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Checkmate: As Chess Fed ‘rooks’ BNSC Awards path

There is no way to escape the Botswana Chess Federation’s mesmerizing organizational prowess and of course the smart performances recorded by chess players. Like a true Knight, the Chess Federation has become a special code at the Botswana National Sports Commission (BNSC) Awards.

In the three of the last five years, one of the best organized sport codes in the country has seen three of its administrators bestowed with the Best Sports Administrator Award at the prestigious BNSC Awards. One thing about Chess is that it is a very small community which generally has individuals of high or impeccable profiles. According to former Chess Federation president, Tshenolo Maruatona, the latest conquer in the Administrator of the Year award, “All the former and current chess players wield very impressive academic and professional profiles and these are individuals who generally are never lost to the game.”  

It was a spectacular weekend for the Chess body, it started with one of their former president, Tshepo Sitale being elected as Senior Vice President of the highly contested Botswana National Olympic Committee (BNOC). Sitale is one of the pioneer administrators of chess who propelled the Federation to recognition, his election this past weekend as BNOC Senior Vice President was a crowning moment of hard work and meticulous organisation.

Currently the chess elders who are the guide to the committee among others include Dr Marape Marape (former chess player and father to Naledi Marape), Dr Jerome Mafeni (the Chief Executive Officer of ACHAP); Mr Mboki Chilisa who is a practicing lawyer and a passionate chess player; Tshepo Sitale, a former Chess president and chess player. According to Maruatona, the list of advisors is endless. “In my opinion, these parents to a larger extent attribute their academic achievements and discipline to chess and they all want to see their kids following on their tracks. Hence their full involvement in the game. In the past 4 years, Botswana Chess Federation has managed to raise over P250 000 coming as sponsorships only from chess adults,” observed Maruatona.

Maruatona further observes that Chess players cannot imagine their life outside chess. He opines that it is a very intriguing game, very addictive and all they want to do is play chess. “So in essence chess players or enthusiasts will never engage in any activity that can put the game into disrepute. They have their differences but they protect the game at all cost. This is very important for any code. Chess players always want to see the game being played and the guard it with everything,” said the BNSC Administrator of the Year.

Just like in the chess game there is a Desperado, where a piece is captured anyway so it can "sacrifice" itself at the highest cost, chess players sacrifice their personal interests for the good of the game. If there is to be a Woodpusher among the chess family, that is a duffer or weak chess player, the team players will always support that person in the interest of the sport. Therefore, Maruatona shares that the success at chess is not automatic, there is a method to their madness.  

The BNSC Administrator of the Year further observes that the chess sport has all the intellectual resources within own pool. “For instance, the chess strategy was crafted by a former national team chess player, Mr Tefo Mogasha; our website was designed and made by our chess players; our life broadcast of games in Botswana was initiated and is being technically supported by our national team player, Phemelo Khetho.” As he cites this examples, Maruatona punctuates his rhyming examples with this statement: “So clearly there is a lot at stake and imagine the calibre of these individuals, they all want to see everything succeed. This is a select group of "nerds" like some people want to say, though we don’t think we are nerds. So in that context, the bar is not at mediocre level.”

According to Maruatona, Chess has been very successful to some extent in getting sponsorships and maintaining the existing ones. He says this could be attributed to how they have successfully packaged chess and how the benefits of playing chess have helped them position it as a game. “It is a known fact that all strong chess players are whizz kids or were at school. In the history of Botswana Chess, there has never been any chess player who made it into the national team and was not an A student. Never ever.

That alone is a distinctively selling value and sets us apart from other codes. It is the desire of every parent to see their kids excel at school. We always emphasize this distinctive advantage when we engage prospective Sponsors,” observes Maruatona. He quips, “Tell me one very good chess player you know in Botswana who was not a top student, I will pay you if u do!”

Every time the Chess Federation approaches a sponsor, it pitches the level very high and where need be, “we pull in some of the parents relevant in the line of business of the sponsor we are approaching. We don’t come through as just sports persons, but we sell our code on value and sponsors find that very impressive. I can exhaust all the typing characters on facebook when I talk about chess. That is how every chess player lovers it,” shares Maruatona.

To cap the glorious chess year, Onkemetse Francis scooped the Sports Woman of the Year award which was sponsored by Debswana for the first time this year to the tune of P40 000. Debswana has taken a deliberate decision to support women within and outside of the organisation in areas such as sports, entrepreneurship and academics. “This is part of our concerted drive to empower women, one of our focus areas in our corporate social investment space,” said Head of Corporate Affairs, Esther Kanaimba-Senai. Chess looks set to dominate other sports codes because of the level of seriousness and organisation they put into their work at the Botswana Chess Federation. It is evident that there is a method to the madness hence it could be prudent for other sports codes to benchmark with chess fides and masters.

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Sport

Chiefs’ ownership talks collapse

19th October 2020
MOCHUDI CENTRE CHIEFS

Takeover talks inside Mochudi Centre Chiefs boardroom appear to have collapsed following months of intense persuasion between Chairman Thapelo Tsheole and apparent shareholders, Matshidiso Sexton Kowa and one Tsieng Ramotsha.

Both Kowa and Ramotsha are equal shareholders of Mochudi Center Chiefs PTY Ltd, as per Companies and Intellectual Property Authority (CIPA) records.

It is said that the current Chairman has grown exasperated with the failure to make significant progress where he wanted to professionalize the club and turn it into a footballing company.

Sources speaking with WeekendSport state that Tsheole wants both Directors to cede 75 percent of their shares to society as he believes the transitional route from society to a company has been bypassed.

Tsheole officially raised his hand for the first time this year, in an attempt to bring an end to more than a decade spell of Chiefs’ ownership, and appeared to have pinned his hopes on reaching an agreement with both Kowa and Ramotlhwa because of their status and good standing as former Chiefs administrators.

However, he now feels he was wrong to believe he was serious in his attempt to cajole the supposed club owners and those close to him have also said he feels he is now wasting his time speaking to them.This follows unsuccessful negotiations where both Directors were alleged to have been left in utter shock concerning the approach and presentation of the Chairman.

While the two Directors would not be drawn to comment, it is said they are both hamstrung to divulge deeper details to Tsheole because of his ambition to transform the club.

Tsheole, who is also the Chief Executive Officer of Stock Exchange was surprised when he tried to register a commercial footballing company on behalf of Mochudi Centre Chiefs. He deliberately chose the ‘Mochudi Centre Chiefs’ name because of its popularity as it remains a brand country wide.

He found out that the company name already exists and is under the directorship of both Kowa and Ramotsha.When approached for comment Tsheole could not field any of WeekendSport enquiries but refereed the paper to Pollen Makgane who is the club’s Public Relation Officer.

Makgane confirmed that there are ongoing talks between Chiefs’ current committee and club directors to help in transformation. He said it is not an easy exercise as a lot of understanding has to be done to appreciate the two side of the story.

“I want us to protect the status of the two directors but what is more important is that talks are not as smooth as we had expected. You will recall that Tsheole was given the mandate to transform the club but now there is a deadlock of club ownership,” he said.

While Mochudi Center Chiefs PTY LTD was registered sometime in February of this year, there was another company, Centre Chiefs PTY LTD, associated with the club which has been in existence since the early 1990s. This is the same company that acquired a 7 hector piece of land in Mochudi.

The company had 7 directors namely Victor Kowa as the Executive Chairman, Ezekiel Mooki who was appointed the Technical Director, Serake Mfollwe holding the post of director of Marketing and Public Relations, Simon Mmopi coming as Director of Development, Mac Lean Letshwiti holding the fort as Director of Finance, Sexton Kowa who was Youth Development Director and Kgafela Kgafela who occupied the post of Director of Legal Affairs and Board Secretary.

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Sport

Sebego lieutenants protest election results

19th October 2020
Maokaneng Bontshetse

Fresh from losing the Botswana Football Association (BFA) National Executive Committee elections, Tebogo Sebego’s aspiring Vice Presidents, Maokaneng Bontshetse and Senki Sesinyi have immediately lodged a protest, arguing that elections were not free and fair.

Of particular interest, the two rejected vice presidents question the involvement of BFA staff members in the counting and verification of ballot papers.

Their arguments rest on Article 20 of the electoral code which reads thus; “only members of the electoral committee may take part in the count.”

Furthermore, Sesinyi, who lost the elections to the eventual winner Masego Ntshingane, argues that Article 16 of the electoral code was flaunted especially during run-off.

The article states that the ballot paper shall be of a different colour for each round of elections.According to Sesinyi’s observations, BFA electoral committee did not use a different colour when the election went to second round.

“The above was not followed as BFA secretaries [sic] was conducting elections which contravened the above section as evidenced by the observers and submitted on the day of elections to the elections officers present. Evidence shall be provided if needed,” Sesinyi wrote.

Sesinyi also submitted that there were allegations of bribery which were doing rounds on the day of elections and even after, something which might have impacted on the outcome of election. In conclusion, Sesinyi seeks fresh elections for all candidates as all processes were not followed.

On the day of the elections, Sesinyi was stationed at Jwaneng where he was eventually voted by 23 delegates out of possible 60.On the other hand, Maokaneng submissions are somewhat similar to that of Sesinyi especially on arguments of Article 20. But he built his case around an alleged spoilt vote that appeared to have cost him the win.

Maokaneng argues that article 21 of the electoral code was violated because, by his own admission, there was no invalid ballot paper as per the definition of the article.“My vote was not counted, reasons known by the secretariat who was verifying and conducting elections by helping the electoral committee member and further ignored Mr Leaketsa’s advice,” Bontshetse submitted.

He further argues that his ballot paper did not have any distinctive marks as defined by the electoral code. The ballot paper did not also bear any words except that of the candidate and could not be labelled as spoilt vote.

It turned out that Bontshetse’s vote was mistakenly thrown into a different box by a delegate but the electoral committee took a decision that it must be regarded as a spoilt vote. This occurred at Palapye voting centre.

“I refer you to the verbal protest that was lodged by an observer at Palapye regarding the counting of the ballot on which a vote under my name was disqualified without any valid reason, therefore contravening the electoral code,” he further submitted.

In conclusion, just like Sesinyi, Bontshetse seeks fresh elections for all candidates. He lost the post to Marshlow Motlogelwa. Bontshetse was voted by 28 delegates while Motlogelwa got 29 votes.

 

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Sport

Ngele to stay in SA

19th October 2020
MOGAKOLODI TSOSO NGELE

Mogakolodi Tsotso Ngele will continue to be a resident at Limpopo Province after penning a two year deal with Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivhandila Football Club. PIC: BACKPAGE

Ngele was formerly with Black Leopards where he endured a trophy-less season under different coaches.
Leopards is also based in Limpopo province and will share the Thohoyandou stadium with Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivhandila.

Tshakhuma purchased the premier league status of Bidvest Wits few months ago.Ngele is expected to be unveiled alongside mega signings in the mould of former Mamelodi Sundowns and Orlando Pirates midfielder Oupa Manyisa and Thabo Mnyamane of Supersport United.

Ngele left Black Leopards during the bio-bubble after it was discovered he had signed a pre-contract with Wits before the club was sold.Before agreeing a deal with TTM, Ngele was said to be torn between playing for one more year at South Africa and coming to Botswana to play for high paying Township Rollers.

The Rollers decision was to hinge on his private business where he wanted to monitor it closely. He owns a sporting clothing label and has already signed a two year deal with Notwane FC.Ngele’s career at Leopards blew hot and cold.

He only enjoyed his stay when his former coach Calvin Johnson was at the helm. He played crucial matches and his stunning free kick against Soweto giants Kaizer Chiefs is still remembered by his followers.However, there have been many other factors at play.

It is said Ngele’s future at Black Leopards encountered problems of many kind. His future was believed to have been dulled by injuries and a confidence that strangely refused to bloom.The player was also said to have broken ranks with Leopards management where he shocked them when playing for the senior national team late last year albeit claiming to be suffering from a thigh injury.

Ngele went to South Africa on the books of Platinum Stars. His marvellous seasons with the club left Sundowns impressed and they wasted no time to sign him on a five-year contract deal.

This was after winning himself a couple of Man of the Match accolades before scooping the Telkom player of the season in the 2015 season.

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