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Coach Nkutlwisang dreaming of TOTAL AWCON berth

Botswana women’s senior national team coach, Gaolethoo Nkutlwisang has admitted that it would be a dream for her side to qualify for the coveted Total African Women’s Cup of Nations (AWCON) in Morocco next year (2022) as they prepare to take on Angola in the first round of the qualifiers.

“I’m living this dream like any other Motswana who wants to qualify to the AWCON. We will work very hard to achieve this dream and qualify for AWCON,” Nkutlwisang said.

The TOTAL AWCON draw was held yesterday (Monday, May 10) at the CAF headquarters in the Egyptian capital of Cairo where countries were drawn according to their zones, which are CECAF, COSAFA, WAFU A, WAFU B, UNIFFAC and UNCAF respectively. 

BFA acting TD Dr Braun and Gaoletlhoo Nkutlwisang

The COSAFA region led the rest of the zones with 10 nations of the 44 nations participating in the first round of qualifiers. Reacting to the draw against Angola, Gaolethoo described her opponent as a sturdy challenger who needs to be accorded the respect she needs.

“It’s a tough draw and we have started our preparations with a friendly and prolonged camp. Our teams are not active thus we have given our players programs and training schedules to push their fitness levels. We have to start immediately, and our technical team is advancing its preparations,” said Nkutlwisang.

However, she affirmed that they would take the war to Angola knowing fully what is at stake as only four matches stand between Botswana and the historic AWCON qualification berth.

“If we made this dream come true then it will be a big achievement for our country Botswana and it will help local football to advance up the world rankings.

Women team during warm up

“I’m confident of our chances and the spirit of the players, who played well against South Africa’s Banyana Banyana despite the 2-0 friendly loss at the Wits Stadium in Johannesburg last month. We had many chances in that game and this will give us a good motivation and the players know their responsibilities well.”

The winner of the first round of the two-legged clash in June 2021 will then play in the second round in October 2021 against the winner between Zimbabwe/Eswatini to reach the finals in Morocco next year.

Nkutlwisang expressed confidence that her team will shine all the way to the AWCON glory adding that they have seen their opponents’ style of play in their recent friendlies. Her only worry though for her side she said is the intense physicality and strong opponents.

“We have seen them in action against Namibia recently, they are well-built, but they also have their weaknesses. My players know what is at stake. The girls will play the game of their lifetime.”

In an effort to beef up her squad, Nkutlwisang said she will have to call up all her players plying their trade in foreign leagues.

Women team goalkeeping department

The draw results:

First round

M1 – Uganda v Ethiopia

M2 – Kenya v South Sudan

M3 – Eritrea v Burundi

M4 – Djibouti v Rwanda

M5 – Malawi v Zambia

M6 – Tanzania v Namibia

M7 – Zimbabwe v Eswatini

M8 – Angola v Botswana

M9 – Mozambique v South Africa

M10 – Algeria v Sudan

M11 – Egypt v Tunisia

M12 – Equatorial Guinea v DR Congo

M13 – Sao Tome and Principe v Togo

M14 – Congo v Gabon

M15 – Central African Republic v Cameroon  

M16 – Sierra Leone v Gambia

M17 – Liberia v Senegal

M18 – Mali v Guinea

M19 – Guinea Bissau v Mauritania

M20 – Burkina Faso v Benin

M21 – Nigeria v Ghana

M22 – Niger v Cote d’Ivoire

Second Round

Winner M1 v Winner M2

Winner M3 v Winner M4

Winner M5 v Winner M6

Winner M7 v Winner M8

Winner M9 v Winner M10

Winner M11 v Winner M12

Winner M13 v Winner M14

Winner M15 v Winner M16

Winner M17 v Winner M18

Winner M19 v Winner M20

Winner M21 v Winner M22

Aggregate winners qualify to join hosts Morocco in the final tournament.

 

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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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