Botswana plan Nations Cup preparation in Brazil

By Mtokozisi DubeBBC Sport, Gabarone
Stanley Tshosane instructs the Botswana national team
Botswana coach Stanley Tshosane is taking his team to prepare in Brazil, after leading them to the Nations Cup finals for the first time ever

Botswana will prepare for their first ever appearance at the Africa Cup of Nations by holding a camp in Brazil.

The Zebras will travel to South America in August as part of coach Stanley Tshosane's plan to help his team of underdogs make an impact at the tournament next year.

The team leaves Gaborone on the 31 July and will return on 12 August.

They will play friendly matches against clubs including Desportivo Brazil and Palmeiras.

"We've been to Brazil (previously) in 2003 and what I saw there is almost similar to what we have in our country," Tshosane told BBC Sport.

"The style of play, body structures of players and their facilities are good - their coaches helped train our team, it will be a morale booster for the boys."

Botswana surprised everyone with their impressive qualifying campaign, in which they are unbeaten after seven matches.

Tshosane's plan for the finals also includes a trip to Ghana followed by final preparations in Nairobi in December.

They will also play Algeria in a high-profile international friendly match pencilled in for October in Gaborone.

The Botswana government recently announced funding worth US$3 million for the team's preparations and participation.

"Obviously, our preparations have to be more intense because the finals are different from the qualifiers - the challenge is bigger at the AFCON hence the Brazil camp," Botswana FA president David Fani said.

Tshosane will have to do without his seven South Africa-based stars on the trip, including top scorer Jerome Ramatlhakwana.

The foreign-based players return to their respective clubs early next month for pre-season training.

However, the development does not bother the coach, who says the bulk of his team ply their trade locally.