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When Botswana topped Group K in the qualifiers for the 28th edition of the Africa Cup of Nations, it was almost like Cinderalla slipping on her glass shoes to enter the wonderland of the elites. Only these elites were to be some of Africas heavyweights.
Then the Zebras were drawn with Ghana, Mali and Guinea in what was a very difficult group.
After a respectful and composed display against Ghana, losing only 1-0, one would have favoured the Zebras chances in pulling off a result against the other teams.
But then they were thumped 6-1 by Guinea, marking one of the biggest losses in tournament history.
Before the tournament begant, coach Stanley Tshosane expressed his concerns without-of-contract Jerome Ramatlhakwana and his worries seemed valid as the striker failed to deliver; seeing the Zebras score all but twice - with one a penalty.
Botswana finished bottom of the group.
Africa awaits to see whether the Zebras Botswana can punch above their own weight when they make their Africa Cup debut in January.
When Botswana opened their Group K qualifiers with a 1-0 away win over 2004 African champions Tunisia, the triumph was akin to a one hit wonder.
But everyone sat-up as Stan Tshosane's side went on to collect seven out of a possible nine points thereafter before completing a double over Tunisia in the return leg with another 1-0 win at home in Gaborone on November 17, 2010 on match-day-five.
Botswana capped their fantastic ride qualifying in style with an unassailable 17 points with a game in hand only to lose 1-0 in the final and formality game away to Togo in October.
Star striker Jerome Ramatlhakwana of Santos in South Africa inspired with five goals from eight Group K games and is expected to be Botswanas key main man at the tournament.
However, Tshosane is worried about Ramatlhakwana inactivity at Santos including the form of half of his starters who play for several South African PSL clubs with two and a half months before the Africa Cup kicks-off.
Meanwhile, a befitting and rather belated Africa Cup entry awaits 33-year-old star striker Dipsy Selolwane of SuperSport United in South Africa after a decade-long service to the Zebra's cause.
|2012 AFRICA CUP OF NATIONS TEAM RECORD|
|LAST 10 HOME:||4||0||2||2||0||2||-2||0||0||2|
|LAST 10 AWAY:||6||0||1||5||1||10||0||0||0||1|