Gaborone - Botswana senior soccer national team, the Zebras’ 2022 World Cup Africa qualifier dream came to an abrupt end this week when they lost 1-0 to a stubborn Malawi side.
This means that Malawi have qualified on a 1-0 aggregate score from a second leg qualifier that was played at Kamuzu Stadium in Malawi.
The hosts were awarded a penalty in the 80th minute and a late goal from the penalty spot by Gerald Phiri Junior was all it required for Malawi’s Flames to qualify for the group qualifying stages of the 2022 Qatar World Cup. Malawi’s victory against Botswana follows a goal-less first leg played in Botswana last week.
In Malawi, unlike at home during the first leg, Botswana played defensive football as they sat deep giving their opponents opportunities to play attacking football. As the game wore on Botswana continued to blow hot and cold in a game in which they created clear goal scoring opportunities but failed to convert.
In the dying minutes of the game, Botswana attempted to open up the Malawian defence as the Zebras went on the offensive, but couldn’t convert the chances that they created. Under the guidance of new mentor, Adel Amrouche, the Zebras were not expected to adopt a cautious approach. The loss to Malawi means that it is back to the drawing board for the new gaffer who was recently welcomed with a fanfare.
The last time the Zebras and the Flames locked horns in a World Cup qualifier was in 2004 and 2005. At the time, Botswana beat Malawi 5-1 on aggregate.
Recently President Mokgweetsi Masisi rallied behind the Zebras by hosting the national football the Zebras for dinner at the Lansmore Masa Hotel in Gaborone.