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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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Sport

Rakgare addresses BFA presidential candidates

21st September 2020
Minister Tumiso Rakgare

Amid the confusion surrounding the date of the Botswana Football Association (BFA) elections, the Minister of Youth Empowerment, Sport and Culture Development, Tumiso Rakgare, met with three presidential candidates on Thursday morning to discuss a plethora of problems bedevilling the domestic game.

The candidates are Maclean Letshwiti, the current President, Tebogo Sebego, the firm challenger of the BFA throne, together with Ookeditse Malesu who enters the race for the first time in his sporting career. There were other two unnamed officials who are said to be representatives from the sport ministry.

The Sport minister is said to have adopted a hard-nosed approach to register his disappointment and worry that the uncertainty of the upcoming elections have injured the administration of the local game.

Highly placed sources at the Sport ministry say that the minister’s ‘no gloves barred’ approach comes at the behest of the BFA’s constant negative headlines regarding their leadership style as of going into the elections.

It is said that Rakgare was also worried that the current administration is keeping the other two camps in the dark regarding the planning and processes bordering on election issues. This, he said has led to unnecessary speculations and back biting that is not needed to lift the game at a time when it is on its knees.

He was to rattle a few feathers at one incident when he called all the three leaders of the game to put their houses in order. As if that was not enough, the minister called on the three lobby groups to desist from serving personal interests but put focus on developing the game.

Interestingly, sources point out that the minister was livid but urged both Letshwiti and Sebego groups to refrain from tarnishing the good image of the ministry. This, he said in response to wide ranging allegations that he is taking sides as campaigns are ongoing.

The Sebego group accuses him of de campaigning Sebego and having a soft spot for Team Letshwiti while the same Letshwiti group is saying the same thing about the minister as having taking curious interest in Sebego camp.

The minister is alleged to have told the leaders that if they do not change their leadership style of protecting those looting public funds, his ministry would intervene even if it means attracting the wrath of FIFA, which is known for its notorious sanctions when countries do not toe the line. He urges BFA to be accountable at all the times they will cut the annual subventions that goes to them, sources claim.

This is not for the first time that the BFA was lectured on good governance. At one incident in 2015, former Minster of Sport Thapelo Olopeng dressed down the then Tebogo Sebego leadership regarding good governance.

BFA was at the time closely monitored by the ministry. Instead of the usual transactions that normally go through BFA, national team players received their allowances straight from government in the form of cheques. To demonstrate that government has taken a firm stand against BFA, players’ allowances were no longer routed through the association.

Nobody from the said meeting will address this publication enquiry all indicating that the consultation is never meant for public consumption.

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Sport

Virtual meet for BFA elections

21st September 2020
Malesu

If everything goes according to plan, the Botswana Football Association (BFA) will hold its annual general assembly next month through a virtual conference.

There has been much uncertainty as to how and when the congress will be held seeing as how COVID-19 protocols remain stringent on gatherings.

Sources speaking with this publication say the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the association has agreed to hold the congress within COVID-19 zones, consequently dispelling all the lingering doubts surrounding the life and soul of the assembly.

As it stands, there are nine COVID -19 zones in Botswana. The association is therefore contemplating to rely within four zones where live streaming will take centre stage for the first time in the history of BFA elections.

The congress was first billed for August 8th but was postponed to August 22nd. However, the second date could not see the light of the day as the country recorded a second rise of coronavirus cases that promptly led to greater Gaborone going into yet another lockdown.
BFA President: Letshwiti
The association has been procrastinating over the virtual congress idea with the election agenda remaining a sticky issue. Many advices came flooding that the association is free to make any decision about the congress but should be very careful not to compromise the integrity of the vote.

Sources indicate to this paper that the association is likely to rely on four COVID-19 zones, namely Gaborone, Francistown, Jwaneng and Palapye. The need to plant the meeting on virtual technologies hinges on the fact that the COVID -19 health protocols do not permit people to cross zones to hold meetings.

Information gleaned from various sources is that the association is looking to rely on four zones primarily because of the limited number of personnel under the electoral board. There are five members consisting of this committee and by the look of things; the association will not be allowed to outsource more election overseers at the eleventh hour.  Sources argue that the whole cautious exercise is meant to avoid complaints that may arise after elections are held.

The virtual meeting comes after many failed attempts by the association to convince the Kereng Masupu led Task Force to give out a special dispensation.  On many occasions, the Task Force refused to allow for the assembly to go on saying “football is not a priority.”

The assembly is expected to be held next month but the exact date still remains a subject of speculation. In the end, Tebogo Sebego will stand again for the second time to unseat Maclean Letshwiti while Ookeditse Malesu is standing for the first time to try and wrestle for BFA power.

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Sport

Talks to merge BNOC, BNSC resurface

14th September 2020
BNOC,BNSC merge

The Minister of Youth Empowerment, Sport and Culture Development, Tumiso Rakgare, is eager to lead crunch talks that will consequently see Botswana National Sport Commission (BNSC) and Botswana National Olympic Committee (BNOC) becoming one authoritative sport entity.

The appointment of one Tuelo Serufho to the plum position of BNSC Chief Executive Officer two week ago has further catalysed the intention to merge the sports bodies to avoid the long standing complaints of duplication of roles by the two.

Serufho was replacing Falcom Sedimo whose contract was not renewed.Serufho, ironically is the longest serving CEO of BNOC and also a board member of BNSC.“One of our aims is to form a robust sport body to centralize and improve decision making processes and maybe the time to resuscitate BNSC/BNOC merger is now,” Rakgare briefly shared.

The impending move is highly meant to improve effective functioning, governance and performance of sports in the country both locally and globally.Should this see the light of day, Botswana would have done itself a favour and it would start sending a handful of athletes to international competitions.

The amalgamation of BNSC/BNOC talks have been in the pipelines but discussions were aborted two years ago without clear reasons. The creation of this all-encompassing sport institution is overdue according to the minister.

“It is in fact our mandate to make sure this happens, it is overdue and by next year we hope to have finalised our position paper,” Rakgare added.The creation of the looming body is borne out of lessons learnt from various sports governance models around the world.

In South Africa, the sports ministry facilitated discussions to merge National Olympic Committee of South Africa (NOCSA) and the South African Sports Commission. Their authoritative sports body is now called South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC).

With the South African model well in place, Botswana is urged to bench mark and create a sport body as a civic society-based organisation as required by the statutes of international sports bodies.The name of the local sport body is mooted and the minister refused to give a hint. But he is optimistic that the body will be the vanguard organization of sport in the country.

He emphasized that the sports organisation should be a purposeful guardian for governance and management of sports and be the required defining figure of the role of sports in Botswana’s communities.Talks to revamp and rebuild these sports bodies come at a time when BNSC is restructuring.

When Sedimo was still at the helm, he wanted to phase out some positions which he felt were unnecessary.BNSC receive close to 53 million Pula as grants from the government through the Ministry of Youth, Sports development and Culture empowerment while BNOC takes a figure a closer to that.

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