Despite the comical series witnessed last weekend when Botswana Athletics Association (BAA) family recycled the same faces to rescue the code from drowning further into muddy waters, affiliates and their leadership now appear to be signing from the same hymn book.
Since February there has been a suffocating stench of power struggle at the association which left the committee limping. This followed the resignations of four Executive Committee (EXCO) members. A quick fix saw the BAA fill in for the four deserted positions, and affiliates have since asked the association’s leadership to put their house in order.
Affiliates have revealed what they want the new committee to prioritize as they begin to hit the ground running. Interestingly, it appears even the leadership is rocking the same boat with the clubs as all the leadership has marked all the key areas of action in their urgent list. At the top of their do list is the constitution conundrum, which despite filling of the four positions last weekend, proves to be a thorny matter. At last weekend elections, BAA decided to use the new constitution, shelving the old version which has been in use.
The new constitution however directs that there should be three Vice Presidents while other positions like Treasurer and PRO are not enshrined but both posts have been included in the new committee. “This is just a compromise committee which will have to sit down and clearly follow the new establishment,” Oabona Theetso of Jwaneng Athletics Club advised. The impromptu elections, according to some, were coerced by threats from the Botswana Sports Commission (BNSC). The BNSC had said it will place the BAA under administration should issues not be resolved.
“Our constitution is a major problem and we have given ourselves 60 days to address it, then we will meet with the affiliates on the way forward,” said Kenneth Kikwe, the BAA vice president. It is said there is a taskforce sent to meet BNSC to engage it on the whole structure of the BAA which was formulated by the Commission. The Thari Mooketsi led association, is also tasked with bringing sponsors to the sport which normally hoist the nation’s flag high at international events.
The association has been struggling to convince the business community to partner ever since Senn Foods pulled out some years back. The Senn Foods withdrawal has somehow been ascribed to lack of confidence by the corporate world on the association that is continuously rocked by scandals. “What I can assure you of is we will get back to them especially those that have in the past partnered with us because we have a good relationship with them and I guess looking at athletics they will be eager to work with us,” Kikwe said.
Clubs are concerned about the lack of incentives at the BAA hosted events especially the national championships. “It is difficult to have big athletes competing in the competitions because they want to be beautifully rewarded and you can’t give them P1000 for coming here,” added a chairperson from another club.
With Kikwe as the VP tasked with technical development for the association, affiliates are confident that the Orapa Athletics Club man will lead them to the Promised Land. “The last time we had coaching clinics was 10 years ago, our coaches are not that technically sound, we are just doing trial an error and with Kikwe there, I’m confident that he will work on it,” Theetso who is also a coach said.
His plea has not fallen on deaf ears: “That’s true, we have funds for development which will have to use. Right now I have asked the regional coordinators to give me the number of coaches, those whom are qualified and unqualified so we at least have one coaching course this year,” Kikwe said on Thursday morning. He further added that they will ensure that they strengthen the coaching commission which will be tasked with national team selection and analysis of the athletes. The new committee is expected to meet with the affiliates after some months for update on the ‘life in the office.’
The Botswana national boxing team recently returned from the zone 4 championship held in Mozambique. The team was led by head coach Thebe Setlalekgosi, two assistant coaches, Gibson Rauwe and Pearl Mooketsi. Two referees and judges, Gaseitsewe Ponatshego and Linda Mooketsi.
In the women’s category, Lethabo Modukanele was representing Botswana in the 48 kg division, while Phekie Bele and Sadie Kenosi were competing in the 57 kg and 60 kg categories, respectively. In the men’s category, Kobamelo Molatlhegi was representing the country in the 52 kg division, while Rajab Mahomed was competing in the under 51 kg category.George Molwantwa was competing for under 57 kg category and Treasure Moremi was competing for under 60kg category.
The boxers came home with seven medals, Modukanele came home with a gold medal, Kenosi, Rajab, Molatlhegi all came home with silver medals. While Moremi, Molwantwa and Phekie Bele all came home with bronze medals.
According to Moitshepi Nkabiti, the public relations officer of the Botswana Boxing Association, the team performed well and that they were hoping that Rajab would also bring home a gold medal. However, due to an eye injury, he could not participate in the finals.
He stated that, “though some people might think that how our team performed is not an achievement it is a big achievement to us. Other countries came with 19 boxers while we only came with our seven boxers, and they all came back with medals. That is something that we have to be proud of I really commend them for their performance. Having 5 players making it to the finals is really a blessing and we should not take it for granted.”
According to Nkabiti, Botswana was ranked fourth in the zone 4 championship, which was held in Mozambique. Other countries that participated in the tournament included South Africa, Zambia, Eswatini, and Seychelles. They all had a total of 19 boxers. Lesotho also had eight boxers.
The first Mascom Charity Cup spectacular has come and gone. The football event played at Obed Itani Chilume Stadium saw four football clubs playing one-day tourney with various charity centres being beneficiaries of the gate takings.
While the attendance was not at the expected level, it is said that the sponsor has made a killing with close to P500 000 made from voting lines. Football followers were asked to vote for teams of their choice, and top four clubs were eligible to play. A single sms voting line cost P 1.50.
Gaborone United became the most voted team with 62 984 votes followed by Security Systems with 51 027. On the third spot was BDF XI with 48 596 votes while Orapa United came forth with 44 401. Shockingly, Township Rollers did not make it after gathering a total of 30 637 votes, with BR Highlanders ahead of them having seen 44 204 votes to their name.
It is said, however that, the initiative live to expectation as clubs together with the sponsor have managed to assist charities of their choices. Mascom is believed to be happy for identifying beneficiaries and getting value for their money.
The mobile network company is still the longest standing partners of local football, having first tasted waters in 2005. The company now powers the Top 8 competition and said to have renewed the dame sponsorship at a value not exceeding 18 million. The Mascom Charity Cup was not the first to be hosted by a mobile network company.
In 2018, Botswana Telecommunications Corporation (BTC) hosted a similar event in which followers had to vote. The four participating teams were Mochudi Center Chiefs, Gaborone United, Orapa United and Township Rollers. GU were the eventual winners.
It is however not clear if the tournament will continue in the next football calendar, but what goes down into the history books is that Teenage Mpote and Orapa United were the first to win it. In previous years, there have been an off season tournament whose aim was meant for charity purposes. The tourney was called Kabelano Charity Cup and was usually played by four big teams (Rollers, Notwane, GU and Chiefs) without taking the voting routes. It was last hosted in 2015 and had Barclays as the sponsors.
Yet another thrilling showdown is expected between the country’s hottest strikers, Thabang Sesinyi of Jwaneng Galaxy and Thataoyaone Kgamanyane of Gaborone United, as the duo are eyeing for the 2021/2022 Golden boot.
With only four Botswana Premier League (BPL) games left, the race for the honours is rolling towards a thrilling climax, but for two individuals there is a race for an accolade of their own taking place that could easily go down to the final minutes of the season. Leading the pack with 19 goals is Jwaneng Galaxy talisman, Sesinyi who is one goal apart from Kgamanyane who has netted 18 goals thus far.
Both players have their eye on the golden boot, hoping that their respective teams have fixtures to put them in with a realistic chance of catching up, or leaving the other behind. The Money Machine is currently at the summit of the BPL log with 61 points while the mining giant, Galaxy are trailing on the third place with 49 points, having played 24 games thus far.
Both teams (GU and Galaxy) are expected to face each other towards the end of the season, as the initial fixture was postponed due to Galaxy’s involvement in CAF championship group stages. With 19 goals chalked up for the season so far, Sesinyi is just one goal away from Kgamanyane who led the race for the better part of the campaign. Sesinyi who is on freakish scoring form has scored four goals in his last two games; a hat trick against Prisons XI and a goal against Sua Flamingoes in the midweek fixture.
But there is no doubt that Sesinyi is no longer playing to carry his team, Galaxy, as realistically there is a slim chance for them to clinch the 2021/2022 season, but he is eyeing the Golden Boot Award when the league falls off.
Kgamanyane has begun the season in tremendous form; scoring every time he is given a chance, while Sesinyi, on the other hand, reached the peak of his form in the second round of the season; scoring both in the domestic league and also on the CAF Champions’ league group stage. He featured on team of the week on February.
Furthermore, the Money Machine attacker showed some growth as his conversion rate has been on a rising graph in the games he has so far played. Although Kgamanyane’s goal scoring prowess has been there for everyone to see, the player has been hampered by injuries. It promises to be a fascinating battle between the duo.
Meanwhile, BPL this week announced that they will hold the 2021/2022 awards. The league has since added seven new categories to take the total number of categories to 16. Among some new categories are the Defender of the Season and Midfielder of the Season awards. There are also two more awards for the administrators, as the league has included Team Manager of the Season and the Public Relations Officer (PRO) of the Season awards.
The best performing players in this campaign will be included in the Premier League Best XI. Nevertheless, match day officials have also been recognised with the introduction of two more categories in the young Referee of the Season and the Female Referee of the Season. Furthermore, BFL CEO Solomon Ramochotlhwane indicated that the awards will be held on the 25 June 2022, just after the 2021-2022 season comes to an end.