Johannesburg – Botswana head into Saturday's critical soccer showdown at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban with the dream of qualifying for next year's World Cup.
In the final world cup qualifying group A fixture, Bafana Bafana are second on eight points, Botswana third on seven, and Ethiopia first on 10.
Botswana's coach Stanley Tshosane said his charges would go all out for the win.
“The situation is quite simple and uncompromising,” the Zebras' coach said on Tuesday.
“Both Botswana and Bafana need to win the game in Durban and hope that Ethiopia either lose or draw their simultaneous game against the Central African Republic in the Congo.”
Any other permutation will mean that Ethiopia will go through to the next qualifying round, and both Bafana and Botswana will see their dreams shattered.
“The fact that Bafana currently have one point more than Botswana at this stage, and are two points behind Ethiopia, and Botswana trail the leaders by three points, is not really significant.
“But what is significant is that both Bafana and Botswana have superior goal differences to that of Ethiopia, and who knows, this could finally be the deciding factor.”
Tshosane is not alone in believing that Saturday's game could evolve into a grim, do-or-die battle in spite of the indomitable Botswana battlers being selected from a nation of little more than two million inhabitants.
A host of Botswana players have extensive experience in the South African Premier Soccer League (PSL).
Midfield kingpin Mogakolodi Ngele was Platinum Stars' top scorer in a highly successful campaign last season, and is only one of 10 possible Botswana squad members who have had game time in the PSL.
He was considered one of the stars of the Premiership last season and drew the attention of Orlando Pirates, who made an unsuccessful bid for his services.
Goalkeeper Kabelo Dembe is a team-mate of Ngele at Platinum Stars, Joel Mogorosi is a potent goal-scorer with Bloemfontein Celtic, the scheming Dipsy Selolwane, currently with the University of Pretoria, is a long-serving pioneer of the Zebras.
Mogogi Gabonamong has featured prominently in the midfield for current league leaders SuperSport United, while Ofentse Nato has played in the Wits midfield and a complement of Botswana players are with promoted Polokwane City.
“The experience gained by playing in the PSL has been an important factor in the Botswana team's progress, and it won't be anything new for them to play in Durban either,” said Tshosane, who has been national coach for five years. – Sapa