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Letsile Tebogo: A 200m Bullet in the making

He is like a bullet when he is on the homerun, true to his name (Letsile) loosely translated ‘it has arrived’ indeed a bullet has reached our athletics tracks; and we are thankful, just like his surname (Tebogo).

Botswana Athletics Association (BAA) is famed for its consistency when it comes to producing some of the country’s top quality athletes, 200m specialist, Letsile Tebogo is no exception. In an interview with WeekendSport this week, Tebogo said he started seriously taking part in athletics in 2016 when he was still at primary school. At the time he was under the guidance of former national team coach, Mogomotsi Otsetswe.

“In 2016 during Botswana Primary School Sports Association (BOPSSA) competitions, I won three gold medals in 100m, 200m and 4x100m relays. I went on to reach the national finals in 2017 under the 200m category when I was doing my form 1,” he shared. “Despite not winning anything the previous year, in 2018 I came back well prepared and went on to win two gold medals under the 200m category and 4X100m relays. I also won silver medal after my sterling performance in the 100m race during the Botswana Integrated Sports Association (BISA) national finals,”

Tebogo produced an amazing performance at the just ended Botswana games which were held from the 9th to the 18th December 2019, in Gaborone. The talented athlete smashed Baboloki Thebe’s 200m National Record of 21:25. He went on to win the gold medal after recording an impressive time of 21:12, eventually qualifying for the upcoming under 20 World Athletics Championships which will be held in Nairobi, Kenya, from the 7th to the 12th July. There is more competition for Tebogo to scintillate track enthusiasts – the Region 5 competitions will be hosted by Lesotho late this year.

The Kanye born sprinter is part of the five member team of athletes who booked themselves places at the forthcoming World Under-20 championships. The five;Boitshepiso Kelapile, Bernard Olesitse, Letsile Tebogo, Keoleboga Balemogi and Jayson Mandoze qualified for the games, after displaying a spectacular performance during the Botswana Games.The 200m specialist hailed the contributions made by his former coach Mogomotsi Otsetswe and also his current coach Kebonemodisa Koatshabe. He said the two have made a meaningful impact in his career.“They have been instrumental in my athletics career,” he said.

For his part, coach Molefi Josiah (Letsile’s school coach) said, “The boy has a massive talent, it’s very important to have discipline as it is the key in sport. We are also careful because injuries occur during the time when you tend to participate in many athletics events,” he said. Josiah begged Tebogo to start prioritizing his race to avoid taking part in unnecessary competitions as he might miss important athletics competitions due to injuries. The 17 year old is part of the BAA provisional team that went into training camp last week Wednesday in Gaborone to prepare for this year’s Olympic Games in Tokyo and also the under 20 World Championships.

As a young man the Kanye born track and field devotee tried many sporting activities when he was growing up. According to his mother, Tebogo’s preferred sport was football but he ended up excelling in athletics.  “We didn’t take him seriously even when he brought home medals and certificates until he qualified for BOPSSA nationals held in Molepolole in 2016.” This was Tebogo’s biggest moment because he qualified for COSSASA games held in Namibia back in 2016. Tebogo was fortunate enough to have a teacher with an eye – this said teacher discovered his talent at Philip Moshotle Primary School.

The talented youngster was later introduced to the National team coach Mogomotsi Otsetswe who galvanized him for greater drives of today. Tebogo should blast past Isaac Makwala’s records because age is definitely on his side and he has more time to compete in the sport.

 

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Sport

Talks to merge BNOC, BNSC resurface

14th September 2020
BNOC,BNSC merge

The Minister of Youth Empowerment, Sport and Culture Development, Tumiso Rakgare, is eager to lead crunch talks that will consequently see Botswana National Sport Commission (BNSC) and Botswana National Olympic Committee (BNOC) becoming one authoritative sport entity.

The appointment of one Tuelo Serufho to the plum position of BNSC Chief Executive Officer two week ago has further catalysed the intention to merge the sports bodies to avoid the long standing complaints of duplication of roles by the two.

Serufho was replacing Falcom Sedimo whose contract was not renewed.Serufho, ironically is the longest serving CEO of BNOC and also a board member of BNSC.“One of our aims is to form a robust sport body to centralize and improve decision making processes and maybe the time to resuscitate BNSC/BNOC merger is now,” Rakgare briefly shared.

The impending move is highly meant to improve effective functioning, governance and performance of sports in the country both locally and globally.Should this see the light of day, Botswana would have done itself a favour and it would start sending a handful of athletes to international competitions.

The amalgamation of BNSC/BNOC talks have been in the pipelines but discussions were aborted two years ago without clear reasons. The creation of this all-encompassing sport institution is overdue according to the minister.

“It is in fact our mandate to make sure this happens, it is overdue and by next year we hope to have finalised our position paper,” Rakgare added.The creation of the looming body is borne out of lessons learnt from various sports governance models around the world.

In South Africa, the sports ministry facilitated discussions to merge National Olympic Committee of South Africa (NOCSA) and the South African Sports Commission. Their authoritative sports body is now called South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC).

With the South African model well in place, Botswana is urged to bench mark and create a sport body as a civic society-based organisation as required by the statutes of international sports bodies.The name of the local sport body is mooted and the minister refused to give a hint. But he is optimistic that the body will be the vanguard organization of sport in the country.

He emphasized that the sports organisation should be a purposeful guardian for governance and management of sports and be the required defining figure of the role of sports in Botswana’s communities.Talks to revamp and rebuild these sports bodies come at a time when BNSC is restructuring.

When Sedimo was still at the helm, he wanted to phase out some positions which he felt were unnecessary.BNSC receive close to 53 million Pula as grants from the government through the Ministry of Youth, Sports development and Culture empowerment while BNOC takes a figure a closer to that.

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Sport

P50 000 to expatriate Rollers players

14th September 2020
FRANCIS AFRIYIE

Township Rollers is anticipated to spent around P 50 000 to expatriate their foreign based players amid ravaging corona virus threats. The club, in collaboration with the Football Union of Botswana (FUB) tested Francis Afriyie, Fabian Assagou Guy and Kamogelo Matsabu before they can head to their native countries.

The trio are awaiting the results which are all expected to come out negative, following which they will immediately board planes to their various destinations. Afriyie was a Rollers striker from Ghana.

Matsabu, regarded the darling of the club is heading back to South Africa while Guy signed by the club but has never impressed, will board a plane back to Ivory Coast.It is likely that both Matsabu and Guy will return as they are still contracted to Rollers. However, Afriyie will not return after failing Rollers litmus test.

The striker failed to break into the starting 11 of head coach Frank Nuttall for the season and it appeared that frustration got to him. And when it finally knocked him down, the striker in a rough and unexpected remonstration stormed out of the bench while a Rollers game was on.

The former Gho Maria striker penned a two year deal in January and it is rumoured that his contract was heavily incentivized, catapulting him to being one of the highest paid players at Rollers.His end of season departure will now put a serious question mark over Rollers’ recruitment policy.

He becomes the fourth foreign striker to fail the club examinations and released while on contract. Before him was, Mthokosize Msomi from South Africa, Terrence Mandawa from Tanzania and Fabian Mbowa from Ivory Coast. Msomi and Mandawa’s release were sanctioned by former coach Nikola Kavazovic. Mbowa is loaned to Police XI to create space and playing opportunity for the now departing Afriyie.

Releasing Afriyie will now mean that the club’s striking woes continue. Rollers management complained at times last season at the lack of productivity from their strikers but they hoped that striker Tumisang Orebonye and other targeted signings, aided perhaps by Edwin Moalosi who remains on the books, could fire an upturn.

However, it was never meant to be as they finished the season second behind league winners, Jwaneng Galaxy.

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Sport

Leopards dump jilted Tsotso

7th September 2020
MOGAKOLODI TSOTSO NGELE

Black Leopards head coach, Joel Masutha, is reported to have orchestrated a move that could see mid fielder-cum-striker, Mogakolodi Tsotso Ngele, being dropped by Leopards.

WeekendSport has learnt that the coach summoned the Zebras former captain to a one-on-one meeting a month ago to relay the bad news. It is reported that Masutha told the player that he is surplus to requirement and therefore he will not be selected for any game unless he opts to leave.

Reports further state that Tsotso was not encouraged to fight for his position but instead was told that there are better players to be tasked with scoring responsibilities and helping the club to dodge the dreaded relegation axe.Ngele therefore is waiting for his contract to expire before plotting his next move. He is said to be torn between playing for one more year in South Africa and coming to Botswana to play for high paying Township Rollers.

The Rollers decision will once again hinge on his private business which he would love to monitor closely. He owns a sports clothing label where he already signed a two year deal with Notwane FC.Ngele’s career at Leopards blew hot and cold. He only enjoyed his stay when his former coach Calvin Johnson was at the helm.

He played in crucial matches and his stunning free kick against log leaders Kaizer Chiefs is still remembered by his followers.However, there have been many other factors at play.It is said Ngele’s future at Thohoyandou- a location where Black Leopards is based- encountered problems of many kinds. His future is believed to have been dulled by injuries and a confidence that strangely refused to bloom.

The player is also said to have broken ranks with Leopards management where he shocked them when playing for the senior national team last year albeit claiming to be suffering from a thigh injury. Ngele had signed a two year deal, but as things stand, the left footed midfielder is heading out as his contract staggers to an end. He is believed to be earning close to R80 000 after tax deductions.

The lifestyle and living conditions at Thohoyandou are also seen as factors that further complicate Ngele’s situation hence the sudden collapse of concentration in football.Ngele is said to be represented by Tim Sukazi who still hopes that the player’s breakthrough career is worth fighting for.

When signed by high spending Mamelodi Sundowns almost 5 years ago, he was represented by Mike Makaab, also a renowned football agent in South Africa.It is growing precarious for Ngele who was chained for longer spells at Sundowns.

But when a move to Leopards was announced, there was a high expectation that the player was nearing his revolutionary season.

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