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Battle to succeed Olopeng intensifies

Debswana First Division North Chairman, Eatametse Olopeng

With only two games before the Debswana First Division North curtain closes and the current Chairman, Eatametse Olopeng, bids it farewell, lobby lists have already been drafted to see who will succeed the man who has transformed northern football since assuming office seven years ago.

Although initially it appeared that the faction dominated by the current executive committee members will not be challenged, Weekendsport sources reveal the opposite. The confirmed team seeking to take the hot seat of the trouble torn first division north is led by businessman, Mpenzeni Sambandawe assisted by new addition in Vice Chairman, Marks Gwakuba and additional member Kebarileng Ntwaetsile. The rest of the members are the incumbent in their respective portfolios.

‘Samba’ as the Francistown business mogul is fondly called, poses neither a decorated nor a shallow football background. He played for Police XI before administering at FC Satmos as mouthpiece. He then joined the regional football committees before entering first division as an additional member. In their manifesto they preach that they should mend the relationship with Botswana Football Association (BFA).

The connection between the two has been frosty which led to the suspension of Olopeng a while ago. “We will have to talk to BFA so they help us with the office because we are struggling with our filing system which often leads to improper handing over,” Sambandawe told this publication.

Sambandawe and his team however shouldn’t rest on their laurels but intensify their campaigns. Information revealed to this paper shows that there is another team that is being covertly assembled and led by the Great North Tigers Chairman, Thebeetsile Motswaing. For Vice Chairman they have Maun Tigers Chairman, Lebogang Dikole, Keitumetse Dijeng as the Secretary General while Samuel Molatlhegi is a candidate for the treasure post, other three members are still “witch hunted” which makes it difficult for them to come out. This has tempted many to liken the battle to a wrestling match. Motswaing who was part of Olopeng’s team that won the election in 2009, is a former treasurer for the northern first division and has been manager of GNT even before they were promoted to the premier league some years ago.

As for the former FC Satmos media liaison, Samba, he is currently manning his transport and suppliers office in Francistown, something which is a plus for him as northern football needs sponsors. “He is a good guy. He is always around watching the games and there could be cohesion from the past committee because he was there. Besides we need sponsors and with his connection with the corporate world I am optimistic that yes we can,” Bashi Joseph Chairman, of Sowa Flamingoes said.

The two camps apart from their won objectives have a tough task ahead -of maintaining the image of the division which has been hailed as the best. The northern division for the past three seasons has promoted six teams to the elite league, something which has created a balance in the premiership as it is made eight teams from either side. “As for Samba he is weak and can’t have control for the often stubborn EX CO and again he can’t take independent decisions.” Neutral observers continue to say, “ Motswaisi’s only undoing is the temper, sometimes he fails to control it such that he makes dreadful decisions; besides they are all fit to lead the committee.”

The campaigns are expected to intensify until the d-day that is expected to be sometimes after the promotional play-offs.

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It’s do or die for Zebras

28th March 2023

The senior national team, the Zebras, is currently in Equatorial Guinea to for an African Cup of Nations Qualifiers tie. Before they departed, the team’s coach, Mogomotsi Mpote, had his troops train in Morocco. This was through the agreement between the two countries.

The agreement between the BFA and the Fédération Moroccan Football Association states that the two nations will work together to organize friendly matches between their respective national teams. It also allows the establishment of football camps for the youth categories (U-15, U-17, and U-20), this includes women’s national teams.

The national team has played over 180 minutes in its two qualifying matches against Tunisia and Libya. Currently, the Zebras, Lesotho and Liberia are the only teams that haven’t scored yet in the competition (this is correct by press time on Friday).

Before the match against Equatorial Guinea match, the local boys who were once known as the whipping boys of Africa in the early 2000s, were languishing at the bottom of the log standings in group J. They lost their first match away to Libya on June 1, 2022. However, they managed to salvage a point against Tunisia last year.

Before the team left for Equatorial Guinea, coach Mpote urged his players to focus on keeping their hopes of making a return trip to the AFCON finals alive after an 11 year absence since the maiden appearance in 2012. He noted that they would not allow their opponents to score and would ensure that they would get a draw.

Despite the various changes that have occurred in the two countries’ football landscape, the two teams have only met once before. In 2010, the local boys defeated the Equatorial Guinea team in a friendly match, which ended in an emphatic win for the visitors. Since then, the two sides have realised different fortunes in FIFA rankings, with Equatorial Guinea ranked 51 places above the Zebras.

Meanwhile, in their last six games, Guinea has only managed to win one of them. They drew with Rwanda and Togo in September 2022 friendlies. They have found the back of the net just twice in their six games. On the other hand, the Zebras, won one match against Zambia and lost four on their way to finishing at the bottom of the group with four points. At the conclusion of their previous AFCON campaign, the local boys traveled to Zambia and secured a draw.


Despite the recent results of the Guinean team, which have only managed to draw with Rwanda and Togo in their last six matches, coach Mpote is still confident that his team will perform well against the hosts.

According to the head coach, the local boys have the necessary skills and resources to perform well against any country. He noted that the team’s coaches have been studying abroad to gain a deeper understanding of the various aspects of football.

“Tactically they should also be ready. We need your (Botswana fans) usual support, when we come back from Equatorial Guinea, we will go to Francistown, and we will need you. You are our 12th player, and you are very important to us.”


This week, the Botswana National Sports Commission (BNSC) Tuelo Serufho revealed that the Obed Itani Chilume Stadium will host the return leg of the Africa Cup of Nations qualifier between the local boys and Equatorial Guinea. The venue had initially failed an inspection test conducted by the Confederation of African Football (CAF). However, following the completion of the necessary works, the stadium was allowed to host the match.

According to BNSC Chief, Tuelo Serufho, the various requirements that the stadium must meet included having a designated parking area for the media and spectators, as well as having signage that will guide the spectators. He also noted that the venue now has a world-class media area.

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Jagdish Shah rejects Rollers society

27th March 2023

Township Rollers, one of the country’s most decorated football clubs with 15 premier league titles, is finding itself in a precarious situation as its long-term chief financier, Jagdish Shah, threatens to dump them if the society does not bow down to his demand of forfeiting their 20 percent interest in the company.

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Orange injects P350 000 into Phikwe marathon

21st March 2023

Mobile network Orange Botswana is committed to supporting the development of local sport. Through its sponsorship, the company will be able to promote and market the sport. According to Maano Masisi, the company believes that sport can unite people from different backgrounds.

He stated that through the sponsorship of the marathon, the company will help promote healthy lifestyles and unity among the people of Selebi Phikwe.

The Selebi Phikwe Marathon is scheduled to take place on July 29, 2023. It is expected that it will attract international, regional, and social runners. A total of P216 000 has been allocated for the prize money for the first ten places in the 42.2 km race. For the 15km and 10km races, the LOC will give away prizes to the first five places.

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