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The Botswana Football Association (BFA) has revealed that the senior women national team, ‘The Mares’ is expected to camp abroad in preparation for the Women’s Africa Cup of Nations (WAFCON) finals billed for Morocco in 2024. The association is planning camps in Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Iran or Kuwait for consistency of play.
Botswana earned qualification to the finals after defeating Kenya 1-0 at the Botswana National Stadium, advancing 2-1 on aggregate after a 1-1 draw in the first leg. The Mares join the likes of Morocco (hosts) Algeria, DR Congo, Ghana, Mali, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, Tanzania, Tunisia and Zambia for the tournament.
Speaking in an interview, BFA Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Mfolo Mfolo revealed that the camps will help the team to adapt to the environment of play in those countries. “Our players will be able to adapt to the kind of play and match the likes of Morocco, Tunisia and Algeria because they have their way of play and for us to choose Saudi Arabia and Turkey, we were looking at the weather and type of play there,” he told Times Sports.
Furthermore, Mfolo indicated that the association will raise P10 million towards the team’s preparation for the continental showpiece.
He revealed that now that the target to qualify has been reached, more difficult work lies ahead and therefore pleaded with more stakeholders to come on board, among others, the business community. Mfolo has indicated that BFA also intends to have a women national league in 2024 for the women to become more competitive revealing that the association already has funds to start the league.
Meanwhile, the Mares face an uphill battle ahead as it will compete among the best teams in the world, with the likes of the nine time champions Nigeria, and hosts Morocco who are leading an exciting field packed with leading continental heavyweights. There is also the reigning title holders South Africa, three time finalists Ghana who are returning after a six-year absence, North African powers Algeria and Tunisia alongside Mali.
The two time winners, Equatorial Guinea and the four time finalists, Cameroon will also be at the tournament. Nigeria and Zambia qualified with big aggregate score lines to complete the lineup of 12 teams to play at the competition.
Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) whose last participation dates back to 2012 join the party while Senegal, Zambia, Tanzania and Botswana complete the list of confirmed qualifiers at the Morocco 2024 finals. With all 12 berths now sealed, anticipation turns towards the draw at a date and venue to be announced later.