Warriors’ Zebra test

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The Botswana national football team — the Zebras — are camped in Rustenburg, South Africa, ahead of their 2012 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) appearance and the friendly international against Zimbabwe’s Warriors set for January 7 in Gaborone.

The Zebras were due to camp in Qatar, but cancelled their planned Afcon training camp and went instead to South Africa.

The Zebras squad was due to leave for the Aspire Academy in Doha on Boxing Day, but cancelled because it was too expensive, according to reports quoting Botswana Football Association chief executive officer Sonnyboy Sethibe.

Botswana spent two weeks in the North-West province before Christmas and beat Lesotho 3-0 in a friendly played in Rustenburg on December 21.

Having last met in the 2009 Cosafa semi-finals at Barbourfields Stadium in Bulawayo where the Warriors won 2-0, the Zebras are a different animal now having managed to qualify for Afcon after impressive victories — home and away — over Tunisia, Togo and Chad.

Zebras coach Stanley Tshosane was not ready to comment yesterday when reached at Rustenburg.Warriors manager Sharif Mussa said he was in consultations with head coach Norman Mapeza on the logistics for the match.

The Warriors have two choices — camp in Harare or fly to Gaborone, if the finances allow, two days before the match or camp in Bulawayo and then make a 601km journey from the City of Kings, through Plumtree to Botswana by road.

Worse, Mapeza might just have to do without the Kaizer Chiefs contingent of Tinashe Nengomasha, Thomas Sweswe, Zhaimu Jambo, Willard Katsande and Lincoln Zvasiya, as reported by NewsDay Sport last week.

Chiefs have planned an international friendly against Ghana on January 12 putting Mapeza in a quandary.

Ajax Cape Town’s Khama Billiat is also out as he will be at the parent club in the Netherlands. Mapeza can still call up the very impressive trio of AmaZulu — Tapuwa Kapini, Carlington Nyadombo and Ramson Zhuwawo and a host of local players from the four teams representing Zimbabwe in the Caf Champions League and the Confederation Cup — Dynamos, FC Platinum, Hwange and Motor Action.