We are also favourites — Tshosane

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Botswana national football team coach Stanley Tshosane believes his squad will not be scared of Ghana when they clash in their first- ever Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) finals match on January 23.

Tshosane — named the Confederation of African Football (Caf) African Coach of the Year after leading the minnows to their debut Afcon finals — watched the Zebras play a 0-0 draw against the locally-based stars of the Zimbabwe national team at the UB Stadium on Saturday.

Asked after the math if his team was not afraid of the Black Stars, Tshosane responded: “We are also favourites in our own country. We are not scared of Ghana. If anything, they should also be scared of us because they don’t know our type of play.

“I believe we have a good team. We have been training together for a long time and by the time we get there, we will be ready with a few shocks.”

The final Zebras squad was named Sunday at a dinner hosted by President Ian Khama before departure for a one-week training camp in Cameroon 24 hours later. They will fly straight from Cameroon to Gabon next week ahead of their Black Stars opener.

There were no surprises in the team, although the Botswana media questioned the inclusion of injured skipper Mompathi Thuma.

The Zebras looked jittery in the opening stages of the match, but it became evident in the second half they were a unit against a Warriors that never trained and had spent 21 hours on the road.

The Warriors looked tired in the last stanza with Milton Makopa, Joel Ngodzo and Masimba Mambare — who played very well — being pulled out.

In the second half, the Zebras, however, stepped up their performance, pinning the visitors in their own half. Winger Joel Mogorosi had a clear chance in the 49th minute, but shot straight at goalkeeper Washington Arubi from an acute angle.

Tshosane brought in some fresh legs in the 61st minute, bringing on attackers Pontsho Moloi, Moemedi Moatlhaping and Mogakolodi Ngele.

The trio’s impact was felt almost immediately with Moloi creating trouble for the Warriors’ defence with his tricky display.

Moatlhaping forced Arubi to concede a corner with a clever long-range effort in the 63rd minute before forcing another save from the keeper with a header from the resultant corner.

Ngele had three chances after coming in, but seemed low on confidence as he shot wide.

Another substitute, Onalethata Tshekiso, forced supporters off their seats with a powerful header in the 85th minute that went narrowly wide.

Botswana squad:
Goalkeepers: Modiri Marumo (Bay United, South Africa), Noah Maposa (Gaborone United), Kabelo Dambe (Rollers)
Defenders: Mompathi Thuma (BDF XI), Ndiyapo Letsholathebe (Police XI), Musa Ohilwe (Gaborone United), Mosimanegape Ramohibidu (BMC), Monametsi Kelebale (NICO), Tshepo Motlhabankwe (Mochudi Centre Chiefs)
Midfielders: Mogogi Gabonamong (SuperSport United, South Africa), Joel Mogorosi, Pontsho Moloi, Othusitse Pilane (all Mochudi Centre Chiefs), Boitumelo Mafoko (Cape Town Santos, South Africa) Ofentse Nato (Gaborone United), Phenyo Mongala (Bloemfontein Celtic, South Africa), Patrick Motsepe, Tshireletso (BDF XI), Mogakolodi Ngele (Rollers)
Strikers: Jerome Ramatlhakwane (Unattached), Diphetogo Selolwane (SuperSport, South Africa), Onalethata Tshekiso (Rollers), Moemedi Moatlhaping (Bay United, South Africa)