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Rollers, Chiefs prepare for title bid showdown

Chiefs midfielder, Dirang Moloi


Botswana Premier League (BPL) log leaders Township Rollers are not keen on adding their current squad after fine start to the season, while arch-rivals Mochudi Centre Chiefs may add few changes to amend their lacklustre start to the season.

Some teams tumble during the second round of the season, like Rollers did last season. This season, Chiefs had played second fiddle to Rollers hence the club may be forced to open the cheque book in a bid to defend the league title.

The changes to the squad are unlikely to be massive however, especially for Rollers save for players who have struggled to command a regular game time, and may either be loaned out or released. Rollers may open up to the idea of loaning or selling some of its players with Extension Gunners reportedly gunning for at least three of their stars.

Rollers is wary to avoid last season’s pitfall after surrendering its league table lead to arch-rivals following the arrivals of new singing in last season’s January transfer window.

Subsequent to an impressive and undefeated first round performance, Rollers went on to sign three big names; Noah Maposa, Jerome Ramatlhakwane and Dirang Moloi. However the club’s fortunes changed as slump in form saw the Mma-Masire based outfit yield its lead to Chiefs and ultimately finishing behind rookies, Orapa United.

This season, Rollers had another perfect start to the season and by this end remains the only league side undefeated. At the beginning of the season, Rollers added marquee singings in the likes of former players- Joel Mogorosi, Mogogi Gabonamong and Kabelo Dambe. The trio has been instrumental in Rollers’ performance this season.

A cherry on top for Mark Harrison’s lads, Rollers will not be competing in the vexing Confederation of African Football competitions justifying the decision to go quiet on transfer market.

Meanwhile Chiefs on the other side will be participating in the CAF Champions League which will dent Kgatleng side’s title bid against log leader Rollers. Chiefs are occupying the 3rd spot behind Orapa United.

Chiefs had a disappointing start to the season despite adding midfield maestro Dirang Moloi again on their books and former Uniao Flamingo Santos midfielder Jackie Mothatego from Gaborone United.

However, Mike Sithole comprehend that the transfer market does not offer him much options. The Zimbabwean tactician is looking for a striker to offer him more options upfront.

Chiefs could have signed Kaunda during the pre-season, but the foreign qoata requirement meant that the lanky former Nico United goal-poacher was overlooked in favour of former Ajax Capetown starlet Makhanyesili Siwahla.

The South African lad has however failed to break into the team’s starting eleven and is now considered surplus to requirements. He may be allowed to leave during this transfer window according to sources close to the club.

Chiefs’ spokesperson Clifford Mogomotsi told this publication that the club is willing to make some slight reinforcement in the team.

“We have not identified any player yet but definitely we will make some few additions to the squad,” he said.

Mogomotsi swiftly quashed rumours alleging that some players maybe released during the current transfer window. “Transfer window has just opened and it is too early to say that,” he said.

“The club has no intention of releasing any player during this window [transfer],”  

Although Mogomotsi may publicly not admit it, the Chiefs will find it difficult in to find the players who will fit their profile in the transfer market.

Magosi technical squad however will be quick to admit that days of “Galacticos” are over, with Rollers boosting the most expensive squad in the league. Chiefs had in its first round league games proved to be lacking depth as compared to its rivals.

The two rivals’ encounter in October saw the Kgatleng giants being outplayed, succumbing to a 3-1 defeat despite having taken an early lead.  

Meanwhile Rollers may loan out speedy winger Kobamelo Kebaikanye. News reaching Weekend Sport indicates that the 24 year old has requested the club to loan him in order to find game time.

It is reported that Gunners is also eying Rollers trio, Jerome Louis, Gofaone Tiro and goalkeeper Noah Maposa. The trio had struggled to command a regular place in the starting line up so far.

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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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