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The Mares’ 2020 Tokyo Olympic dream lives on

Following the remarkable win over long time perennial oppressors; South Africa’s Banyana Banyana, on Tuesday night at Orlando Stadium, Botswana women’s national team can finally breathe a sigh of relief as their dream of making their maiden appearance at next year’s Tokyo 2020 Olympics, is getting closer and closer. 

 

The Senior National Women’s Team is among 8 teams that look to secure their place at the Olympic Games in Japan. Other teams include 2012 Beijing Olympic finalists Cameroon, Ghana, Kenya, DR Congo and Nigeria. Nigeria are the current reigning and defending African Women’s champions. The Mares, who are led by coach, Gaoletlhoo Nkutusang, and his assistant coach, Alex Malete, crushed Banyana Banyana’s aspirations of making their third successive Olympic Games, on Tuesday night, after they defeated the South Africans 3-2, on account of a penalty shoot-out. 

The shoot-out came as consequence of a goal-less scoreboard, after both teams battled it out for a nail biting 120 minutes on the field, neither able to penetrate the other’s impeccable defense. Botswana’s number one shots stopper and also Bloemfontein Celtic ladies team keeper, Sedilame Bosija produced a ‘woman of the match’ performance, as she showed her true mettle by saving 2 crucial penalties, to send the Mares into the third round of the 2020 Tokyo Olympic qualifiers.  The Mares, as they are affectionately known by their supporters, will tussle it out with one of Southern Africa’s most powerful teams; She-polopolo of Zambia in the next round of qualifiers. 
 


Coach Nkutusang’s ladies, will go head to head with the Zambian side in the first leg of the game, which will be during the Independence celebrations in September, and the second leg of the game is expected to be played on the 4th of October in Botswana at the National Stadium.  The ladies national team looks to exert revenge on the Zambias, for walloping them (the Mares) 4-nil, during the COSAFA women’s quarter finals, which saw She-polopolo advance to the finals. This came as a devastating blow to the young Mares, as a victory would have seen them in the finals; a dream many of them and their supports aspired to see come true. Should The Mares pull off a victory, it would come as a much needed remedy to their open wound and boost their confidence levels. However the upcoming games between the two teams play out, the winner of the two legged rounds will either face Ghana or Kenya in the next round of qualifiers.

Earlier last month, Botswana National Sports Council BNOC), together with Botswana National Olympic Committee (BNOC) and Botswana Football Association (BFA), amicably agreed to send The Mares for a 2 week camp in Slovakia, in preparation for the 2020 Olympic qualifiers, in which the team played several friendly games with Slovakian teams, the results of that 2 week training camp has since started to bear fruit.  In as much as the women’s national team is getting closer to their dream, there are many obstacles in their way. 


It will be nothing short of an uphill battle as the Mares will come into the games as the underdogs, in the upcoming Tokyo2020 Olympic Games. The team has been ranked the lowest in the remaining 8 teams, having been placed at 152, one step down from their previous ranking having managed to only secure a total of 796 points. This is according to the latest 2019 FIFA rankings.

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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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