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Jerome Ramatlhakwana © Backpagepix

Botswana set up camp in Pretoria

22 July 2011, 18:19

Former Vasco da Gama and Botswana international striker Jerome “Jay Jay” Ramatlhakwana is the only foreign-based player included in the Botswana national team that has set-up a 10-day training camp at the High Performance Centre in Pretoria.

The first African team to qualify for the 2012 Gabon/Equatorial Guinea African nations Cup tournament, unbeaten Botswana’s coach Stanley Tshosane arrived in the South African capital city on Thursday evening to start an intensive 10-day training camp, the first of several other training preparations leading up to the 2012 tournament.

Botswana Football Association President David Fani has also thrown subtle hints that the Zebras could travel to Brazil during December for a month long training camp for thorough preparation for their first ever appearance at the biennial tournament.

“Our team has improved in leaps and bounds,” said Fani. “And when the draw for the 2012 qualification was conducted, I am sure many people looked at Tunisia and Togo as likely teams that would qualify for the tournament from our group,” added Fani.

“But we have performed beyond expectations. We have gone to Tunis as well as Lome, and not only shut out their strikers, but came back with maximum points while Malawi held us to a 1-1 draw. I think this is admirable of our boys and shows that we can no longer be taken for granted.”

The BFA boss said they did not want to go to Equatorial Guinea and Gabon just to add up the numbers. He admitted that they would be debutants but they would not be going there to add up the numbers but would go there to compete, hence their intensive preparations.

“The team will be based at the High Performance Centre in preparation for the AFCON 2011 tournament and return to Gaborone on August 2,” revealed Tshosane who has arranged a friendly match against Lesotho at the Pretoria venue on July 27.

Although several other key members of the squad who are based in South Africa like Mogogi Gabonamong, Phenyo Mongala, Dipsey Selolwane, Dirang Moloi and Modiri Marumo, coach Tshosane is nevertheless happy about the squad he has assembled.

“The team we have brought to Pretoria consists of eight technical staff members and 26 locally based players, among them their captain Mompati Thuma. During the training camp the Zebras will play Lesotho on July 27 in Pretoria,” he explained.

Tshosane said that his team will include striker Jerome Ramatlhakwana, who was on loan to Vasco da Gama from another South African club Santos, who is the only foreign-based player in the Zebras party. Ramatlhakwana is The Zebras top scorer in the qualifiers with five goals.

“I’ve called up almost all the players that I need for this camp and I know the HPC has amazing facilities which will help us in our preparations,” said the Botswana coach.

The Zebras wrap-up their Group K qualifying race away to second from bottom Togo in September.

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