Extension Gunners have so far in their opening two games managed to collect maximum points, currently they are perched beautifully in position three. This has cultivated much euphoria for fans in the football scenes as one of the most followed teams is off to a great start. Can the Peleng giants maintain the momentum and have a say in this season’s premiership?
The last time Mapantsula won the league was two decades ago in 1994 when they were still called LCS Gunners under the mentorship of Zimbabwean Zumi Ndlovu. In 2009, under the tutelage of the charismatic Daniel “Chico” Nare, they secured a top four finish after a long struggle.
After the sacking of Nare in 2011, Maxwell “Malume” Moyo took the reins eventually landing them at the top, with the Coca Cola Cup silverware. That was the last time Guna-Guna fans had the bragging rights in local football. However soccer analyst Molatlhegi “Octopus” Mangole has said that even in this campaign “gunners can secure a top four bracket but it depends on the management”.
Perhaps Mangole is right as Gunners is a team prone to office backstabbing, especially at a time when they are doing well. According to the RB2 analyst, “the team supporters claim to have the technical knowhow and the executive committee seems not to have a stand to control the diehards since they can vote them out of office if they try to protect the coach.”
Right now as the team is doing well there are some supporters who are not happy with the way coach is playing his cards especially with Amos “Shoes” Godirwang, as they prefer Kemmy “Gweru” Pilato. The return of Jomo Moatlhaping has also rubbed some supporters the wrong way-they want Tshegofatso Daniel Chimuku to always play!
Nonetheless, minus the politics, the team is one of the most supported the fans are always thronging the stadiums, this could definitely be pivotal in their campaign. Like they say, fans are the twelfth player and Gunners, when doing well wherever they are will always have their legion of fans follow them wherever they go. If their supporters, who at times become so raucous could focus on their duty of giving the team courage it is likely to do well. It is well known that should they do well they could have bearing on who wins the league as they are very stubborn when they face boastful rivals like Township Rollers and Mochudi Centre Chiefs.
Although many could argue that it is still early to say how the league will end, Gunners, without the office bickering could soar on and secure a respectable position. The team is under the tutelage of their 2009 local gaffer Keitumetse “Pio” Paul. Since his arrival at the side, the team is not displaying their traditional possessing style.
This season’s Gunners are aggressive and can adapt power play if there is need. Paul is a maverick coach who doesn’t want interference in his job; testimony was witnessed when he expressed his discontent while at national under 23 where he was ultimately fired. He boasts of a decorated CV having worked in South Africa with some top coaches like Ted Dimitro.
The 43 year old former Rollers striker could be what the doctor has ordered for the team, after long time of finding it difficult to even make it in the top eight. He has revitalised the way the team plays, and while he is still trying to see the final combinations, what is more important now is they are bringing results. This could mean after finding those combinations the team could be untouchable.
The team unlike in the past seasons has depth as they have acquired services of some players to strengthen their side. Oabile “Lali” Makopo, Odirile “Deco” Kgaodi, Godirwang, Boitshoko “Bai” Zikhale, Mogomotsi “Jafta” Mokoka and the silky Chimuku and Bonno “Hlezha” Mosea who was signed last season from Lesirane City are some of the new signings.
They only lost Katlego “Sissoko” Keobake and Tshepo “Mahindra” Maikano. In their opening away game against Sankoyo Bush Bucks, Mogobagoba fought fiercely from behind to win 2-1 and in the following weekend, second half goals from Mokoka and Zikhale ensured the team continued with their impressive start. From the two games former Nico United and Letlapeng striker Mokoka managed to find the back of net in all the occasions.
The South-African bully striker Mokoka together with captain Monageng “Mnike” Thaele, goalkeeper Wagarre “Wax” Dikago, and Desire “Sweswe” Bafana are expected to lead the team to a robust crusade this season. Efforts to get hold of the team chairman Kitso Dlamini were futile as his mobile was off.
WeekendSport wanted to unearth the team’s targets and their partners this season. Investigations however show that a worrying factor could be lack of financial support for the team as Cassim Dada who sponsored it last season seems to have tightened his fist this time around.
The team is expected to unveil the new kit for this season soon. Today (Saturday) they are away to FC Satmos, next weekend they will host rivals, Gaborone United. They will then face Orapa United before locking horns with Miscellaneous. Maybe the temple they have over the years been building is finally coming up? Only time will tell.
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.
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.
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.
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.