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Was Team Botswana Ready – Doha 2019 World Championships

Going to the biennial competition, Botswana Athletics Association (BAA) sent 13 athletes, with only five focused on individual categories, while others were to form part of relay team.

Two out of five athletes who were to represent this country within individual events at the on-going International Athletics Association Federation (IAAF) have been relegated to spectators owing to injuries. But the injuries on the two athletes has left one question on the lips of many within the athletics fraternity.

The duo of Nigel Amos and Galefele Moroko, who were undoubtedly team Botswana poster kids, saw their dream of sailing through in the competitions halted. This has left a dark cloud hovering above the team with medal prospects diminishing with each passing day. Only green horn, Leungo Scotch, was a torch bearer as he managed to reach the semi-finals.

800 meters star, who is also 2012 Olympic silver medalist Nigel Amos was forced to withdraw from 800m heat, one race after he sustained an Achilles tendon just a few hours before the 800m race. 25-year-old runner from Marobela village, was the favorite to win gold under the 800m category as he arrived to this year’s IAAF World Champ as the fastest man in the world this year, having run 1:41.89 in Monaco earlier this season, even though he was beaten in the Diamond League final last month.

Despite running some of the fastest times in history since, Amos has suffered rough patches at major championships, he is yet to add to gold his global medal collection. He finished fifth at the 2017 World Championships finals in London, with a time of 1:45.83, the race which was won by Pierre-Ambroise Bosse of France, after he clocked his season best of 1:44:68. The 800m race was won by 21 year old, who is also 2019 Diamond League Champion Donavan Brazier, after clocking a time of 1:42.34. Brazier happened to be Amos’ toughest opponent.

As if it was not enough, Galefele Moroko who is the women’s 12th All African Games champions under 400m category, also sustained an injury on the 400m women semifinals just 50m after the start of the race which forced her to withdraw from the race. In the heat races, Moroko recorded her personal bests of 50.59 to qualify for the semifinal, she however pulled out of the semifinal race on Tuesday night.


Another athlete who failed to impress was local 400m sprinter Christine Botlogetswe, who is coming back from an injury that denied her a chance to compete in the Diamond League final where she clocked 53.27, finishing in the 6th position, which may not be considered a bad time, since she had not been competing for about 2 months, after the injury she sustained.

However debutants, Leungo Scotch and Ditiro Nzamani impressed at the competition. The two who made their first appearance in the world’s biggest athletics stage, where they will compete in the 400m, a race where Makwala, Sibanda and Thebe have dominated, winning medals for the country. Scotch came third in 400m category, recording his personal best of 45:10, qualifying for the semi-finals as the fastest loser. He later went on to record his personal best of 45:0, in the semifinals even-though he only managed to secure the 6th position.

4x400m RELAYS LAST HOPE

When speaking to WeekendSport this week, Oabona Theetso who is the team manager, said they will pin their last hope on the relays which will be ran tonight (Saturday), both 4x400m for men and women. “If we qualify for the finals, we will automatically qualify for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games,” he shared. Theetso further indicated that they couldn’t have the full medical report about the extent of the injuries which Amos and Moroko sustained, since BAA didn’t avail a medical doctor to travel with the team.

“Lack of proper training and a long season has taken a lot on their muscles, it’s one of the reasons why they were probed to injuries. Normally our season ends in August, so its two months since the season ended and this could eventually cause injuries,” he said. Team manager said Nigel got injured at the Diamond league, Galefele also came to the competition while she was injured, though she had been running with the injury. He indicated that the duo will not be available for tonight’s (Saturday), relays as they have been declared unfit.

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Botswana ranked 4th in Zone 4 boxing tourney

4th May 2022
Boxing

The Botswana national boxing team recently returned from the zone 4 championship held in Mozambique. The team was led by head coach Thebe Setlalekgosi, two assistant coaches, Gibson Rauwe and Pearl Mooketsi. Two referees and judges, Gaseitsewe Ponatshego and Linda Mooketsi.

In the women’s category, Lethabo Modukanele was representing Botswana in the 48 kg division, while Phekie Bele and Sadie Kenosi were competing in the 57 kg and 60 kg categories, respectively. In the men’s category, Kobamelo Molatlhegi was representing the country in the 52 kg division, while Rajab Mahomed was competing in the under 51 kg category.George Molwantwa was competing for under 57 kg category and Treasure Moremi was competing for under 60kg category.

The boxers came home with seven medals, Modukanele came home with a gold medal, Kenosi, Rajab, Molatlhegi all came home with silver medals. While Moremi, Molwantwa and Phekie Bele all came home with bronze medals.

According to Moitshepi Nkabiti, the public relations officer of the Botswana Boxing Association, the team performed well and that they were hoping that Rajab would also bring home a gold medal. However, due to an eye injury, he could not participate in the finals.

He stated that, “though some people might think that how our team performed is not an achievement it is a big achievement to us. Other countries came with 19 boxers while we only came with our seven boxers, and they all came back with medals. That is something that we have to be proud of I really commend them for their performance. Having 5 players making it to the finals is really a blessing and we should not take it for granted.”

According to Nkabiti, Botswana was ranked fourth in the zone 4 championship, which was held in Mozambique. Other countries that participated in the tournament included South Africa, Zambia, Eswatini, and Seychelles. They all had a total of 19 boxers. Lesotho also had eight boxers.

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Mascom Charity Cup raised P500K

4th May 2022
Mascom Charity Cup

The first Mascom Charity Cup spectacular has come and gone. The football event played at Obed Itani Chilume Stadium saw four football clubs playing one-day tourney with various charity centres being beneficiaries of the gate takings.

While the attendance was not at the expected level, it is said that the sponsor has made a killing with close to P500 000 made from voting lines. Football followers were asked to vote for teams of their choice, and top four clubs were eligible to play. A single sms voting line cost P 1.50.

Gaborone United became the most voted team with 62 984 votes followed by Security Systems with 51 027. On the third spot was BDF XI with 48 596 votes while Orapa United came forth with 44 401. Shockingly, Township Rollers did not make it after gathering a total of 30 637 votes, with BR Highlanders ahead of them having seen 44 204 votes to their name.

It is said, however that, the initiative live to expectation as clubs together with the sponsor have managed to assist charities of their choices. Mascom is believed to be happy for identifying beneficiaries and getting value for their money.

The mobile network company is still the longest standing partners of local football, having first tasted waters in 2005. The company now powers the Top 8 competition and said to have renewed the dame sponsorship at a value not exceeding 18 million. The Mascom Charity Cup was not the first to be hosted by a mobile network company.

In 2018, Botswana Telecommunications Corporation (BTC) hosted a similar event in which followers had to vote. The four participating teams were Mochudi Center Chiefs, Gaborone United, Orapa United and Township Rollers. GU were the eventual winners.

It is however not clear if the tournament will continue in the next football calendar, but what goes down into the history books is that Teenage Mpote and Orapa United were the first to win it.
In previous years, there have been an off season tournament whose aim was meant for charity purposes. The tourney was called Kabelano Charity Cup and was usually played by four big teams (Rollers, Notwane, GU and Chiefs) without taking the voting routes. It was last hosted in 2015 and had Barclays as the sponsors.

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Golden boot race intensifies

4th May 2022
Sesinyi vs Kgamanyane

Yet another thrilling showdown is expected between the country’s hottest strikers, Thabang Sesinyi of Jwaneng Galaxy and Thataoyaone Kgamanyane of Gaborone United, as the duo are eyeing for the 2021/2022 Golden boot.

With only four Botswana Premier League (BPL) games left, the race for the honours is rolling towards a thrilling climax, but for two individuals there is a race for an accolade of their own taking place that could easily go down to the final minutes of the season. Leading the pack with 19 goals is Jwaneng Galaxy talisman, Sesinyi who is one goal apart from Kgamanyane who has netted 18 goals thus far.

Both players have their eye on the golden boot, hoping that their respective teams have fixtures to put them in with a realistic chance of catching up, or leaving the other behind. The Money Machine is currently at the summit of the BPL log with 61 points while the mining giant, Galaxy are trailing on the third place with 49 points, having played 24 games thus far.

Both teams (GU and Galaxy) are expected to face each other towards the end of the season, as the initial fixture was postponed due to Galaxy’s involvement in CAF championship group stages.
With 19 goals chalked up for the season so far, Sesinyi is just one goal away from Kgamanyane who led the race for the better part of the campaign.  Sesinyi who is on freakish scoring form has scored four goals in his last two games; a hat trick against Prisons XI and a goal against Sua Flamingoes in the midweek fixture.

But there is no doubt that  Sesinyi is no longer playing to carry his team, Galaxy, as realistically there is a slim chance for them to clinch the 2021/2022 season, but he is eyeing the Golden Boot Award when the league falls off.

Kgamanyane has begun the season in tremendous form; scoring every time he is given a chance, while Sesinyi, on the other hand, reached the peak of his form in the second round of the season; scoring both in the domestic league and also on the CAF Champions’ league group stage. He featured on team of the week on February.

Furthermore, the Money Machine attacker showed some growth as his conversion rate has been on a rising graph in the games he has so far played. Although Kgamanyane’s goal scoring prowess has been there for everyone to see, the player has been hampered by injuries. It promises to be a fascinating battle between the duo.

Meanwhile, BPL this week announced that they will hold the 2021/2022 awards. The league has since added seven new categories to take the total number of categories to 16. Among some new categories are the Defender of the Season and Midfielder of the Season awards. There are also two more awards for the administrators, as the league has included Team Manager of the Season and the Public Relations Officer (PRO) of the Season awards.

The best performing players in this campaign will be included in the Premier League Best XI.  Nevertheless, match day officials have also been recognised with the introduction of two more categories in the young Referee of the Season and the Female Referee of the Season. Furthermore, BFL CEO Solomon Ramochotlhwane indicated that the awards will be held on the 25 June 2022, just after the 2021-2022 season comes to an end.

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