Big guns eye Kavazovic
Two South African Premier Soccer League clubs, Kaizer Chiefs and Free State Stars are said to be eyeing Township Rollers head Coach Nikola Kavazovic, following his triumph at the weekend.
Although reports insist the mentor might have a hard time deciding his new home next season, some say that Free State Stars will most likely lose out as they have procrastinated enough about engaging the coach. According to sources, some high ranking members from Stars have been to Gaborone to interview him about the possibility of taking up the coaching position of the club. Currently leading Stars is Coach Luc Eymael who hails from Belgium. However, the decision to part with Eymael will have to be ‘well informed’ given the fact that he has surpassed what E a lla Koto management had set for him.
Secretly monitoring the situation are SOWETO giants Kaizer Chiefs. The club is believed to be enjoying a healthy relationship with Rollers, but is eager to contact Kavazovic directly about the position in the aftermath of Steve Khompela’s failure to turn Chiefs’ pot of gold into silverware. Though a number of individuals claiming to represent these two teams have enquired about Kavazovic to poll his interest in the position, Rollers are expected to deflect all enquiries and stage a fight for its coach.
Kavazovic‘s contract does not expire until June 2019, and is believed to be earning between P 50 000- P 60 000 per month excluding winning bonuses. The Serbian is believed to be playing his cards close to his chest, but having won the Mascom Top 8 cup in his first season and most importantly taking Rollers where nobody ever has, Kavazovic’s stock, without doubt, has risen. Efforts to hold the coach proved futile as he was attending the CAF draw at Cairo,Egypt.
Despite level of accusations thrown to his side by his technical team, mainly for sidelining his assistant coach, Teenage Mpote, there is no doubt that Kavazovic whose coaching role model is Manchester City’s Pep Gaurdiola, has achieved beyond measure. He is believed to be interested in taking another new challenge, and either Chiefs or Stars will definitely suit his expertise. He is seen as a serial winner and his coaching resume speaks volumes. In 1998, Kavazovic graduated from Belgrade Sports University as the youngest and highest educated football coach in SR Yugoslavia.
In January 2012, Kavazovic moved to Asia, Tajikistan, and became Istiqlol FC head coach. In his first season there, Istiqlol won the Tajikistan Super cup and AFC Presidents Cup. Also, they won a silver medal in the Tajikistan elite league, and lost Tajikistan Cup finals against Regar Tad Az after a penalty series. In his second season, Istiqlol finished the first part of the season with a record of 8 wins, 0 draws and one defeat. After 8 straight wins, Istiqlol lost away game to Champions Ravshan Kulob, and Kavazovic was sacked the following day, on June 17, 2013.
On 5 June 2014, he was appointed head coach of the Sri Lankan National Football Team. On his debut, on August 24, 2014, Sri Lanka beat the Seychelles national team in Mahé, by two goals to one. This was the first away victory for Sri Lanka after 15 years. After the Champions title in Maldives Dhivehi Premier League and securing AFC Cup group stage participation for New Radiant SC, Kavazovic decided not to extend his contract. Attracted by a great new project of Laos football, Kavazovic accepted an offer from Lanexang United F.C. and became their Head coach on January 2nd 2016. After seven straight wins in pre-season, just five days before the start of Lao Premier League 2016, Kavazovic left Lanexang United F.C. owing to family commitments.
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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.