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Mascom Top 8 Preview: Who will reach the final?

The Mascom Top 8 semi-final draw conducted this week pitted archi-rivals Mochudi Centre Chiefs and Township Rollers against each other in highly anticipated two-legged encounters.

While minnows, BDF XI and Orapa United will face each other in the second semi-final to determine who face either Chiefs or Rollers in the final expected to be played for the first time in Francistown.

Perhaps the most fascinating phenomenon about the four teams which reached the Mascom Top semi-finals is the fact that all teams are currently occupying the top four positions in the beMOBILE Premiership log standings. No team has reached the last for by fluke, as the league standing corroborates.  

Although they may not publicly admit, Chiefs would not have wished to face their arch-rivals in the semi-final stage, given that the Kgatleng based outfit is yet to win the prestigious top 8 competition since its introduction in 2012.

Meanwhile Rollers has done particularly well in this tournament after reaching three finals, though emerging as victorious only on one occasion. Rollers won the inaugural Mascom Top 8 edition in 2012, beating Ecco City Green 3-1 in an exciting encounter at University of Botswana Stadium.

The most successful team in Mascom Top 8 competition is Gaborone United having won twice. United beat BDF XI 2-1 in the 2013 final under the guidance of Major David Bright, with Tebogo Sembowa and Ronaldo Chikomo appearing on the scoresheet for United while Lemponye Tshireletso got a consolation goal for BDF XI
Last year, Gaborone United beat favourites Township Rollers 2-1 at the National Stadium, to claim their second trophy in three years. United opened the scoring via Benson Shilongo’s penalty, before Rollers’ Kobamelo Kebaikanye levelled matters. Ntesang Shimanyana got the winning goal after beating Noah Maposa from the edge of the box.

BDF XI has reached the Mascom Top 8 final two times, emerging victorious on one occasion. In 2013, BDF XI beat Rollers on penalties after the two teams finished extra-time with 1-1 score.

Mochudi Centre Chiefs Vs Township Rollers

In 2013 Rollers edged Chiefs to reach the finals after advancing on away goal rule. The Blues beat Chiefs 3-2 away at the National Stadium before scoring an important goal in a 2-1 home loss at UB Stadium.

The encounter was without controversy, following the referee’s decision to award Rollers a penalty in the dying minutes of the second leg encounter.

Both teams are determined to win the cup. Rollers has won it once but reached two other finals without any success while Chiefs is yet to lift the trophy.

Pound to pound, Rollers is a better team this season and has already outclassed its archrival in a league encounter. Rollers is also at the summit of the log while Chiefs occupies 3rd sport behind Orapa United.

Verdict: Township Rollers Wins  

BDF XI Vs Orapa United   

The army men have good record in cup competitions, having already won the cup since its inception four years ago. BDF XI has also reached another final where they lost to Gaborone United.

BDF XI has also put a strong performance this season under the stewardship of Beston Chembesi. BDF XI is on the 4th position in the log.

Meanwhile Orapa United will be no push-over. With a relatively good squad and an experienced coach in Madinda Ndlovu, The Ostriches have already proven beyond reasonable doubt that they are here to challenge for trophies.

United rank second ahead of defending champions, Chiefs in the league table.

However Mandinda’s poor cup record means a setback for Boteti based outfit.

Verdict: BDF XI wins

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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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Virtual meet for BFA elections

21st September 2020

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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Talks to merge BNOC, BNSC resurface

14th September 2020

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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