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Minister Rakgare Visits Zebras Camp

Minister of Youth Empowerment, Sports and Culture Development (MYSC), Tumiso Rakgare, has appealed to Botswana national football team players, The Zebras to work towards regaining the team’s waning glory.
Rakgare made the remarks when he visited The Zebras training camp at Jamali Stadium in Tlokweng yesterday (Wednesday).

The Zebras play their two 2022 African Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifying matches and decisive fixtures against Zimbabwe (March 25th ) and Algeria (March 29th ).

The current crop of Zebras players are harbouring dreams of making history by becoming the second generation to reach the finals of AFCON. The first and last time the national team qualified was in 2012.

In his welcome remarks, the Botswana Football Association (BFA) VP2, Masego Ntshingane thanked the minister for making time to be with the boys saying this will act as motivation to the players ahead of their crucial AFCON clashes.

“It is a special day for the BFA and the players to see the minister, and his entourage in their busy schedules, visiting the camp, to give motivation and assume their fond support to the team. The players represent the country and commitment by the government is an unparalleled boost to the players,” said Ntshingane.

In his speech on the touchline with the players, Rakgare encouraged the players to work hard in training to be able to beat Zimbabwe and Algeria.

Rakgare emphasized that his wish is to see local players securing international contracts especially the ones that will see them plying their trade in top European leagues.

“It is important to play in the AFCON finals. This will give you a better platform of being scouted by international teams. I want you, all The Zebras players playing in Spain, France and England leagues. We see this happening in other countries. We have to work hard as that chance may come whilst playing with the best at AFCON. Together with top officials at the ministry, we are working on modalities to put incentives for the national teams. We are however guided by government protocols.”

Rakgare further assured the players that as government, they are working around the clock to return to play.
He said the government want to see the supporters back to the stadiums supporting their favorite teams as supporters play a pivotal role in growing the sport.
“As government, we want football to return to play, we have until end of March to fight against covid-19 and the safety of the players is a priority. We are however ready to resume sport by end of month. I have been in talks with the BFA, Botswana Football league (BFL) on conditions to resume football. It has been a long spell and we are committed to resuming sport. We are also further in talks with potential sponsors to lure them to the elite league as football has also been hardly hit by covid-19.”
“Qualifying for AFCON should be your number one priority. In the past since I assumed duty in the ministry, we have seen cabinet members attending the matches as a first step to understanding how diverse football is as an industry. This is our commitment as government.”

Meanwhile, The Zebras coach, Adel Amrouche also thanked Rakgare for visiting them saying this is good enough motivation for the team.

“It is a positive insight to have a minister who knows sports particularly football. He has passion for it and wishes the team well. The players know him personally and when they assure him that they will play for the flag, despite all conditions we are facing, I haven’t seen these players complain of anything, we are determined to win and qualify,” said Amrouche.

Goalkeeper Kabelo Dambe who represented the players also assured the minister that the team will do well in the next crucial fixtures.

“It is important to see you minister at our camp physically, we have been working hard for the last two weeks and we are going to make the country proud. The morale in the camp is high, the boys are ready to fight, and we urge the nation to rally behind the team all the way,” said Dambe.

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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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