Serbian born coach, Nikola Kavazovic has agreed a deal with premiership champions, Township Rollers and is reported to have been given a two year contract. The popular Gaborone club’s measure of seriousness to defend the title should be deducted from its recruitment spree, sources have told WeekendSport.
The Serbian coach is expected to arrive in Botswana next week Tuesday and Township Rollers will make an official announcement then. Kavazovic is expected to be unveiled simultaneously with former Sankoyo Bush Bucks mentor Dragjolio Stanjolovic who reports indicate has been roped in as Rollers’ technical director.
While the nomadic Stanjolovic was widely believed to have been snatched by Francistown outfit Tafic, following their promotion to the elite league, impeccable sources point to the conclusion that the gaffer could not ignore the pull of the Jagdish Shah’s magnetic field. Stanjolovic, known popularly in local circles as Drago, is also from Serbia and his looming partnership with Kavazovic if well managed could produce a natural understanding and yield convincing results particularly that the former already has a feel of local football.
“Technically, and in football language, we could say Rollers management has hired Drago as the coach, Kavazovic will be learning from him,’’ a source played around the Rollers decision. Reports further suggest that Kavazovic will be assisted by Mogomotsi Teenage Mpote, who steered the team to glory in the wake of Mark Harrison’s departure last season.
It is reported that club president, Jagdish Shah together with the management have been hugely impressed with the way Mpote galvanised players across a stretch of three months to reach the podium finish. But some commentators are surprised at the apparent snub of failing to give him a contract extension to lead the club as a substantive coach. However, Township Rollers ‘think tanks’ have advised Mpote to remain calm as he returns to his post which demands little pressure.
Kavazovic is not just a football parcel, he has been head coach of Istiqlol Dushanbe, with whom he won the AFC Presidents Cup in 2012. KavazoviÄ‡ successfully completed UEFA "A" license, and enrolled for UEFA "PRO" license in Football Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina. In August 2012, he was the youngest national team head coach in the world. Like all foreign coaches, he has the big task of learning the local game, and serving premiership coaches are best placed to unravel his tactical prowess when they face off with him when the league resumes in August.
Contacted for comment, the Township Rollers spokesperson, Phempheretlhe Pheto said the team is still in search of a coach and will announce the fitting candidate at the right time. Kavazovic started coaching in 1996 in BASK Belgrade, as youth coach. Following his BASK days, Kavazovic worked as youth and senior coach in BSK, Zarkovo, Borac and Resnik. 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. Furthermore, they won silver medal in the Tajikistan elite league, and lost in the Tajikistan Cup finals against Regar Tad Az after a penalty shootout. 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 an away game to Champions, Ravshan Kulob, and Kavazovic was sacked the following day, on June 17, 2013.
On 5 June 2014, KavazoviÄ‡ 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 in 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. From his journey, the big question is whether Township Rollers will manage to keep him in Botswana for long!
Events that recently unfolded in the athletics world locally point only to possibility – Letsile Tebogo and Maungo Matlhaku are well groomed to receive the baton from Isaac Makwala and Lydia Jele respectively.
The two athletes sprinted to new local track records, smashing those set by their seniors.
As it is the norm in athletics, the biggest mistake these two athletes could make is to drop the baton. The two youngsters must not look back, they must steeplechase – clear all the hurdles so they may surpass the feet achieved by their seniors.
Letsile Tebogo announced his arrival in scintillating fashion recently. Barely two years after smashing Thebe’s 200m national record of 21:25 during Gaborone Games in 2019, this past weekend the young lad obliterated yet another 100m national record of 10.20 seconds. For a long time the record was held by the country’s iconic athlete Isaac Makwala.
Tebogo set a new record, completing the race in 10.14 seconds. Tebogo, who is currently under Lefika Athletics Club, came into the meet, organised by Sports View Runners Club, with a personal best of 10.49 seconds.
However, the new national record was not good enough for Tebogo to qualify for the Olympic Games as he needed to clock 10.05 seconds; which is the Olympic qualifying entry under the 100meters category. For his efforts, he received P1 000 cash and a trophy.
Under the women’s category, Leungo Matlhaku also stole the show after clocking 11.24 seconds to replace Lydia Jele’s national record of 11.39 seconds which she set in May 2019.
When speaking to local media after the race, Matlhaku assured the nation to expect the best performance at the upcoming events as she aims to qualifying for Tokyo Olympics and World Championships.
The sensational 100m sprinter said: “Even though after almost nine months without training, performance was testimony of the fact that the best was yet to come.”
Matlhaku noted that setting new national records was an indication that athletes were at their peak performance and that the upcoming national meets would be appetizing with the positive performance.
This week WeekendSport caught up with Tebogo, who expressed his gratitude to the national team athletes as the pillar behind his strength since they encouraged him to work hard. He agrees that he needs to habituate himself to hard work.
He said Saturday’s performance helped him realise his dream of qualifying for the upcoming 2020 Tokyo Olympics which was postponed last year due to the outbreak of Covid-19.
“For me to qualify for the upcoming Olympics under 100 meters category, I will have to clock 10.05 seconds which is qualification entry while under 200meter is 20.24 seconds,” he shared.
When quizzed how Covid-19 has affected his preparation he said: “It has affected us badly as preparation training for the competition was halted, but the lockdown imposed was however useful as I used the period to work out on my strength which are necessary for a sprinter.”
Tebogo started seriously taking part in athletics in 2016 when he was still at primary school. At the time he was under the guidance of former national team coach, Mogomotsi Otsetswe.
In 2016 during Botswana Primary School Sports Association (BOPSSA) competitions, he won three gold medals in 100m, 200m and 4x100m relays.
Despite not winning anything the previous year, 2018 saw him come back well prepared and went on to win two gold medals under the 200m category and 4X100m relays. He also won a silver medal after a sterling performance in the 100m race during the Botswana Integrated Sports Association (BISA) national finals.
Tebogo went on to win the gold medal after clocking an impressive time of 21:12, qualifying for under 20 World Athletics Championships which was to be held in Kenya last year but was postponed yet again due to corona virus.
Over the last 10 years, Botswana Athletics Association (BAA) has been famed for its consistency when it comes to producing the country’s top athletes, who are dominating and widening the competition gap with other sporting codes.
The code success expresses itself in elite talents the likes of Baboloki Thebe, Nigel Amos, Amantle Montsho and Karabo Sibanda to mention but a few.
These top talents made sure athletics remain at the top in this country.
Botswana Football Association (BFA) leadership is devastated after Ineos Group Ltd, a British multinational chemicals company, somersaulted on their initial promise to build a multi-million Pula football academy and instead travelled up north to pitch camp in Ivory Coast.
This publication has learnt that Ineos Group which had signed contracts with the association was at a very advanced stage to erect a P120 million state-of-the-art academy in a plot located behind the national stadium in Gaborone.
According to close sources, Ineos however grew frustrated by Botswana’s lengthy and haphazard processes and procedures that led them nowhere and only served to waste more time. Ineos were reportedly irked by the delay and dumped BFA before the end of last year.
Things took a nasty twist in April of 2018 when Botswana leadership reshuffled the cabinet. Ministry of Sport faces therefore changed as Thapelo Olopeng was replaced by Tshekedi Khama.
It is said that under Olopeng, processes were fast tracked as the cabinet was briefed, and endorsed the development. Things started moving at a snail’s space after Khama took office. It emerges that the then Minister had to freeze every move after reports came thick and fast that some National Executive Committee members were almost secret shareholders of the academy.
The matter was so volatile that it reached the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) offices for further investigations.
While that seemingly turned off Ineos group, the straw that would broke the camel’s back was the realisation that some appointed architects had dragged the association to court for failing to adhere to agreed terms.
However, one high ranking BFA official said that indeed Ineos group has abandoned talks and have up and left.
“I do not want to dwell much on the story of corona virus effects, but what I can tell you is that there was a lot of petty talks surrounding this academy, and this was never going to take us anywhere. We were dealing with professionals and they are gone,” the NEC member said.
It was indicated that BFA was at a stage of re- engaging the British chemical engineer turned financier and industrialist, Sir James Ratcliffe to start pumping money into the project that was to run for a period of two years.
Ratcliffe had frequented the country on three occasions, precisely at Lekidi Football Centre, since MacLean Letshwiti assumed the BFA power seat in 2016.
The main reason for the visits, WeekendSport had learnt was to discuss setting up the academy as well as to assess the possible piece of land where the academy would be set up.
The state-of-the-art facility, according to the site layout included-among others-accommodation for up to 80 people; indoor training facility; fully equipped gym; Restaurant for both academy and public meals. High tech media conference centre that can seat 80, 3 x full size top of range FIFA approved turf fields, artificial turf 5-a-side fields, boardroom and office space and on site medical services (doctor and physiotherapists).
In addition, the project will help upgrade the netball facilities as well as install a multi-sport zone for public use.The facility was not only to be used for football but was to be a commercial structure which would be used to generate money to run itself.
BFA said the objectives of the academy was to provide young footballers from Botswana an opportunity to transform into better footballers at a world class facility in their home country.
Furthermore, it was to allow the best players to travel to Lausanne, Switzerland- a country that also houses the FIFA headquarters- to complete a further two years of academy training and education that will eventually avail them the opportunity to become professional footballers in Europe and elsewhere.
Botswana Olympic medallist, Nijel Amos has written to the Botswana National Sport Commission requesting permission to sell the silver medal he won at London 2012 Olympics.
BNSC is currently seized with the request and contemplating the best solution. According to sources at BNSC, the sports organisation is unwilling to give in to Amos’ demands of selling the medal as they believe it is a national treasure.
It is the first medal the country won at the Olympics- a major sports competition.”They have turned him down and are planning to find ways of assisting him as he said in the letter that he is selling the medal to raise money for his charity and also to raise money for himself,” said a source.
“They have been in contact with him to see how they can assist him in that regard and should he turn them down they plan to buy the medal from him and put it either at the museum or somewhere where people can come and see the medal just like in other countries.”
The 27 year-old 800 meter athlete clinched Botswana’s first ever and only Olympic medal at the Summer Olympics in 2012 held in London, United Kingdom.
Amos confirmed to this publication that he has written to BNSC but he is yet to receive feedback from them. “I have to get permission before selling it. I am now waiting for them to give me feedback. I cannot tell you why I want to sell the medal out of respect because the matter is still being discussed,” said Amos.
Acting BNSC Chief Executive Officer, Tuelo Serufho confirmed that they have received the letter and are still finding possible ways of dealing with the issue since it is the first of its kind.
“We have not yet finalised on how to best deal with the issue as you are aware it is a very delicate matter and needs serious attention. We will find the best way to solve it and we hope to soon meet with the athlete and engage him on how to deal with it,” said Serufho.
Botswana made her Olympic debut in 1980, Moscow, Russia and only managed to get a silver medal in 2012 through Marobela born Amos who was a teenager at the time.
Amos clocked 1:41:73 seconds, behind Kenya’s David Rudish. The time turned out to be a set-up of some fierce competition between the two athletes since then till to now.