Rollers gun for GU danger-man
Pretenders to the BTC premiership throne and Mascom Top 8 champions, Township Rollers have made it a mission to unsettle the Gaborone United camp. After having first cajoled winger Kabelo Seakanyeng, Rollers is reportedly gunning for dreadful striker, Tumisang Teenage Orebonye and are persuading him to dump The Reds for a more fulfilling career with them.
But Orebonye’s future has been a subject of major discussion, as he has been pushing for a move away from Gaborone United. He is reported to be nursing a recurring knee injury and was a strong contender for the Golden boot prior to the injury. However, some GU faithfuls are not taking his personal medical bulletin entirely at face value. Some believe it is a worrying sign if he is not to report back for GU training especially after speculation got intense about Rollers’ interest in him. There are those who believe the player might be faking the injury to complete negotiations with Rollers.
It is reported that in December last year; Rollers almost snatched the productive striker but former GU financier Nicholas Zakhem had to rescue the situation at the eleventh hour. Meanwhile, indications are that Orebonye wants to leave the ailing GU and join high flying Township Rollers. A few other high-profile clubs are interested in him, including Jwaneng Galaxy, but he reportedly favours a move to Rollers and wants follow a route taken by his homeboy, Edwin Olerile who also left GU for Jagdish Shah’s project.
Orebonye is reported to have one year to run on his contract and he has shown no inclination to sign another one, despite the club indicating its interest to keep him until an abroad move finally comes. It is believed that Orebonye, like any other player in the league, recognises Rollers as one of the country's leading clubs, capable of competing for the grandest prizes. In the event of leaving GU, whom he joined from Motlakase Power Dynamos, he has always dreamt of playing for a rich paying club.
Rollers is struggling with ageing strikers, and their import goal poacher, Mthokozisi Msomi is highly likely to be released to accommodate the GU man. Orebonye has enjoyed his years at The Money Machine, where he is feted by the supporters, but feels that the time is right to move on. It is impossible to dispute the value and service that he has given to the club, with two of the last seasons being his best.
Those close to developments mention that Orebonye who is the second placed GU top goal scorer is yet to be shocked by the stubborn position held by his employers. GU will surely hate losing such a prized possession to their cross- town rivals. The United management has a reputation of being tough negotiators but for Orebonye, the second offer from Rollers is one that should be impossible to refuse.
Given the conditions at Gaborone United, those close to the striker cannot believe that United will be blocking what could be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for a rare talent which has unfortunately only ever flattered to deceive. It is believed that GU is merely maintaining that their prized asset is not for sale, particularly to Rollers. In all essence, Orebonye is worth to Rudolph Zapata’s team is obvious but the player might as well be feeling that there comes a point when it is unfair to hold somebody to the terms of his contract.
GU seems to be breaking a sweat over persistent questions about Orebonye’s future, and they have since stuck to the position that he is not available for business; repeatedly stating that it is impossible for a deal to be struck with a rival club. But this time around when GU’s Secretary General City Senne was asked about the player, he said, “the player has made several attempts to leave the club, but all has been ironed out and an agreement is that he will be staying.”
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It’s do or die for Zebras
The senior national team, the Zebras, is currently in Equatorial Guinea to for an African Cup of Nations Qualifiers tie. Before they departed, the team’s coach, Mogomotsi Mpote, had his troops train in Morocco. This was through the agreement between the two countries.
The agreement between the BFA and the Fédération Moroccan Football Association states that the two nations will work together to organize friendly matches between their respective national teams. It also allows the establishment of football camps for the youth categories (U-15, U-17, and U-20), this includes women’s national teams.
The national team has played over 180 minutes in its two qualifying matches against Tunisia and Libya. Currently, the Zebras, Lesotho and Liberia are the only teams that haven’t scored yet in the competition (this is correct by press time on Friday).
Before the match against Equatorial Guinea match, the local boys who were once known as the whipping boys of Africa in the early 2000s, were languishing at the bottom of the log standings in group J. They lost their first match away to Libya on June 1, 2022. However, they managed to salvage a point against Tunisia last year.
Before the team left for Equatorial Guinea, coach Mpote urged his players to focus on keeping their hopes of making a return trip to the AFCON finals alive after an 11 year absence since the maiden appearance in 2012. He noted that they would not allow their opponents to score and would ensure that they would get a draw.
Despite the various changes that have occurred in the two countries’ football landscape, the two teams have only met once before. In 2010, the local boys defeated the Equatorial Guinea team in a friendly match, which ended in an emphatic win for the visitors. Since then, the two sides have realised different fortunes in FIFA rankings, with Equatorial Guinea ranked 51 places above the Zebras.
Meanwhile, in their last six games, Guinea has only managed to win one of them. They drew with Rwanda and Togo in September 2022 friendlies. They have found the back of the net just twice in their six games. On the other hand, the Zebras, won one match against Zambia and lost four on their way to finishing at the bottom of the group with four points. At the conclusion of their previous AFCON campaign, the local boys traveled to Zambia and secured a draw.
Despite the recent results of the Guinean team, which have only managed to draw with Rwanda and Togo in their last six matches, coach Mpote is still confident that his team will perform well against the hosts.
According to the head coach, the local boys have the necessary skills and resources to perform well against any country. He noted that the team’s coaches have been studying abroad to gain a deeper understanding of the various aspects of football.
“Tactically they should also be ready. We need your (Botswana fans) usual support, when we come back from Equatorial Guinea, we will go to Francistown, and we will need you. You are our 12th player, and you are very important to us.”
OBED ITANI CHILUME STADIUM CERTIFIED
This week, the Botswana National Sports Commission (BNSC) Tuelo Serufho revealed that the Obed Itani Chilume Stadium will host the return leg of the Africa Cup of Nations qualifier between the local boys and Equatorial Guinea. The venue had initially failed an inspection test conducted by the Confederation of African Football (CAF). However, following the completion of the necessary works, the stadium was allowed to host the match.
According to BNSC Chief, Tuelo Serufho, the various requirements that the stadium must meet included having a designated parking area for the media and spectators, as well as having signage that will guide the spectators. He also noted that the venue now has a world-class media area.
Jagdish Shah rejects Rollers society
Township Rollers, one of the country’s most decorated football clubs with 15 premier league titles, is finding itself in a precarious situation as its long-term chief financier, Jagdish Shah, threatens to dump them if the society does not bow down to his demand of forfeiting their 20 percent interest in the company.
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Orange injects P350 000 into Phikwe marathon
Mobile network Orange Botswana is committed to supporting the development of local sport. Through its sponsorship, the company will be able to promote and market the sport. According to Maano Masisi, the company believes that sport can unite people from different backgrounds.
He stated that through the sponsorship of the marathon, the company will help promote healthy lifestyles and unity among the people of Selebi Phikwe.
The Selebi Phikwe Marathon is scheduled to take place on July 29, 2023. It is expected that it will attract international, regional, and social runners. A total of P216 000 has been allocated for the prize money for the first ten places in the 42.2 km race. For the 15km and 10km races, the LOC will give away prizes to the first five places.