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Strong athletics team set for World Champs

A competent and promising athletics team to represent Botswana at the World Championships will leave for China on Monday amid excitement and optimism that the team will deliver the set target at the Beijing showpiece.

The team, which comprises of among others the golden boy Nigel “Zorro” Amos, Isaac “Bad man” Makwala,  Spain based athlete Onkabetse “Tolly” Nkobolo, Leaname “Lux” Maotoanong, Zacharia “Molweni” Kamberuka, Albashir “Unoda” Keetile, Pako Seribe and the German based high jumper Kabelo Kgosiemang is expected to bring home two medals from the China capital hosted event.

Precisely from the two northern runners, Amos & Makwala who have been performing well in the world stage, especially the Marobela born Amos who is anticipated to bring the gold medal while Makwala who has been blowing hot and cold is predicted to bring any medal.

In an interview with this publication, the Botswana Athletics Association (BAA) media liaison Roland Masalila, said the preparations have been going well with Amos and Makwala doing their preparations internationally while the remaining team is under the tutelage of Mogomotsi Otsetswe. The youth team coach Otsetswe, took the reins following the departure of Justice Dipeba to Germany to help Makwala with the preparations.

“Everything is well, the preparations are going smoothly with our athletes under the eyes of respectable coaches,” stated Masalila in a telephone interview on Wednesday afternoon. Weekendsport can confirm that on Monday, the association convened a meeting with the athletes to brief them about their targets and they unanimously agreed.

The association has, despite having a promising team opted for a more “realistic” target of two medals at the competition. “We only want two medals especially from Amos and Makwala while for Kgosiemang we would be glad if he can get into the last 10,” the newly elected PRO said.

However the relay team made by the likes of Nkobolo could surprise many especially that they recently put up a stellar performance at the African championships- the main undoing, however could be stage fright in Asia as most of the athletes are inexperienced, save for Nkobolo and Makwala.

Amos’ main threat will be the Kenyan arch rival David Rudisha who will seek revenge after being beaten six times by the youthful runner. Nonetheless, “Zorro” as the former McConnell student is popularly known, will have more enemies as most of the athletes will be targeting his scalp, testimony could be derived from the Diamond league race when he became second best to the relatively “unknown” Amel Tuka.

For the Tutume born runner who recently broke the 400m record by 43.72s anything is expected despite medal target by the association. It seems his lucky charm is in Switzerland because that is where he always performed wonders but now it remains to be seen if he will have any more hat tricks in China.

The Championships will start on the 24th of August; in the last edition Amantle “Amiredo” Montsho salvaged one medal for this country which happened to be the only one for the country. Unfortunately no female has qualified to carry on from where Montsho left off.

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Finally, sponsors jerk BFA

30th January 2023

With many being of the view that the state of football in Botswana has deteriorated significantly as it is no longer appealing to the business community, this was a good week for the football community. The Botswana Football Association (BFA) leadership under the stewardship of MacLean Letshwiti secured sponsorship for a combined value of P19. 3 million for the FA Cup competition and the First Division league – both South and North.

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Clubs petition Zackhem, Jagdish Shah

23rd January 2023

Some disgruntled Botswana Football League (BFL) shareholders are planning to petition the BFL board led by Gaborone United director and chief financier Nicolas Zackhem and his treasurer Jagdish Shah. Furthermore, they want to challenge the Botswana football Association (BFA) leadership over the deteriorating status of football in the country.

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P80 million windfall for BFA

9th January 2023

Botswana Football Association (BFA) is poised to benefit from FIFA’s forward development programme. The Association will receive over P80 million to be used during the course of the next four years, as the world football governing body is strengthens its commitment to building a stronger foundation and the growth of football.

The Forward 3.0 funds – to be accessed by all 54 CAF members for the next four years have seen an increase of USD 2 million compared to Forward 2.0 cycle and Forward 1.0 cycle when the programme was launched.

According to FIFA President Gianni Infantino, the third cycle of the programme will be launched this month and it will dedicate more financial resources than before to developing football nations as there is an overall increase of approximately 30% compared to Forward 2.0.

“It is vital that we are now strengthening our commitment to building a stronger foundation for the growth of football,” Infantino noted.

The 62 page report by FIFA-Forward-Development-Programme-Forward-3-0-regulations also reveals that for travel and equipment, each member association, subject to compliance with the regulations, will receive an additional USD 1 million to cover the cost of travel and accommodation for their national teams. It further states that the remaining funds may be used to cover the cost of travel and accommodation for domestic competitions organized by the member associations.

“A contribution of up to USD 200,000 for the four-year cycle (2023-2026) to cover the cost of any football equipment related to the training of players and organization of matches (e.g. full kits for the national teams, balls, mini goals, bibs, substitution boards and referees’ communication systems) for those member associations that are identified as needing the most assistance,” the report indicated.

FIFA President, Infantino and his team said the member association is identified as needing the most assistance, for the purpose of the contributions, where their annual revenues (excluding Forward Programme funds as well as funds from any other FIFA programme/ initiative) do not exceed USD 4 million as the figure shall be reflected in the latest annual statutory audit report submitted to the FIFA general secretariat within six months after the closing of the relevant financial year.

Nevertheless, the contributions for travel will be released in four equal installments of USD 250,000 each in January every year, whilst those for equipment will be released in four equal installments of USD 50,000 each in January every year provided that the member association has fulfilled the conditions.

For the specific projects – in the case of Botswana and Namibia – there is an ambition to host the AFCON 2027 and if the joint bid succeed, the two nations will need to build new stadium to meet the requirements of CAF as the Bid technical committee has alluded before; therefore the two associations could make an appeal for extra funds to FIFA.

The report further says where a member association uses funds allocated for specific projects to improve or build new football infrastructure for its direct benefit or for the benefit of another entity (e.g. regional associations or clubs), the member association shall also provide, as part of the supporting documents, the FIFA general secretariat with the relevant national land registry certificate or extract confirming that the member association or the other entity is the owner of the land or the agreements confirming the donation, transfer or other form of provision to, or use of land by the association.

When contacted for comment, local sports analyst, Jimmy George said; “Ours is more a lack of vision, than money to finance programs. Regrettably when you lack vision not even USD 8 million can bail you out. Its pity the funds might be used to pay for the past projects that have yielded very little success.”

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