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Tsotso wins second Absa Premiership title

…But will re-join Sundowns

Botswana’s soccer export to South Africa, Mogakolodi Tsotso Ngele has won the ABSA Premiership title with Bidvest Wits Football Club. This is the second ABSA Premiership title for Ngele after he won the title again last season with Mamelodi Sundowns where he struggled to have game time. He is the second Botswana player to win the Absa Premiership after Phenyo Mongala who won it with Orlando Pirates in 2011.


Bidvest Wits won the league on Wednesday night in an encounter against sixth placed Polokwane City with a game left to spare. The former Township Rollers star had an impact in their deciding game that saw “The Clever Boys” win the league ahead of his former side, Mamelodi Sundowns in a tough two-horse race to the championship.


He made impactful tackles, one of which earned him a yellow card. Even though he was booked, Ngele stamped his authority with his marksman skills, eventually producing a beautiful assist by setting up Daine Klate’s goal that saw Wits win their first Absa Premiership title. Bidvest Wits won 2-0 while on the other side, title contenders, Mamelodi Sundowns was held down a 2-2 draw by Maritzburg United. Wits needed three points to seal the deal.


Tsotso who started his football career with Uniao Flamingo Santos in 2007, joined Township Rollers in 2011 before he left Botswana for Platinum Stars in South Africa. It is at Rollers where he shined and got a call up at the National Team. His star continued to shine brighter at Platinum Stars where he helped the club with the Telkom Knockout Cup twice together with the MTN8 cup.


After an illustrious football career at Dikwena as Platinum Stars is affectionately known, Ngele moved to Mamelodi Sundowns in the 2015/16 league campaign where he struggled to have game time. Frustrated by this development, he handed in a transfer request which saw the lanky star joining Bidvest Wits in a swap deal. It seems Tsotso has made the best move of his career as he has already won the MTN8 Cup and the Absa Premiership with the Braamfontein based side.


Ngele has earned the reputation as one of the brilliant attacking midfielders in the Premier Soccer League (PSL) due to his powerful shot accuracy and brilliant footwork. It is the same brilliance that made Tsotso to be regarded highly by Batswana as a favourite in the National Team. The Bidvest Wits star have a blend of accurate passes and winning tackles and an impressive eye for goal.


Ngele to rejoin Sundowns


Mogakolodi Ngele is expected to don the blue and yellow regalia of the moneyed Mamelodi Sundowns next season in the South African elite league after his current club Bidvest Wits took a bold stance that they will not need his services in the coming season. The news comes as a surprise to many football fans as the ‘Students’ had claimed that Ngele was signed on a permanent deal soon after his move from Sundowns last year. Further, the jersey no.10 played a pivotal role in the team clinching maiden league title this week. The player despite this has no choices but to report back to Chloorkop after the last league match as Coach Gavin Hunt has not exercised the option to keep the attacker on permanent basis.


The left footed player joined Sundowns in 2015 from Platinum Stars after an impressive two seasons with the Rustenburg outfit. His reception at Sundowns was somehow not what he expected as he was rarely used, he instinctively handed in a transfer request and Bidvest snatched him on exchange for Sundowns’ long awaited target Sibusiso Vilakazi on permanent basis. Tsotso’s move though was initially expected to be permanent it was later turned into a loan deal where he enjoyed a better game time.


Bidvest won their maiden league title with the help of Ngele relegating Sundowns to position two. Tsotso has played 1074 minutes from 17 appearances including 14 starts. This was a dream come true and indeed vindicating his decision for handing in a transfer request as in the previous sehe was mostly introduced as a sub starting only five times while netting only two goals the whole season. It was a frustrating drop compared to the previous season 2014/15 with Platinum Stars. His market value even dwindled while at Sundowns.


However Pitso Mosimane’s side will welcome back the 27 year old in their fold at the beginning of the season. Sundowns revealed that Hunt has not exercised the option to keep the player together with Zimbabwean striker Cuthbert Malajila beyond June this year leaving Sundowns with no option but to reunite with the players.


Their arrival could give Mosimane a sigh of relief to have more depth as more competitions still await the current African Championship as it has been clearly visible that at times Sundowns was caught wanting struggling with back-up players after injuries and suspensions. On the other hand some teams could snatch Ngele as it is apparent that he wants out of the star-studded side.

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BAA targets 2 medals at World Champs

28th June 2022
Letsile Tebogo

With just three weeks left before the World Athletics Championships kicks off in London, the Botswana Athletics Association (BAA) has set a modest target for its athletes, demanding a paltry two medals.

The members of the team that will be participating in the event are currently training. They are expected to leave on July 10. The Botswana team, which was composed of young athletes, was able to secure seven medals at the recently concluded Africa Senior Championships held in Mauritius. They were placed sixth out of 44 participating nations.

According to Oabona Theetso, the Vice President of the Botswana Athletics Association, the team’s goal is to secure two medals at the World Championships. On the other hand, the under-20 team’s goal is to bag at least four medals.

Nevertheless, Theetso said the team which is currently on training camp encompasses of Isaac Makwala, Nigel Amos, Anthony Pesela, Bayapo Ndori, Letsile Tebogo, Isaac Makwala, and Thalosang Tshireletso of High jump just to mention the few. Theetso noted that the training camp was not able to produce a female athlete due to the failure of the female athletes to secure a ticket to the event.

Theetso also noted that the BNOC gave the BAA about P500 000 to help fund the team’s preparations for the event. Besides the training camp, the organization additionally received the same funding for the Oregon World Champion team.

When asked about the presence of renowned athlete and 800m world record holder, Nijel Amos, at the training camp, Theetso revealed that he has never officially communicated his intention to become an independent athlete.

When further pressed about the outcome of the meeting between Amos and the Minister – Theetso said, “We are unaware that he ever meets with Rakgare. If they met without the presence of BAA official, it will be wrong and highly regrettable,” he said.

When contacted for a comment Tlhobo Tlhasana who is Public Relations Officer at Ministry of Youth, Gender, Sport and Culture confirmed to this publication that Amos met with Minister Tumiso Rakgare a few weeks after the 2012 Olympic silver medalist made known his intention to go solo.

“The minister is at liberty to meet any sport personality from different codes in his capacity as the minister. He doesn’t need the permission from BAA or let alone BNSC to have a meeting with Amos,” he noted.  Meanwhile in 2019, BAA sent a strong team of 13 athletes, with five focused on individual categories, while others were to form part of relay team.

During that time two out of five athletes who were to represent this country within individual events were relegated to spectators owing to injuries. But the injuries on the two athletes had left one question on the lips of many within the athletics fraternity.

The duo of Nigel Amos and Galefele Moroko, who were undoubtedly team Botswana poster kids, saw their dream of sailing through in the competitions halted as they were forced out of tournament owing to injuries. Botswana eventually came home empty handed after failing to secure podium finish.

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Rollers should pay the price – Zackhem

28th June 2022
NICOLAS-ZAKHEM

Botswana Football League (BFL) Chairperson Nicholas Zackem who is also a Gaborone United financier and director says Township Rollers should instead of being a hard-nut be remorseful on the Onkarabile Ratanang marathon case.

In an interview with WeekendSport this week, Zackhem says he has always had a good relationship with his Township Rollers counterpart, Jagdish Shah. However things took a nasty turn early this year when it surfaced that their left back Onkarabile Ratanang was not registered accordingly.

Again, the Rollers home game against GU played in February which resulted in a near stampede left him agitated such that Rollers should learn a lesson. “So with all these I think they should be remorseful and stop being militant,” he said.

His contention is, “this is recurring and with only one team – Rollers. Remember what happened in 2014 when BDF X1 was leading the log and they were docked points which in turn allowed Rollers to win.”  In 2016 there was Ofentse Nato (Rollers player) saga where he was also not duly registered and now we are here again with Ratanang. This should be corrected to better our football.”

The Ratanang case has been dragging for months now and has created unnecessary chaos in local football. Of late the football league awards ceremony had to be postponed with those in the know saying it is because of the matter. A statement from BFL however says the postponement is a result of logistical challenges.

The BFL boss says he does not care what should happen to Rollers, which is arguably the most followed football team in the land. “Even if the relevant structure could fine the P100k or relegate or even be docked points I don’t care but I want them to respect football. My worry is they should be disciplined because they committed a heartfelt mistake.”

Some football commentators say there is high possibility of Rollers be axed from the elite league because they are facing a misconduct charge which means they can only plea for a lighter sentence like points docking.

When asked about reports of some players from other teams not registered accordingly just like Ratanang, Zackhem said it will be up to the relevant structures to decide because as far as he is concerned, the Rollers case is the only one that has been reported at Botswana Football Association (BFA).

ZAC ON BRIBING REFEREES

The 2021/22 football season was exciting but here and there it was blotted by allegations which were pointed at Zackhem himself as the league Chair of buying referees. He has vehemently dismissed those reports and rumours saying the current GU arsenal does not need any favors.

“We invested heavily on this team and if you have invested surely you are poised to win everything on offer. Look at the players that I have do you think I would need referees to win matches? Most of the players have also been called to the national team and that alone proves their mettle. I don’t remember the last time GU was awarded a penalty this season, it has been a team work and those referee talk is baseless.”

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My dream is to coach at national level – Mpatane

28th June 2022
ELEVEN-ANGELS-HEAD-COACH: SEEMO-MPATANE

“I am a dreamer and perseverance is my name because after writing my Cambridge examinations a few years ago, I grouped young footballers in Francistown and started a youthful unregistered football team with them.

It was a difficult thing to do because the players were students and parents were not letting some of them to play football as they believed it might negatively affect their studies and some of the big clubs in the elite league will come and take my players.”

This is how Seemo ‘Sixteen’ Mpatane, a coach and founder of Eleven Angels football club which gained promotion to the elite league last weekend describe himself and the journey thus far. Barely two weeks ago, Mochudi Center chiefs failed to pluck Angels’ wings when they hosted them at Riverplate grounds during the first leg of the Botswana Football league promotional playoffs but this past Saturday Angels soared to a 5 – 0 win over them to reach the promised land.

The win meant Lekgamu la Bananyana (youthful side) as they affectionately known will now make a debut appearance at the apex of local league football. For a match characterized by a long stoppage time following clashes between Angels and Chiefs supporters, it was Angels who showed more battle to convincingly beat Chiefs and attain promotion.

Nevertheless, Mpatane said, “I continued to coach my team even when I was still studying at Botswana Accountancy College (BAC) in Francistown and it was a difficult journey because I had some school projects to do and I will divert my monthly allowance to some of my players; to feed them, provide transportation for them and also to buy them soccer boots,” he stated.

In 2013, he says, he decided to register the team officially with Botswana Football Association (BFA) in order to protect the players from other teams and to make income out of the team.
He further said Lekgamu La Bananyana started in Third Division league when they got position one and gained automatic promotion to Second Division league although it was only their first season to play there.

“We struggled at Second Division because I had inexperienced youthful players and had limited resources like transportation, soccer boots and most of our players were sitting for their examinations, but we managed to avoid relegation as we finished in position four,” he alluded.

In 2017/18 season, he said the team won the Second Division League and qualified for the Debswana First Division North playoffs. During the playoffs, the team represented Francistown region, against other three teams from other regions, to be precise Chobe United, Maun Terrors and White Diamond from Boteti region.

In addition, the young tactician managed to produce quality players like Norman Mabaya who plays for Orapa united, Doctor David and Fortunate Thulare of Jwaneng Galaxy and Molaodi Tlhalefang of Security Systems who went and made their caps at the senior national team.

“I achieved one of my dreams; that is to take my team to the elite league and I’m left with one that is coaching at national level and I think after getting my license I will be ready to lead under 17, 20, 23 and even the national team cause it just requires humility, love, perseverance and commitment, but right I can offer my services cause football is in the heart,” he said.

Mpatane revealed his intention is to see more of his players participating at national level and overseas, as this week Zebras interim coach Mogomotsi Mpote called the 18-year-old Monty Enosa to be part of Zebras team which will compete for COSAFA tournament that is set to kick off next month.

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