Rowe gets no smiles in Botswana

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The 2010 World Cup and African Cup of Nations preliminary draw has been scheduled and Rowe gets another chance to prove himself this year, but few believe that the Briton is the man who will give Botswana a first qualification for the World Cup or the African Cup of Nations.

Rowe, whose is being dubbed ‘Clown’ and not Colwyn, faces a daunting task in the draw against Ivory Coast, Madagascar and Mozambique.

Doubting Botswana fans point to the fact that last year the country’s attempt to make it to this month’s Ghana showpiece blew hot and cold throughout their campaign. There were moments when Ghana was within reach while at times the dream looked dead, though not buried.

Till the last game, the Zebras were still in the running so long as they achieved the near impossible - beat Egypt in Cairo - and hoped the game between Burundi and Mauritania produced a favourable outcome. But on October 13, it all ended when Egypt narrowly beat the Zebras 1-0 in Cairo.

The Zebras started 2007on a winning note by overcoming Burundi 1-0 in the qualifiers on March 25 in a dull but supporters were not happy by the overall performance.

Then, on May 29, Rowe left the National Stadium under escort with fans baying for his blood after his charges put up a lucklustre show to draw 0-0 with Libya in an international friendly.

Fans accused the coach of employing poor tactics in the game. At the beginning of June, the Zebras travelled to Burundi where they lost 1-0. Two weeks later, he redeemed some pride when the Zebras beat visiting Mauritania 2-1.

It was no consolation for the 4-0 humiliation the Zebras suffered at the hands of the West Africans in the opening round of the qualifiers. However, the win took the Zebras to second spot behind defending champions in Group 2 with seven points. That set the scene for the October 13 showdown in Cairo with the winner assured of a ticket to Ghana. It proved a bridge too far for the Zebras.

Fans were also given reason to Rowe’s capabilities when in the Cosafa Castle Cup, the Zebras bowed out in the semi-finals, after a humiliating 1-0 defeat by a third rate Bafana Bafana squad.

Now, they say that unless he gets his act together in the earlier part of the year, Rowe could be sent packing back to England.

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