Zebras face Walias

| September 28, 2015

The Zebras will on Independence Day play a friendly match against the Walias of Ethiopia at the National Stadium as part of the celebrations. The Zebras have a good record during Independence Day matches.

The team has developed a habit of sealing the celebrations in style.

Last year they scored a 1-0 victory over Zimbabwe during the Independence Day match. A peep in history shows that the Zebras usually rise to the occasion on Botswana’s Independence Day. In 1981 they beat a stubborn Zimbabwe national team 1-0.

In 1982 Angola failed to honour the fixture because they could not get an airline connection from Lusaka to Gaborone, forcing Botswana to play against Karl’s United of Zimbabwe in a hastily arranged match which ended in a 3-2 defeat for the Zebras.

Four years later, in 1986, the Zebras produced one of their best ever performances to beat the Flames of Malawi 2-0 at the National Stadium.

The Zebras continued the good performance in 2004, beating the Chipolopolo of Zambia. In 2013 the Zebras shocked the world by beating Burkina Faso 1-0. Former Zebras player Boniface ‘Wonder boy’ Tlape said he would like the Zebra to put a good fight against Ethiopia tomorrow.

In an interview this week Tlape said during his era, around 1972 they played without monetary incentives, but donned the national team colours with pride.

He said they played the Independence Day match with gusto because they knew that the first President Sir Seretse Khama was in attendance.

Tlape, who played as a right winger, explained that he played in the national team with the likes of Topito Masheleng, the late Lele Sebele, and Steering Segale. He said they were coached by Zero Johnson who did not have a lot of work to do because players were themselves motivated by playing for their country on Independence Day.

“We could lose other games, but we hated to lose during Independence Day. We did not want to spoil Botswana’s big day.

I am happy that the current team is eager to keep the momentum going,” he said.

Zebras coach Peter Butler told BOPA that his players were looking forward to the fixture. Butler said he will be using locally based players only. Independence Day games, he said were always different.

The coach said he was happy that clubs managed to release their players and preparations have been going well. He urged Batswana to come in large numbers to support the Zebras.

“I know it is important to put a good performance on Independence Day, but more importantly the friendly game gives us the opportunity to prepare for the World Cup qualifier match against Eritrea,” he said.

Category: General

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