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Bondo defies odds

Joshua Bondo’s upward trajectory as the fast improving referee continues to earn him country wide appeal, this is despite some alleged transgressions occasioned while on his international duties.

In two separate scenarios Bondo was heavily criticized for shameful refereeing on the global stage, but on the other hand Botswana’s most successful match official, was receiving honors on home soil for a job well done. In July of this year, Bondo received the award for being the best referee on the local stage. The honor came a few days after the Zimbabwean media castigated the Senete born lad for poor officiating on a COSAFA tie between Zimbabwe and Madagascar.

The report at the time claimed that Bondo was even sent home for what was termed ‘shocking’ and ‘draconian’ decisions in which the Zimbabwe national team could have been awarded two penalties. “COSAFA, who have a zero tolerance on bad officiating, yesterday wielded the axe on Bondo after reviewing the referee’s pathetic performance which marred the group Group top-of the- table clash between the Warriors and Madagascar that eventually ended 0-0,” the report claimed.

Joshua Bondo was duly criticized across the COSAFA region and also on the continent for his poor show. It was said that the regional body’s referees’ committee that is using the tournament to develop match officials from Southern Africa stuck to their principle and took a stern decision to punish Bondo. Last week, the bold Bondo was assigned a crucial tie between Nigeria and Zambia. The match was vital in every respect of qualification. Any of the two teams stood a chance to qualify for the next year’s World Cup to be hosted by Russia. Nigeria were the eventual winners by solitary goal, but Zambia cried foul claiming that Bondo‘s decision to disallow their goal was a hurdle that prevented their way into the prestigious tournament next year.

While the rest of Africa blamed Bondo for a poor decision, much of the blame had to be stomached by his assistant for flagging the Zambia goal as off-side. According to the laws, the referee, in an offside situation, has to rely on his assistant because they are better placed to make a decision. However, while Bondo was brought under the scalpel, on the very same weekend, Botswana National Sports Commission (BNSC) awarded him the best referee of the year in absentia. Zambia believes FIFA, a world football governing body has to remain consistent in remedies applied to referees. They strongly believe that a match official might have decided the outcome of the game. However, the Southern African nation has categorically stated that they will not lodge any complaint against Bondo.

“Those of us who were at the stadium saw that it wasn't an offside but the referee made a decision and his decision is final. The only consolation is that Fifa can overturn the result if they have a reason to believe that there was an external influence," said FAZ president, Andrew Kamanga was quoted as saying. The chairman of referees‘s committee, Eatametse Olopeng has however expressed much adoration and confidence in Joshua Bondo: “Bondo is one of the best referees in Botswana and Southern Africa.

In the COSAFA game, it was unfortunate that he made such a mistake. But it should be noted that Bondo had no rest and fatigue could have taken its toll.” Olopeng continued, “With the Zambia/Nigeria game, Bondo never made any mistake, he did everything all right.  You should remember that the referee has to, at all times, trust his assistant when flagging an offside decision. All of the noise is hogwash,” he said.

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It’s do or die for Zebras

28th March 2023

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.”


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.

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Jagdish Shah rejects Rollers society

27th March 2023

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

21st March 2023

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.

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