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Nigel relocates to America

After enduring a pitiable 2016 and the first quarter of 2017 which saw him omitted from the 4x400m relay team representing Botswana at the ongoing IAAF World Relays in Bahamas, Nigel Amos is expected to jet off to the United States of America anytime from now to kickstart preparations for the 2017 World Championships slated for August in London.


The nomadic runner was previously based in South Africa under the tutelage of Jan Verster, but later came back home to be mentored by Mogomotsi Otsetswe before a short stint in Kenya. According to sources, Amos could have long made the journey to Uncle Sam after penning a new deal with his personal sponsors, Nike, after the Rio Olympics, but the then Botswana Athletics Association (BAA) leadership blocked the move.


It is said the argument by then was that the 800m runner should polish his running talents in one of the African countries renowned for crafting long distance athletes, precisely Ethiopia, however he later went to Kenya to ready for the World Championships. The new BAA committee led by Mooketsi Thari is aiming to clean the mess left by their predecessors and has already started the process – they are adamant that Nigel should go to America. Further they don’t want any flaws that will rub Nike, which is also the technical sponsor of the association, the wrong way. In America the runner will be under the guidance of one of the highly rated coaches, who according to BAA, will ensure that the runner notches his maiden medal at the World Champs.  


At the time of going to press, BAA Sport Development Officer (SDO) Gable Garenamotse, was yet to meet with the runner to discuss the nitty gritty of the deal, “I’m still awaiting him,” he said and added, “We will talk about the trip and obviously understand his challenges and how we can assist especially on the build up to the World Championships.”


The World champ medal has eluded the runner on two occasions; he was injured in 2013 when he was only 19 years old and had expected to continue his fairytale following that historic night in 2012. In 2015, Amos stumbled at the semi-finals, a development that left many commentators reading complacency on the athlete’s part. However, Amos who is occupying position nine in the all time leading times of 800m after clocking 1:41:73 at the 2012 London Olympics hopes to notch the medal at the his lucky hunting ground in August.


But will USA really Amos?


The prospect of Nigel relocating to America has nonetheless divided opinions as some believe it is the right development move while others want him to remain in Botswana. America, renowned for producing exceptional sprinters is seen as a perfect springboard for the athlete in his ambition. “I believe America is okay for the boy, the country is coming up well in 800m because they have for long time dominated the sprints so they want to widen their capacity. So the boy will reap more by going there,” Coach Justice Dipeba said.


However there is another belief that the runner should remain home if he wants to achieve better, “as his best performance was when he trained in Botswana. Ever since moving outside he’s been a shadow of himself,” said an administrator who cannot be named. The worry that engulfs many is that the athlete could be destructed by other things hence he may never recover on the field of play.


The relocation to America is expected to help the athlete compete in all the IAAF Diamond League meets for this year. The last time Amos took part in the league was in 2014 when his superlative performance saw him set records and he also put a genuine challenge against the 800m race king, David Rudisha in Monaco. The first meet of the season will be in Doha, Qatar on the 15th of next month and it will end in Brussels, Belgium on the 1st of September.


GC International meets next weekend


Meanwhile the eagerly awaited Gaborone International Meet is on next weekend. The Meet which is still in the process of being turned into a Diamond League meet has attracted top athletes from various countries and as the preparations suggest, it will be an event not to be missed. All the athletes that are representing this country in Bahamas will take part with an interesting contest between Karabo Sibanda/ Baboloki Thebe and Amantle Montsho/ Lydia Jele expected. Entrance to the event will be P50 and with top athletes continue to honor the meet. The national stadium is likely to see a capacity crowd.

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Dambe, Tsotso dump Zebras

12th April 2021

Remnant of the historic Africa Cup of Nations squad of 2012, Mogakolodi ‘Tsotso’ Ngele and Botswana’s first-choice goal keeper, Kabelo Dambe, will never embody the future of the Zebras as long as Adel Amrouche is at the helm, WeekendSport has established.

The duo made this confession in the squad secret WhatsApp group seen by this publication, expressing concern and antipathy about playing for the squad heavily polarised by the coach.

It turns out that the coach has players he favours and prefers, many of who appear in the starting line-up as a long lasting promise to be signed under his stable. The aim is to ultimately recruit them to far flung clubs and earn a commission.

Ngele who remains the only player to have scored the Zebras goal (in open play) at the 2012 edition has endured a rocky affair with the coach.

Not much has been established as to why the affair is in tatters but sources claim that it stretched to a point where Amrouche confronted Ngele’s former coaches at Black Leopards to discuss possible options of side-lining him. The idea was to frustrate the player and kill his confidence as the only player Zebras looked up to.

Ngele, under former coach Peter Butler, was named the squad captain but under Amrouche, he has played cameo roles in World Cup and AFCON qualifiers. Ngele has made three appearances and came once as a substitute in all the 10 games Amrouche managed.

Ngele was hoping for his own great leap forward in an effort to end his nightmare and play for the Zebras especially after earning playing time with his new club, Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivhandila.

Do this day, Ngele has made more than 35 appearances for the Zebras since earning his debut in 2009. Away from The Zebras stage, Ngele made significant contributions at Platinum Stars, the first team he signed his professional contract with. In 67 games, he scored 19 times.

Amrouche’s insistency and promise to make a loud impact in this year’s qualifiers did not bear fruit. Part of the blame is shoved on Township Rollers stopper, Kabelo Dambe. He is accused to have failed to stand strong for Zebras and shipped in simpler goals that cost the team to book a flight to Cameroon next year.

A goal against Algeria on home soil and a goal by Zimbabwe last month could have never gone through had he positioned himself better, critics claim.

Dambe who has more than 44 caps and played all Zebras games under Amrouche feels hard done and had hoped the coach and the nation would protect him. He feels the ambition of the country to qualify mirrors a tomorrow that could never come because of his mistakes.

Botswana Football Association (BFA) General Manager of National Teams, Monnakgotla Mojaki when pressed for interview failed to provide details about the future of the two stars.

He expressed concern that he was never hands on when the squad played the qualifiers. This according to Mojaki, was the case because the coach had barred him from mingling with the players.

“I am sorry I cannot assist you with anything, I know nothing and remember I have not spoken to anybody since I was asked not to come to camp,” he shared.

Both Dambe and Ngele are not only equally unhappy but are also equal in age; both are 30 years and have played for Platinum Stars at one point in their careers.

However, there is information to the effect that the duo made a promise to return one day, and that is when the coach has parted company with the association.

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Sport

Galaxy star wants out

12th April 2021

Lebogang Ditsile has begun to cast fresh doubts over his future as a Jwaneng Galaxy player. The hard tackling midfielder has handed the club management a transfer request amid rumours linking him with Gaborone United.

This week, the industrious player gave Galaxy an ultimatum -to either improve his contract benefits or let him go- this comes after a decision was taken to offer the whole team pay cuts amid the corona virus pandemic.

Galaxy has arrived at a conclusion of giving each player P3000 until a time football returns to the field.Ditsile, one of the club’ highest paid players is certainly restless and would not want to entertain a second thought over his future.

Galaxy on the other hand is feeling distraught over GU’s constant communication with the player, and are also aggrieved that the Nikholas Zakhem powered team wants to prize away their asset. Ditsile’s contract does not expire until June of 2022.

The situation is not yet explosive but it is believed to have gotten under Ditsile’s skin and it is threatening to turn ugly. Ditsile apparently is the best thing ever to happen to Galaxy and to leave them at this point will surely be a great loss that could take some time for the club to recover.

However, GU is busy making their move for their long-time target and the enterprising midfielder is said to be determined to complete the transfer before the season begins. It is said the player wants to play football without hustles, which Galaxy cannot promise at the present moment, and the allure of GU will certainly prove too much to stay from.

The team led and directed by Zakhem is reported to have promised ‘Tally’ a mouth-watering contract should he voluntarily terminate. It is however noted that GU cannot risk buying the player who is still on a running contract.

It is believed that Ditsile recognises GU as one of the country’s leading clubs, capable of competing for the grandest prizes. In the event of joining GU, Ditsile would have fulfilled his dream of playing for a rich paying club.

He has enjoyed his years at Galaxy, where he is feted by the supporters, but feels that the time is right to move on. It is impossible to dispute the value and service that he has given to the club, with last season being his best.

The fan-favourite, who has had an on and off relationship with the national team, is still held by the terms of his contract while discussions between his agent are continuing behind closed doors.

Those close to developments mention that Ditsile is yet to be shocked by the stubborn position held by the Galaxy; but the club will surely hate losing such a prized possession to their fiercest rivals.

The Galaxy management has a reputation of being tough negotiators but for Ditsile, the offer from GU is one that should be impossible to refuse.On the other hand, GU are mindful of the tactics often displayed by Botswana players.

They have a tendency of bargaining through rival clubs so as to increase salary or force the management to act swiftly.

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Sport

Panic ahead of women champions’ league

12th April 2021

The absence of women national league in the country has caused anxiety and alarm at Botswana Football Association (BFA) secretariat. PIC: Soccer Laduma

This is the case because the inaugural COSAFA women champions’ league is about to kick start and BFA is expected to send the name of the team that will represent the country.

As things stand, the association is caught between a rock and a hard place because they are unable to determine the deserving team. The reality facing the association is because its women nation-wide league has never been played since the first corona virus case was registered in March of 2020.

However, the association has devised a plan and a model to opt for a team that will participate in the tournament to be held between November and December of this year. The play offs are expected to commence in August.

BFA has therefore called for an expression of interest from clubs to select the most deserving team.The expression of interest, according to BFA, should cover the club’s financial viability and ability to honour its games (both home and away) without fail. According to findings, the club will need a minimum of P100 00 to play a telling role.

It is therefore highly unlikely that BFA will find a women’s team enjoying such financial freedom. In any case, the association will be forced to offer financial assistance.Township Rollers, Mexican girls and Double Action are the few teams that can possibly be selected, but a huge question mark hangs over their financial disposition.

One other thing needed through the expression of interest is the current books of accounts which will definitely show that the club has been operating. BFA is of the view that this is important because it will help in showing the financial progression of the team.

“We are very pleased with how these events were organized under very difficult circumstances,” COSAFA General Secretary, Sue Destombes said in a statement.

“We take what we learnt in Nelson Mandela Bay into our planning for 2021. We have a full calendar of tournaments at this stage. We are hopeful we will be able to stage them all, even in these most challenging times.

The highlight must be the introduction of the regional Women’s Champions League, which will be a zonal qualifier for the new CAF Women’s Champions League which is coming later this year,” she further shared.

 

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