Coach Zlatko Krmpotic’s sacking at Jwaneng Galaxy, which came this week after weeks of speculation, would have been almost unthinkable 6 months ago.
Krmpotic was ‘walking on water’ in the eyes of many Galaxy fans towards the end of last year, after leading the club to a deserved second spot finish of the season and after the club stormed into the finals of the Mascom Top 8 two years ago. Roughly one year on, he finds himself leaving the club that has protected him so much from criticisms aimed at him and any insinuations that he might be ousted from his position at the club.
The dents that ultimately bashed his reputation altogether, came when Galaxy fell way short in their domestic title challenge and limped out of the Champions League in the preliminary phase. Krmpotic has protested throughout that in leading Galaxy back to the top of the country’s game after years in the wilderness, he could have achieved all that could be expected of him.
He might have also lamented GU’s lack of impact in last year’s close-season transfer window, having seen good players failing to come to his team. Also, veteran player, Boitumelo Mafoko remained on the side-lines for a long time and later announced his retirement from the team he faithfully represented, even when the chips were down, under his watch.
All the while, there are unconfirmed reports that there was a lot of interference from the management of Galaxy which inadvertently gave the coach the leverage to lay the blame for these setbacks squarely at the door of the club’s board for moving too slowly in making decisions.
Tebogo Sembowa, Terrence Mandaza and Patrick Kaunda found the net not more than 20 times all combined. Mandaza in particular has not gone beyond 10 goals in the league this term. Creative midfielders Olebogeng Malebye and Tebogo Sosome have been deeply disappointing, while Thero Setsile and Thabo Leinanyane are no longer the rocks upon which Galaxy founded last season’s cup triumph.
Even the goalkeeper‘s form, Anthony Gous has taken a nosedive. Arguably the best goalkeeper in the last two seasons, Gous has produced a number of poor performances, with high-profile blunders in games against Township Rollers and Orapa United. Krmpotic’s man-management has also come under scrutiny, and things were further complicated when he could not wrestle the league from Rollers even when numerous opportunities presented themselves.
Despite his disappointment, Krmpotic would hear Galaxy fans chanting his name at the UB Stadium during the last game encounter against Centre Chiefs. But as fate would have it, he could not win the league. This confirmed that he was not the man to restore glory to Jwaneng and he would not want for sympathy.
But, it is however, noted with concern that Krmpotic’s position has always been all but untenable. Galaxy were in precisely in the same position when he became a coach a year ago. Then, it was common knowledge that he would supersede the then incumbent, Mike Sithole who gave them the Top 8 title when they desperately needed a cup to break the drought.
Despite the unedifying nature of this episode, Galaxy somehow believe they acted correctly because they took the time to analyse the situation and come to a conclusion of who they want as their next coach. With Galaxy now announcing that they parted ways with the coach amicably, it seems Krmpotic was not the one who guided African heavy weights, TP Mazembe to several cup glories. “The team management and the coach could not agree on contractual terms and both parties resolved to close negotiations amicably,” a statement from the club partly reads.
Gaborone United was this week crowned 2021/2022 Botswana Premier League (BPL) champions following their 1-0 win over the holders, Jwaneng Galaxy. Thero Setsile’s 13th minute’s goal was enough to seal the league championship, ending 13 years of drought from the Old Naledi outfit.
With two games to go before the top-flight season wraps up, Gaborone United opened a seven points gap to second placed Township Rollers having accumulated 63 points from twenty eight games. The Money machine were the first team to open a new chapter in the history books of Botswana football, when they were crowned the inaugural 2008/09 be Mobile Premiership champions, that came up with P1 million as prize money. Thereafter the club has been on the league drought as it could only manage winning Coca Cola FA Cup in 2012, Mascom top 8 twice in 2013 and 2015. They also won the Orange FA cup last season.
The return of Zackhem as the club financier signaled a new era with a number of galactic signings for the 2021/2022 season. The team brought into their fold big names in local football; Kekaetswe Moloi, Lesego Galenamotlhale and Joel Mogorosi. The arrival of enterprising left wing back Mothusi Johnson, dribbling wizard Mpho Kgaswane and hard tackling midfielder, Lebogang Ditsele made the job easier for the coaches.
Attacker Onkabetse Makgantai also joined the marauding attackers in Thatayaone Kgamanyane and Thero Setsile to make their front line combination the deadliest in the league. Both Kgamanyane and Setsile have netted 34 goals this season with the goal minder Goitseone Phoko keeping 20 clean sheets thus far while conceding just 10 goals. GU is still on the Orange FA Cup race and football commentators believe that they are the favorites looking at the quality of their squad.
As it stands should the Money Machine win all their remaining games, they stand a chance to equal the highest championship winning points record of 76 points which set by Mochudi Center chiefs during the 2007-2008 football season. That record stood for 14 years and Gaborone United could equal that feat should they win their remaining games against Sua Flamingos and struggling Notwane. The Money Machine made the bold statement begging of the 2021/2020 football season when they won 11 games straight games without even conceding a goal.
The Reds, who are under the guidance of Innocent Morapedi, a seasoned coach and his assistant Pontsho Moloi, has been consistent in the title race. In the process, the Old Naledi side has scored 59 goals while conceding the least goals (10 goals) and has a superior goal difference of 49 goals. Gaborone United success breaks Township Rollers and Mochudi Center Chiefs dominance as the only teams to have won the league title more than any other club in the last 13 seasons. GU’s proximity to money and talent were key this season.
Domestically since GU last won the league title, Mochudi Center Chiefs have won it three times; whilst the most decorated football club with 16 titles, Rollers has been dominating the league, winning five titles on the spin in five seasons from 2013-14 to 2018-19. Last season, Jwaneng Galaxy was crowned champions for the very first time due to being at the top of the table when the novel coronavirus pandemic forced the season to be prematurely halted with ten games to play.
After two years of no action across various sports codes including softball, Botswana Softball Association (BSA) is going back to the grounds to resuscitate the sport.
This weekend all roads lead to Selibe Phikwe for the top eight ladies championship. The eight ladies teams comprise the top four ladies teams from the south and north regions. They will then come together and form eight teams and battle it out this weekend at the Phikwe Softball Grounds and Area 2 Mowana Ball Park. The competing ladies teams are Titans, Police, Vikings, UB Giants, Rail giants, Scramblers, Carats and Ghetto Yankees. The champions will be crowned thereafter.
Softball Association Public relations officer, Boingotlo Marope explained that this tournament is not only for ladies, she said men’s championship will be held at Gaborone on the 28th May 2022. She said they have noticed that everything is confined to Gaborone as their headquarters in the southern region. As a result they have decided to take other activities to the northern region as well. “We are trying to grow softball, we don’t want everything to surround Gaborone only which is why the ladies tournament will be held at Selebi Phikwe in the northern region to bring equality.”
However, she explained that the reason they were missing in action is because of Covid 19. “We saw government cautionary trying to protect everyone by putting certain restrictions as spots had to stop for 12 months, we welcomed 12 months to protect Batswana. As a results that lead to the closure as there were no games”.
In addition Marope said they currently don’t have sponsors however private sector has always come through. Bofinet has to cut the sponsorship but that is not due to Covid 19 crisis. “Bofinet has showed commitment, they promised that as soon as they are settled they will come to our door knocking again,” she added.
Marope further said as a results they rely on their tight budget. Few of players has been sponsored, some has to dig from their own pockets, some parents cannot sent their children as some had to quit. “We have worked with our tight budget to assist teams and hoping that in the coming season we can have somebody to assist”.
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.