we create those chances as well as scoring them.

Honestly we created so many chances even in the first half although we were not that clinical," he said.

According to the coach, they missed a lot of chances because their body orientation, spacing and communication, choice of the right technique were disappointing.

Notwithstanding, Saulos said he was happy with the girls' performance, especially how they played in the second half of the match where Lesego Radiakanyo and Refilwe Tholakele netted a goal each while Ontlametse Gaonyadiwe scored a brace.

However, the women missed a lot of scoring opportunities in the first half, something the coach attributed to the fact that they resorted to match their opponents' style of play.

Meanwhile, the WAFCON tournament sees about 40 nations competing in the qualifiers and in two matches in the first qualifying round which started on September 20-26.

The winner of the two matches will advance to the second round, which is scheduled for November 27 through December 5.

The 2024 Women's Africa Cup of Nations will be held in Rabat, Morocco next year, in just less a hundred days.

Morocco, as the hosts, have already qualified for WAFCON 2024 and South Africa and Zambia have also be exempted from the qualifiers as the reigning African champions and third-place finishers respectively.


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