Botswana national team players who did duty during the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) have ditched the senior team, forcing the country’s head coach Stanley Tshosane to select players from the junior sides.
In an interview with Xinhua on Saturday, Tshosane said most of the senior players who did duty during the AFCON have vowed not to honor national team calls anymore saying they have got some outstanding issues with the Botswana Football Association (BFA).
According to Tshosane, the players have threatened to retire from international football and concentrate on their clubs, saying they have not been paid appearance fees and bonuses promised to them by their national federation.
“There are a lot of outstanding issues between players and the national federation. And I have resorted to selecting players from the Under-20 and Under-23 squads. The reason is that most of the experienced players have refused to honor national team call-ups saying they are owed money by the national federation,” said Tshosane.
Tshosane released a completely new look Zebras side, as Botswana’s national soccer team is affectionately known, with 80 percent of the players being those who have never been called for national duty.
Goalkeepers Kabelo Dambe and Noah Maposa are the only players who participated at the just ended Africa’s biannual soccer showpiece.
Veteran goalkeeper Modiri Marumo, experienced midfielders in Diphetogo “Dipsy” Selolwane and Mogogi Gabonamong alongside speed winger Phenyo Mongala and steady defender Mompati Thuma are some of the players who have ditched the national team.
“I had to look to the junior teams in order to start preparing for the coming games. If I had to wait until the players’ grievances are sorted, time would not be on our side. And the assembled side to get going with the available material,” he said.
The Zebras are expected to kickoff their 2013 AFCON qualifying games at home against South Africa on June 8 before crossing over Limpopo River for a return leg a fortnight later.
Players like Moreetsi Mosimanyana, Jack Mothatego, Ontse Ntesa, Mandla Mgadla and Wrist Sephekolo are expected to perform and engrave their names into the hearts of national team supporters.
BFA president David Fani said the national federation is currently insolvent and they are waiting for their annual grant from the Botswana National Sports Council (BNSC) in order to clear the dispute that has arose between the association and players.