The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of SPEDU, Dr Mokubung Mokubung announced recently at the Orange Phikwe Marathon Reception Dinner that the SPEDU Region will put in a bid to host the next Toyota 100km Desert Race(TDR) in an effort to diversify sport tourism.
Dr Mokubung said that SPEDU has taken a good firm look at how they can deliver economic diversification promise that their name carries by not only seeking to diversify the regional economy through sport tourism, but to also diversify sport tourism itself.
“Critical stakeholders in the SPEDU Region plan to expand the Region’s sport tourism portfolio by adding to it the Toyota 1000km Desert Race which holds the record of being Botswana’s biggest sporting and social event of the year,” announced Dr Mokubung, who noted that putting up a bid to host the event is a bold move and an ambitious undertaking on which he hopes to receive support from all stakeholders to make the bid successful.
Dr Mokubung’s words might have warmed up the heart of the Town Mayor, Molosiwa Molosiwa who had earlier on in his welcome remarks asked President Mokgweetsi Masisi to help them achieve their dream of hosting Mantshwabisi as the TDR is popularly known.
Reportedly, the race will this year be held in Gantsi Region, moving away from Jwaneng which has been home for the much loved off-road motor spectacle for the past years after moving from Mantshwabisi. With SPEDU company flexing its muscle to skew the axis to SPEDU Region, it remains to be seen which region will host one the biggest regional off-road races which is regarded a curtain raiser for the Dakar Rally.
The SPEDU executive revealed that the World Trade Organisation recognises sport tourism as an emerging market and classifies sport as the number one industry in the leisure sector and therefore it is incumbent upon the Region “to seize this transformative business potential with both hands.”
He said the SPEDU Region has all the fundamentals in place, wide open areas, suitable terrain, adequate infrastructure and facilities that can accommodate visitors, a town that has amassed a wealth of experience in hosting an international sport event in the form of the IAAF accredited Phikwe National Marathon and a warm-hearted welcoming community. These fundamentals, Dr Mokubung said gives them confidence that the Region can host the next TDR and to that end, the region will definitely put in a bid to host the event.
“Our expectation is that the Desert Race will compliment what the marathon already does for SPEDU Region which is empower local traders, create employment, provide a marketing platform for companies, serve as a stakeholder map to deliver the marathon on an annual basis, connect Selebi Phikwe with surrounding villages, promote the town as an investment destination and create a relationship between the local business community, general public as well as with the private and public sector,” he said.
About Phikwe National Marathon The CEO stated that as part of the Tourism Development Strategy for the SPEDU Region, events have been prioritised to stimulate the economy and Phikwe National Marathon is to be held every year without fail. He commended President Masisi for investing the prestige of his office in the Orange Phikwe National Marathon by being its patron, saying that the president’s patronage will in turn enhance the prestige of the marathon and attract both runners and investors to Selebi Phikwe.
Dr Moubung commended Orange for its support and promised that while this year was Orange‘s final year of the three year sponsorship, SPEDU and Selebi Phikwe Town Council (SPTC) will continue to support the race and further assist in identifying other sponsors for the sporting event which forms part of the town’s history which needs to be preserved by holding the event every year.
“Hosting an IAAF accredited marathon demands a substantial amount of choreography that plays itself out over an extended period of time. In that regard, I want to thank the Local Organising Committee for the hard work and dedication that its members have put in to deliver a marathon of this magnitude. This marathon is an international event and by that measure alone, affirms our status as international citizens,” said Dr Mokubung.
He commended the Organising Committee further noting that the committee’s diligence in putting the marathon together has made the people of Selebi Phikwe, SPEDU Region and Batswana in general to look good to the world, further pointing out that the experience gained by committee members can be transferred to other event management projects of similar nature.
Other SPEDU sponsored events that have been held in the SPEDU Region across various sectors include the games for parastatals under the Ministry of Investment, Trade and Industry, Maunatlala Agricultural Show, Bobonong Agricultural Show, Selebi Phikwe Softball Extravaganza Tournament, Mmadinare Agricultural Show, Selebi Phikwe Trade and Exhibition Show and Tour de Tuli.
The mega transfer of one Thatayaone Ditlhokwe from Township Rollers to South Africa’s SuperSport United has left Gaborone United (GU) desperate for the ‘purchase benefits’ and the latter has consistently phoned Rollers to pay back their share for supposedly grooming the player.
Ditlhokwe, a former GU defender, was sold to SuperSport at an estimated fee of P 2 million late last year. When the sale was negotiated, and it was agreed that GU will receive at least 15% of the sale, sources say.
This therefore means Rollers has to pay GU P 300 000.
According to reliable sources, Rollers is yet to process GU’s benefits because SuperSport United is taking long to complete the transfer fee. However, Jagdish Shah, the financer of Rollers, is said to be ready to pay GU’s dues as soon as the time is right.
In any case, it is said the two clubs are fighting a boardroom brawl. Regarded as the fiercest cross town rivals, GU was incensed to lose Ditlhokwe to Rollers in the first place. The underlying scuffle, to date, is catalysed by misplaced documents and trust that has grown seriously thin between the two clubs.
It is said that GU cannot find the contract between Rollers and SuperSport so as to officially bill their claim. Sources put it that GU had written twice to Rollers asking them to forward a copy of the said contract.
In the first instance, it is said that Rollers cooperated and did as GU requested. However, GU is said to have lost the contract and went back to Rollers for another copy. Rollers according to sources then refused to budge. There are claims that GU is now stuck in one place.
Rollers media liaison Phemperetlhe Pheto said it is difficult to talk about contracts to third parties. He however implored GU to avail the contract for them to claim their fees without doubts.
“I am disturbed to talk about contracts of players to media but bear in mind that we cannot act when GU is failing to submit what they have as a proof,” he said.
When Rollers tried to sign Argentinean born gaffer, Rudolph Zapata, three seasons ago, GU fought tooth and nail to block him from joining the ranks of their number one enemy. They delayed to release his work permits accusing him and Rollers of sinister motives.
To this date, GU is livid that Rollers nearly paralyzed their camp when they recruited striker Tumisang Orebonye, defender Jackson Lesole and the very same Ditlhokwe, to offer them lucrative contracts.
Just a year ago, the fight between the two clubs almost took a nasty turn. It started when GU wrote to the Botswana Football Association (BFA) questioning the coaching credentials of Rollers former coach, Frank Nuttall, together with his assistants, Leutwetse Tshireletso and Zachariah Mudzazi. Then, GU was seen to be shifting posts when consistently asked to rectify the situation involving their coach, Pontsho Moloi. It was found out that Moloi was not fit to coach in the elite level according to the requirements of club licensing.
But as things stand, GU will count on the words of Shah, whom many football administrators label as a ‘man of integrity.’
Ditlhokwe signed a three year deal with SuperSport last year. The 22-year-old helped Rollers to lift the Botswana Premier League trophy in the 2018/19 season and was rewarded with a national team call up.
The Botswana international played an important role for his side in the 2019 COSAFA Cup in South Africa as captain, Ditlhokwe also helped Zebras finish 2nd in the tournament losing to Zambia in the final.
The Ministry of Youth Sport and Culture Development has agreed to refurbish the dilapidated Molepolole Sports Complex.
The development consequently means premier league teams and local clubs will not be able to utilise the facility in the upcoming season.
The stadium with a carrying capacity of 6 600, was earmarked by premier league rookies Masitaoka as home-ground.
The ministry has further revealed that the stadium will need a budget of about 5 million Pula to relay the turf and renovate a water drainage system that has worn out. The contractors are expected to commence work in the not so distant future.
The pitch surface is artificial and was first installed in 2008 at FIFA’s request and the presidency of Philp Makgalemele. In 2010, it was chosen as one of two host stadiums for the COSAFA Under-20 Challenge.
“We have funds to refurbish the Molepolole Stadium for two main projects; the relaying of turf and renovation of water reticulation system. The stadium will therefore be out of bounds when contracted companies begin their works,” the Chairman of Botswana National Sport Commission (BNSC) confirmed.
The Ministry of sport is further expected to file a communication with the Ministry of Infrastructure and Housing Development notifying them to start a monitoring exercise when the renovations begin.
The reconstruction of this stadium and others is however feared to coincide with the long intention of the government to improve sport infrastructure throughout the country.
Earlier this year, the sport ministry has also requested a budget of about P 33 million to renovate and improve the VIP lounge of Francistown Sport Complex, now known as Obed Chilume stadium.
The President of Botswana, Mokgweetsi Eric Masisi, said the government continues to improve sporting infrastructure as part of the grassroots sport development programme. He said this in his State of the Nation Address (SONA) two years ago.
This financial year, P50 million was allocated for the construction of 10 community sport facilities or mini stadia, around the country.
“These will be basic sport facilities for youth recreation, and will consist of boundary wall, an artificial turf, soccer pitch and changing rooms with ablution facilities,” he said.
The facilities are earmarked for Tonota, Mmadinare, Bobonong, Tutume, Kasane, Goodhope, Kanye, Rakops, Tsabong and Moshupa.
Enterprising midfielder, Dirang Moloi, is in talks with premier league rookies Masitaoka Football Club about possibilities of joining as a free agent, having last played for troubled Extension Gunners last season.
Moloi, touted as the best midfielder of his generation, is said to be ready to hang his boots but not before playing for Masitaoka, the promising outfit whose administration is now the envy of other premier teams, especially the older ones.
However, it appears that there is a stumbling block as Moloi is requesting for conditions that are beyond the club’s reach. Moloi, with a substantial premier league experience, where player wages are not always guaranteed, wants to partner with the club through his side businesses to make profit.
Sources say Moloi does not desperately yearn for a monthly salary, but wants some benefits as the club makes money through other means.
Operating as a football company, Masitaoka has plenty of sponsors and it is why Moloi wants a share of the profits for each replica jersey the team sells. He also wants the club to partner with his security company to further rake in profits rather than waiting on a meagre salary that is not certain especially during turbulent periods of corona virus. This, according to sources may weigh heavily on Masitaoka’s situation that consequently will collapse the talks.
All the while, it is said Moloi will no longer be a first-choice selection but Neslon Olebile, the team’s head coach, hopes that his personality and experience will serve to inspire the rest of the attacking options, most notably the younger players.
Masitaoka have always sought to have leaders in their squad, players who have won big games and can bolster the collective belief. Their hunger to sign Galabgwe Moyana in the next season is rooted in part, by what he could bring away from the field.
Moloi, some reports say may join partly on probation and eventually sign to play as the season goes on, but not to inspire, as he once declared he is about to quit Botswana football.
The club sources however say that there is no option built into the deal for him to join them with non- football conditions.
Masitaoka are however desperate for Moloi’s services and will want him to bring calmness and stability to a side that has begun to dream big. The Molepolole base outfit is eyeing a spot in the finals of Orange FA Cup. Once football resumes, the club will play against Calendar Stars in the quarter finals.
Moloi has won a handful of trophies and medals during his salad days at Mochudi Centre Chiefs and Township Rollers.