Botswana to play Ethiopia in friendly

Gaborone, Sep 18 (IANS) Botswana’s Zebras is scheduled to play Ethiopia in an international friendly match to mark the country’s independence celebrations on September 30.

Botswana Football Association (BFA) spokesperson Phakamile Kraii confirmed that the two sides will lock horns in the capital Gaborone as Botswana celebrates 49 years of independence on September 30, reports Xinhua news agency.

Botswana gained independence from Britain on September 30, 1966 and the southern African country hold countrywide celebrations every year.

Kraii said the game will also form part of the national team’s preparations for the upcoming 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifier against Eritrea on October 7.

Botswana will visit Eritrea for the first leg match of the first round CAF qualifiers on October 7 and host them in a return leg on October 13 with the aggregate winner proceeding through to the group stages of the world cup qualifiers.

“The coach will use this game as his last preparatory match before we play the world cup qualifier,” Kraii said.

Botswana recently recorded a victory over Burkina Faso in the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifier that was played in the northern city of Francistown, about 430km north of Gaborone at the beginning of September.

Kraii said the game against Eritrea will also be played in Francistown following a huge supporter turnout for the game against Burkina Faso.

Despite the game being marred by mass pitch invasions at the end as fans celebrated Botswana’s rare victory over the African powerhouse, Kraii said they have not considering moving games away from the city as they believe supporters will not repeat what they did.

The BFA has since decided to turn the newly opened 26, 000 seater stadium in Francistown as the national team home ground. Meanwhile CAF has not communicated anything with the BFA regarding the pitch invasion incident, despite the local football authority saying they were likely to face sanctions from the continental body.

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