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Office of the President (OP)
H.E. the President's remarks at Sunday's Zebras sendoff
17/01/12

1. This is truly a joyous occasion for all of us! Over the past few years nothing has made us prouder or more united as a nation than the collective pleasure we have experienced as Batswana in following the Zebra’s advance in international competition; progress that has now culminated in this latest pinnacle of their ongoing success – participation in AFCON 2012.

2. To the players, coaches and others who have so brought us together, mere words can scarcely convey the deep gratitude we all feel for the talent and commitment you have consistently displayed in reaching this new sporting milestone.

3. Your perseverance and hard work in successfully scoring on the world stage has set a positive example for the rest of us. In the process you have become role models for those who will follow and as such you must always put the nation's interest before your own.

4. That these qualities are now becoming recognized not just by your own countrymen and women, but also the wider international football community was recently re-affirmed by the Confederation of African Football in their well deserved recognition of the Zebras as being this continent’s 2011 “national Team of the Year”, an accolade I may add that has gone virtually unchallenged.

5. Your unsurpassed record in becoming the first team to qualify for AFCON 2012 speaks for itself; but this is not the whole story. Neither has it just been your relentless ascent up the FIFA team rankings.

6. What has really stood out is the growing respect that you have collectively earned, from nearly all observers, for your consistent quality of play.

7. And so the team performance that was once considered to be a surprise for many is now being increasingly accepted and celebrated by outsiders, as well as local fans, as a solid legacy of sustained achievement. They also now know you as the Zebras, because they too have seen your stripes and how you have earned them. 

8. Beyond personal admiration and thanks for your achievement, my message to the Super Zebras here amongst us is to simply confirm what I am sure they already know - that your nation is fully behind you, you are not just doing this for yourself, but all of us.

9. In this respect, I speak not just for Government, or the other stakeholders present at tonight’s gathering, but the 2 million or so fellow citizens of all walks of life who are also here in spirit.

10. For its part Government has, and will continue to do its best to ensure that you get the support you need. It is this support that has managed to achieve this milestone and other to come in all sports codes.

11. In addition we have stretched ourselves to facilitate the attendance of some of your ardent supporters at away matches.

12. Let me also use this occasion to once more appeal to the private sector and general public to further maintain and where possible increase your support to our team, recognizing that we all have a part to play in its continuing success. We wish you all the best.

 

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