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Zebras Ready To Kick On

Since taking charge two years ago, Butler had set about dismantling the old guard and injecting fresh legs, which is beginning to bear fruit. Burkina Faso and Mali were blasted in stunning fashion while Eritrea expectedly posed little threat and got the right treatment from a ruthless Zebras who made the Francistown Sports Complex their new fortress towards the end of last year.

“Our objectives remain the same. We will continue with our project and strive to remain competitive at every level.

We will continue to search for new talent as I feel this is so important to my commitment to the Botswana public and more importantly to the youth of the country,” Butler said when quizzed about the direction of his project in 2016.

He said it was heartening to note that the Minister of Youth, Sport and Culture, Thapelo Olopeng and President Ian Khama had publicly declared Francistown as the home venue for the Zebras “as I feel this is a marker in the sand moving forward”.

Butler said Zebras preparations should be concentrated in the north as that is where the passion lies. He called for high profile matches at the end of January or in February to kick-start what should be ‘the Zebras year’.

Butler would continue to blood in largely untested players and said he would follow up his recent talent identification trip to the Botswana Games and also commence an Under-21 programme to underpin the good work which has bore fruit in the last two years.

“The squad moving forward will be more settled as we have a very talented and exciting young group of players, but development will always be at the forefront as Botswana is far behind other countries,” he said.

Asked about targets for the upcoming COSAFA Cup to be held in Namibia in May, Butler said the regional cup was not on his mind.

“I am more concerned with the upcoming games. We have to prepare in a more professional manner and we need games. We need to stay humble and keep the players grounded and focused.

I am into my last year so obviously I would like to take the team to greater heights.”

Against a backdrop of skcepticism, Butler has moulded a young and exciting team that is surprisingly built around previously unknown players such as Lebogang Ditsele.

In the latest rankings released on Thursday, the Zebras rose to 25th in Africa while they moved to 95th in the World. They face Comoros in an Africa Cup of Nations qualifier in March before crossing to Namibia to play in the COSAFA Cup.

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BFA GRANTS AMROUCHE LEAVE OF ABSENCE

GABORONE, Botswana – Following the request by Senior National Team Coach, Adel Amrouche for leave of absence to attend to a personal matter, the Botswana Football Association (BFA) wishes to inform the public that he has been granted the leave with immediate effect.

Since the COSAFA tournament is the last competitive tournament for the Zebras in the immediate future, the BFA amicably resolved to release Amrouche. The affairs of the National team in preparation for the tournament, set to take place in Nelson Mandela Bay in South Africa from 7-18 July 2021 shall be handed over to Letang Kgengwenyane.

“The BFA understands and supports Mr. Amrouche’s situation and wishes him all the best in his future endeavours,” said BFA Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Goabaone G. Taylor.

Amrouche took over as the Zebras head coach in August 2019 on a two-year deal. After weeks of engaging with the coach over his future, an agreement was reached not to extend his contract.

Adel Amrouche

“Amrouche has been Zebras head coach since August 2019, and his leadership during that time was important to our successful development and international exposure of our players,” added Taylor.

“We appreciate all that Amrouche has done to build a disciplined team. He has always had a thorough understanding of what it takes to be a successful team and has done his best to mentor his players accordingly,” concluded Taylor.

Amrouche has since expressed gratitude towards the BFA for the opportunity.
“I’m eternally grateful for the opportunity to lead the Zebras over the last two years. I leave having picked up quite a number of valuable lessons that will be necessary in the journey ahead. I wish the Zebras success in future competitions,” Amrouche said in statement recently.

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