Botswana coach Rapelang Tsatsilebe has named his final selection for the 2018 MOPANI Copper Mines COSAFA Under-20 Championships as the side looks to improve on recent performances in the regional showpiece competition.
Botswana did not compete in 2017 but make a welcome return as a country with a rich history in COSAFA competitions at all levels.
While some teams have gone for fairly youthful squads at this age-group level with one eye on the next round of African Under-20 Championship qualifiers, Tsatsilebe has gone for relative experience.
There are two 17-year-olds in goalkeepers Maikano Tladinyane and Lesang Senne, who have been selected with 18-year-old Thabo Motswagole.
Botswana have been drawn in Group C and open their campaign against Zimbabwe on December 3, before a clash with Angola three days later. They play their final pool match against Lesotho on December 9.
“Last year we did not take part but this time around we are going out there to compete, not just to add numbers,”Tsatsilebe warned the team’s rivals.
Botswana’s best finishes in this competition came in 2009 and 2011 when they managed third place
First they beat Madagascar 3-2 on penalties after a 0-0 draw in the bronze-medal play-off in 2009. The Young Zebras had made it through their pool but lost 3-0 to South Africa in the semifinals.
They then hosted in 2011 and this time lost to Zambia in the semifinals before beating Malawi to bronze.
Their last appearance came in 2016 when the side lost all three of their pool games without scoring a goal.
Goalkeepers: Maikano Tladinyane, Thabo Motswagole, Lesang Senne
Defenders: Lolo Mangope, Alford Velaphi, Theo Motsepe, Benson Mangolo, Harvey Matema, Freedom Nhliziyo
Midfielders: Moabi Motlhaetsi, Kago Monyake, Baokeditswe Talane, Brine Mankanku, Bose Ramontsho, Gape Thibedi, Pontsho Motshelanoka
Strikers: Bakang Leshona, Thabang Khuduga, Resaobaka Thatanyane, Bame Morwalela