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Centre Girl: LebotseSebego’s Harrison Hoist move

Tebogo LebotseSebego (PCH) netball story epitomizes a race well run. She took over as the presidency of the Botswana Netball Association (BONA) in 2007, at a challenging time for Netball with the sport code considered to be the delinquent child of the then Botswana National Sports Council (BNSC) now Commission.

LebotseSebego steps down ten years later, and almost every sport person looks at Netball with envy – administratively sound and there are results to that effect. In her own words, the now former President of BONA, LebotseSebego says, “Fast forward to 2017 and Netball is that model child who brought Botswana its very first world event. So definitely my time with Netball has been successful.” One could apply the analogy that when she ascended to BONA presidency, LebotseSebego applied the Harrison Hoist move – in netball it when a one defender lifts another to get more elevation during a jump. It was named after defender Anna Harrison who pulled off the move in Australia 2012.

A number of those who have worked with LebotseSebego point to her team effort approach, she motivated the help of those around her to elevate the Netball sport. They point out that as soon as netball found its footing, she held firm onto the holding position and directed the sport’s proceeding like a netball player will dictate the passing game from the centre court. LebotseSebego started playing netball in 1984 and her first call up for national team was for Under 21 in 1995. She only stopped playing the sport she loves in 2003 and became BONA President in 2007.

During her reign as President of BONA the sport has recorded key achievements including hosting of the Netball World Youth Championships in 2017 where team Botswana got position 9;

During the leadership of LebotseSebego BONA has managed seven players under Zebra Elite Scholarship; she masterminded the attainment of the SPAR partnership; Over 500 Technical Officials trained on international standards during her leadership; and 20 coaches and 10 umpires internationally graded.

According to the former BONA president, other codes can learn a lot from netball, “they can learn that it is important to retain and support leaders who is delivering beyond the 1st term of office to ensure successful execution of initiates started. From me personally they could learn to stay away from the sports politics, be firm, frank and fair.”

Speaking directly to her decision to step down, Madam President as she was affectionately known in some quarters points out that, “this was a decision made in 2013 when my 2nd term started. One of the things we did in 2009 was to revise the Constitution of BONA to have a defined term of office to 2 terms of 4 years. I believe that it was time for me to step forward and for someone with a different focus to come and take netball to the next level,” she said. Interestingly LebotseSebego’s time to step down coincided with the Botswana Olympic committee (BNOC) elections where she launched a serious campaign for Presidency. In the end she was not successful, but she says she is very glad that she put up her hand.

She had assembled an all-woman team for the BNOC elections, of which she says, “I am even more pleased that I went in with a women only team #BokgoniFela. We forced a conversation on the gender skewed leadership, not just in sport but in other spheres. Personally I learnt that sports leaders are NOT ready for female leaders who do not conform or sort of become “honorary men” or play “the game” to be elected into office. I am speaking of me personally and how I felt and this is not meant to imply that any of the women who raised their hands and were elected into office conformed. We managed to get into office 3 very capable women and I wish that we had managed to get at least one more into the more senior positions.”

Despite her unsuccessful bid at the BNOC, LebotseSebego says she is definitely not lost to sport. “Locally I will support as much as I can all codes in areas I am able to influence. I am still the President of Africa Netball and also a Board Director for the International Netball Federation.” The President of the Republic, Lt Gen Dr Ian Khama bestowed LebotseSebego with a Presidential Certificate of Honour (PCH). She is very proud of this recognition, a personal achievement she treasures: “Becoming Tebogo LebotseSebego PCH will remain something I will treasure forever. I am grateful to His Excellency for having bestowed that honor on me.”

With such an honour to her name, what if the Minister of Sport Youth and Culture could decide to appoint her the BNSC chairperson, “Perhaps I would be a bit uneasy if the Minister would hand pick me to lead sport after sports leaders did not vote me in for an important role in sports. However, I would accept the appointment, because sports is a public institution and it is for all people in Botswana and not just the privilege or right of sports leaders. So if the Minister considered me capable for a key role to lead sports, I would accept that role and give it my best.”

One of LebotseSebego’s concerns is that as a country Botswana still relies too much on volunteers to administer sports. “We need more people working full time for sports and for the sports leaders to bring in the strategic knowledge and expertise. With the way we are structured at present, I am of the opinion that we will be delayed to reach our full potential as a sporting nation.”

Madam President’s partying shot is straight to the point: “As is Government is the biggest contributor to sports. The private sector contribution is growing but we need to make it conducive for the private sector to increase its contribution. Also as sporting codes we need to profile and position such that the private sector sees value and want partnerships with sports.”

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Sport

Dambe, Tsotso dump Zebras

12th April 2021

Remnant of the historic Africa Cup of Nations squad of 2012, Mogakolodi ‘Tsotso’ Ngele and Botswana’s first-choice goal keeper, Kabelo Dambe, will never embody the future of the Zebras as long as Adel Amrouche is at the helm, WeekendSport has established.

The duo made this confession in the squad secret WhatsApp group seen by this publication, expressing concern and antipathy about playing for the squad heavily polarised by the coach.

It turns out that the coach has players he favours and prefers, many of who appear in the starting line-up as a long lasting promise to be signed under his stable. The aim is to ultimately recruit them to far flung clubs and earn a commission.

Ngele who remains the only player to have scored the Zebras goal (in open play) at the 2012 edition has endured a rocky affair with the coach.

Not much has been established as to why the affair is in tatters but sources claim that it stretched to a point where Amrouche confronted Ngele’s former coaches at Black Leopards to discuss possible options of side-lining him. The idea was to frustrate the player and kill his confidence as the only player Zebras looked up to.

Ngele, under former coach Peter Butler, was named the squad captain but under Amrouche, he has played cameo roles in World Cup and AFCON qualifiers. Ngele has made three appearances and came once as a substitute in all the 10 games Amrouche managed.

Ngele was hoping for his own great leap forward in an effort to end his nightmare and play for the Zebras especially after earning playing time with his new club, Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivhandila.

Do this day, Ngele has made more than 35 appearances for the Zebras since earning his debut in 2009. Away from The Zebras stage, Ngele made significant contributions at Platinum Stars, the first team he signed his professional contract with. In 67 games, he scored 19 times.

Amrouche’s insistency and promise to make a loud impact in this year’s qualifiers did not bear fruit. Part of the blame is shoved on Township Rollers stopper, Kabelo Dambe. He is accused to have failed to stand strong for Zebras and shipped in simpler goals that cost the team to book a flight to Cameroon next year.

A goal against Algeria on home soil and a goal by Zimbabwe last month could have never gone through had he positioned himself better, critics claim.

Dambe who has more than 44 caps and played all Zebras games under Amrouche feels hard done and had hoped the coach and the nation would protect him. He feels the ambition of the country to qualify mirrors a tomorrow that could never come because of his mistakes.

Botswana Football Association (BFA) General Manager of National Teams, Monnakgotla Mojaki when pressed for interview failed to provide details about the future of the two stars.

He expressed concern that he was never hands on when the squad played the qualifiers. This according to Mojaki, was the case because the coach had barred him from mingling with the players.

“I am sorry I cannot assist you with anything, I know nothing and remember I have not spoken to anybody since I was asked not to come to camp,” he shared.

Both Dambe and Ngele are not only equally unhappy but are also equal in age; both are 30 years and have played for Platinum Stars at one point in their careers.

However, there is information to the effect that the duo made a promise to return one day, and that is when the coach has parted company with the association.

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Sport

Galaxy star wants out

12th April 2021

Lebogang Ditsile has begun to cast fresh doubts over his future as a Jwaneng Galaxy player. The hard tackling midfielder has handed the club management a transfer request amid rumours linking him with Gaborone United.

This week, the industrious player gave Galaxy an ultimatum -to either improve his contract benefits or let him go- this comes after a decision was taken to offer the whole team pay cuts amid the corona virus pandemic.

Galaxy has arrived at a conclusion of giving each player P3000 until a time football returns to the field.Ditsile, one of the club’ highest paid players is certainly restless and would not want to entertain a second thought over his future.

Galaxy on the other hand is feeling distraught over GU’s constant communication with the player, and are also aggrieved that the Nikholas Zakhem powered team wants to prize away their asset. Ditsile’s contract does not expire until June of 2022.

The situation is not yet explosive but it is believed to have gotten under Ditsile’s skin and it is threatening to turn ugly. Ditsile apparently is the best thing ever to happen to Galaxy and to leave them at this point will surely be a great loss that could take some time for the club to recover.

However, GU is busy making their move for their long-time target and the enterprising midfielder is said to be determined to complete the transfer before the season begins. It is said the player wants to play football without hustles, which Galaxy cannot promise at the present moment, and the allure of GU will certainly prove too much to stay from.

The team led and directed by Zakhem is reported to have promised ‘Tally’ a mouth-watering contract should he voluntarily terminate. It is however noted that GU cannot risk buying the player who is still on a running contract.

It is believed that Ditsile recognises GU as one of the country’s leading clubs, capable of competing for the grandest prizes. In the event of joining GU, Ditsile would have fulfilled his dream of playing for a rich paying club.

He has enjoyed his years at Galaxy, 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 last season being his best.

The fan-favourite, who has had an on and off relationship with the national team, is still held by the terms of his contract while discussions between his agent are continuing behind closed doors.

Those close to developments mention that Ditsile is yet to be shocked by the stubborn position held by the Galaxy; but the club will surely hate losing such a prized possession to their fiercest rivals.

The Galaxy management has a reputation of being tough negotiators but for Ditsile, the offer from GU is one that should be impossible to refuse.On the other hand, GU are mindful of the tactics often displayed by Botswana players.

They have a tendency of bargaining through rival clubs so as to increase salary or force the management to act swiftly.

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Sport

Panic ahead of women champions’ league

12th April 2021

The absence of women national league in the country has caused anxiety and alarm at Botswana Football Association (BFA) secretariat. PIC: Soccer Laduma

This is the case because the inaugural COSAFA women champions’ league is about to kick start and BFA is expected to send the name of the team that will represent the country.

As things stand, the association is caught between a rock and a hard place because they are unable to determine the deserving team. The reality facing the association is because its women nation-wide league has never been played since the first corona virus case was registered in March of 2020.

However, the association has devised a plan and a model to opt for a team that will participate in the tournament to be held between November and December of this year. The play offs are expected to commence in August.

BFA has therefore called for an expression of interest from clubs to select the most deserving team.The expression of interest, according to BFA, should cover the club’s financial viability and ability to honour its games (both home and away) without fail. According to findings, the club will need a minimum of P100 00 to play a telling role.

It is therefore highly unlikely that BFA will find a women’s team enjoying such financial freedom. In any case, the association will be forced to offer financial assistance.Township Rollers, Mexican girls and Double Action are the few teams that can possibly be selected, but a huge question mark hangs over their financial disposition.

One other thing needed through the expression of interest is the current books of accounts which will definitely show that the club has been operating. BFA is of the view that this is important because it will help in showing the financial progression of the team.

“We are very pleased with how these events were organized under very difficult circumstances,” COSAFA General Secretary, Sue Destombes said in a statement.

“We take what we learnt in Nelson Mandela Bay into our planning for 2021. We have a full calendar of tournaments at this stage. We are hopeful we will be able to stage them all, even in these most challenging times.

The highlight must be the introduction of the regional Women’s Champions League, which will be a zonal qualifier for the new CAF Women’s Champions League which is coming later this year,” she further shared.

 

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