Thursday Nov 16, 2023. 16:36
Botswana’s 2026 World Cup Qualification campaign got off to a bad start with a 2-3 home loss at the hands of Group G rivals Mozambique at the Obed Itani Chilume Stadium in Francistown on Thursday afternoon.
Mozambique suffered an early injury blow when Stanley Ratifo had to replace Faisal Bangal just seven minutes after kick-off.
Yet the Mambas were the first to strike, with Clesio Bauque latching onto Gildo Vilanculos’s assist and steering an effort beyond Botswana goalkeeper Kabelo Dambe in the 14th minute for 1-0.
Botswana had plenty of attacking moments of their own, bringing the likes of Segolame Boy and Tumisang Orebonye into the game, but they were unable to get the better of Mozambique goalkeeper Ernan Siluane, leaving the game in favour of the visitors at half time.
The start of the second half saw the Zebras introduce Molaodi Tlhalefang and Mogakolodi Ngele in an effort to sharpen their attack, while the visitors brought on veteran defender Mexer to try and neutralise their opponents’ attack.
And Mozambique were able to double their advantage seven minutes after the restart, as veteran Elias Pelembe teed up Ratifo to strike a second goal and put his team in full control of the match.
Yet Botswana kept up their attacking pressure and were rewarded in the 74th minute when Tlhalefang got on the end of Ngele’s assist and reduced the deficit.
Yet any hopes of a comeback from the hosts were quickly quashed, as the Mambas restored a two-goal advantage in the 76th minute via substitute Jonathan Muiomo, who turned home Ratifo’s assist for 3-1.
There was still time for the Zebras to pull another goal back – with Kabelo Seakanyeng scoring in the wake of a missed penalty from Ngele in the 85th minute – but the Mambas were able to hold out for an away triumph.
Mozambique will return to Group G action on Sunday 19 November when they face Algeria in Maputo, while Botswana will welcome Guinea to Francistown on Tuesday 21 November.
Botswana (0) 2 (Tlhalefang 74’, Sekanyeng 85’)
Mozambique (1) 3 (Bauque 14’, Ratifo 52’, Muiomo 76’)
Botswana: Dambe, Velaphi, Gaolaolwe, Mangolo, Ditlhokwe, Mohutsiwa (Kgamanyane 82’), Modingwane, Sesinyi (Seakanyeng 65’), Ditsele (Tlhalefang 46’), Orebonye, Boy (Ngele 46’)
Mozambique: Siluane, Lamga, Nene (Mexer 46’), Macandza, Pelembe (King 71’), Amadou, Edmilson, Bauque (Telinho 58’), Guima, Bangal (Ratifo 7’), Gildo (Muiomo 57’)