Preview: Libya vs. Botswana – prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Wednesday’s Africa Cup of Nations Qualifying clash between Libya and Botswana, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Libya and Botswana get the ball rolling in Group J of the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers when they go head to head at the Martyrs of February Stadium on Wednesday.

The two nations will be looking to get off to a strong start as they eye a return to the continental showpiece since their last appearance in 2012 when they were both sent packing in the group stages.

Match preview

Corentin Martins‘s Libya were denied a third win on the bounce in their most recent outing on March 29 when they fell to a 2-0 defeat at the hands of Mauritania.

In a cagey affair at the Stade de la Capitale, former Fulham forward Aboubakar Kamara converted his penalty in the 39th minute before Hemeya Tanjy put the result beyond doubt 13 minutes into the second period.

Prior to that, the North Africans ended a five-game winless run when they brushed aside Kuwait 2-0 at the Jaber Al-Ahmad International Stadium on February 1 before returning home to grind out a 2-1 win against Niger on March 26.

The Mediterranean Knights will now look to return to winning ways and kick-off their hunt for a place in the Africa Cup of Nations on a good note having failed to grace the continental showpiece since 2012.

Botswana will also be seeking to make amends for their woeful run in last year’s Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers and end their 10-year absence from the biannual tournament.

Like Libya, the Zebras finished rock-bottom in the qualification group stages after picking up just one win, one draw and losing four of their six games to collect four points from a possible 16.

Adel Amrouche‘s men head into Wednesday’s game off the back of yet another disappointing campaign in the COSAFA Cup last July, when they were sent packing in the group stages after picking up four points from five games.

Next up for the Southern African nation is the challenge of an opposing side against whom they have failed to defeat, managing one draw and losing two of their previous three encounters.

While Botswana will look to end this poor run and get their qualifiers up and running, they have struggled for results on the road, where they have failed to taste victory since a 2-0 win at Eritrea back in November 2015.

Libya form (all competitions):

Botswana form (all competitions):

Team News

The Libyan Football Federation announced the departure of head coach Javier Clemente back in April, with French tactician Corentin Martins taking over the vacant seat.

The 52-year-old, who was formerly with Stade Brestois and most recently Mauritania, put pen to paper on a one-year deal with the aim of returning the Mediterranean Knights to the Africa Cup of Nations.

Martins has named an experienced squad comprising majorly of domestic players, including Al-Ahly Benghazi goalkeeper Murad Al-Wuheeshi and Arabi forward Alsanousi Ammar.

Braga man Al-Musrati has also earned his call-up to the Libyan squad and the 26-year-old should be tasked with winning the midfield battle.

Meanwhile, 23 players have been called-up to the Botswana camp ahead of their upcoming qualifiers and like Libya, a large portion of the squad are based in the domestic league.

Gaborone United have eight players in the squad, including goalkeeper Goitseone Phokoe, the defensive trio of Mothusi Johnson, Alford Velaphi, Thato Kebue and 26-year-old forward Thero Setsile.

Jwaneng Galaxy youngster Ryan Brown is in line to make his senior team debut after the 21-year-old goalkeeper was handed his first call-up to the Zebras squad by Amrouche.

Libya possible starting lineup:
Al-Wuheeshi; Sherif, Bin Amir, Makkari, Sabbou, Al-Musrati, Ammar, Al-Badri; Saltou, Zubya, Hamed

Botswana possible starting lineup:
Phoko; Mbakile, Johnson, Kebue, Kopelang; Ditsele, Cooper, Mabaya; Setsile, Sesinyi, Kabelo

SM words green background

We say: Libya 1-1 Botswana

10 months since they last took the pitch, Botswana take on a Libya side who are unbeaten in three of their last four games on home turf. However, both sides head into the game evenly-matched on paper and we predict they will do just enough to force a share of the spoils.

For data analysis of the most likely results, scorelines and more for this match please click here.

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