With the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations rapidly approaching, the race for qualification is heating up. 44 African nations were drawn into eleven groups, each containing 4 teams. The top team in each group will represent their nation in the 2012 Africa Cup beginning January 21.
So far five teams have qualified for this tournament.
As host countries, Gabon and Equatorial Guinea automatically qualified. Botswana secured their qualification in March, making this their first appearance in the Africa Cup. Powerhouses, Côte d’Ivoire and Senegal have also qualified and should be tough competition for any opponent. Burkina Faso is the latest team to be added to the official tournament roster by qualifying on September 3.
A huge relief for Sihlangu as Botswana will be without most of their key players for Sundays international friendly match in South Africa. Botswana opted to arrive early in Pretoria in order to being their preparations at a High Performance Centre. Botswana are set to play without most of their foreign-based stars such as Dipsey Selolwane and Mogogi Gabonamong as they were not given permission to join up with the squad for the training camp. Botswana’s national coach Stanley Tshosane however says he is happy with his squad and he feels that his side is ready to take to the pitch even with numerous star absentees. Botswana was the first country to qualify from play to the 2010 African Nations Cup which is being co-hosted by Equatorial Guinea and Gabon. Botswana was able to outperform Tunisia and Togo to gain their qualification.
The BFA has already announced that they have set up a series of training camps and practices to allow the national team coach to test his players.
The Botswana national team is on a training tour of South Africa as part of preparations for the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations. However, deputy first choice goalie Noah Maposa and striker Moemedi Maotlhaping will miss the trip due to their involvement in trials in South Africa. Botswana were the first country to qualify for the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations apart from co-hosts Gabon and Equatorial Guinea.