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BNOC readies local athletes for CYG

Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the BNOC, Tuelo Serufho

With various countries across the globe already gearing up for the fifth (Vth) Commonwealth Youth Games (CYG), the Botswana National Olympic Committee (BNOC) has also started to ready local athletes to compete at the five day pièce de résistance.  


The multi-sport event which is expected to pull 1000 young athletes aged 14-18 will be  held at the pacific Island nation of Samoa from 5-11th of September however the local athletes are not aiming for any particular medal or position.

According to the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the BNOC, Tuelo Serufho the local contingent will be made up by a total of 11 athletes from the three sporting codes of athletics, Boxing and swimming.

“We had space to include another athlete from any code but we increased athletics participants because we wanted those who had potential looking at their performance,’’ he said when asked why only three codes were to be represented at the games.


Majority of the team members are said to already be on camp, with the athletics team based at Oasis Motel. The boxing and swimming teams have already begun training, especially because public schools are closed.

Serufho said the Ministry of Youth Sport and Culture has availed P2.2 million to be used for the preparations and meet other areas of demands like the attire as well as transporting other athletes since the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) will provide transit for only six members.


The games which are regarded as the springboard to stardom for the sporting greenhorns after the likes of Nigel Amos, Leungo Matlhaku and Naomi Ruele passed through them is expected will produce another group that will go on do well in future.

This year’s competition will be the third for Botswana to compete at after taking part in 2008 at Pune, India and in 2011’s Isle of Man games. BNOC has never set the young athletes any targets but they have managed to bring two medals consecutively at the said competitions.

“The same thing applies even this year as we don’t want to put them under any pressure, what we only want is for them to gain exposure and experience so that when we demand results at Commonwealth Games one day they will be ready,” stated the CEO.


The team that will be launched on Tuesday is expected to include some  celebrated emerging athletes like Thabiso Sekgopi, Karabo Sibanda and Baboloki Thebe in athletics while the likes of Mohamed Otukile is expected to make the cut in boxing.

With the preparations already in full swing, one would wonder if enough is being done to address the hot issue of doping. According to Serufho, “We give them education during camps like what we are doing right now; the anti-doping agent visits them regularly and also there are regular random tests done on athletes.”   

BOTSWANA BID TO HOST 2021 CYG

Meanwhile Botswana has expressed interest in hosting the next games. The BNOC holds that by hosting the games, the country would be opening itself up to the prospect of hosting other international competitions. Serufho confirmed to Weekend Sport that they are interested in hosting the 2021 games. “We did express interest and we have already submitted the budget to the government we are only awaiting their blessings then we can submit the bid at the end of September,” he said.


The Francistown born CEO, said last year’s Africa Youth Games (AYG) were an eye opener and they have gained hosting experience through them. While he conceded that they had not hosted any international games, he was hopeful that the world dance competitions and the 2017 U-18 Netball cup would further impart to them some experience.

In terms of the facilities Serufho said, “Now we have amenities like the UB indoor facility and two tracks in UB and the national stadium, besides, unlike the AYG which had 21 sports the CYG has only 10 so we can easily pull it off.”

BNOC SUPPORT SA’s DURBAN 2022 COMMONWEALTH BID

Meanwhile, South Africa is the only country that has expressed interest in hosting the 2022 Commonwealth Games, and BNOC is fully rallying behind them. In the past weeks SA convened a meeting asking for support from their continental and Asian counterparts and BNOC has expressed that they fully support them. Serufho who attended the meeting said “South Africa has facilities and they have experience in hosting plus their weather in Durban is also fantastic so I believe they can host the games.”


Botswana would indirectly benefit, should SA win the bid to host.  “The teams will arrive early to acclimatize and they might camp here, this would help us to have some preparatory games also,” he concluded.

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Cooper, Galaxy deal explained 

7th December 2021
Cooper

This week, the 2019/2020 league champions, Jwaneng Galaxy, announced the signing of former Lusaka Dynamos midfielder Mothusi Cooper for a period of six months.

Cooper, a 23-year-old versatile midfielder, terminated his contract with Lusaka Dynamos a few months ago due to unpaid salaries and signing-on fees. Cooper had joined the Zambian giants from Township Rollers.

In an interview with this publication this week, Tankiso Morake, Galaxy Public Relations Officer (PRO), said their head coach, Morena Ramoreboli, recommended the club to bolster their midfield.

“We felt it was necessary for us as Galaxy to increase our depth in the midfield; fortunately, Cooper was available since he has been declared a free agent,” Morake alluded.

“It is an advantage for us as Galaxy to sign a player of Cooper calibre, though we are not saying we don’t have good players. We just wanted to give the coach what he wants and also add more depth to our squad,” he said.

“It will grant coach more quality players since we are playing the CAF Championship group stage, the league games and also the Orange FA Cup.”

According to Morake, the deal favours both the player and his agent, as it will give the 23-year-old the opportunity to attract interest abroad due to participation in the CAF Championship group stages.

When contacted for comment, Bakang Moipone, who is the player’s agent, said: “The intention was never to go for a local move, but the most unfortunate thing is that as much as we had offers from other teams in Zambia, South Africa, and North Africa and also trying to poach something from Europe, it is challenging to find a foreign player slot during the January transfer window.”

Furthermore, Moipone revealed that the clubs which were interested in his services did not have the foreign slot available to register the versatile midfielder.

“We concluded by saying the player cannot wait until June without having a club; hence we opted for a local move for six months knowing that we will be able to get a club during the winter transfer window,” the player agent noted.

“We received several offers from local teams such as Rollers, Gaborone United, Orapa United and Galaxy, and it was him (Cooper) who chose Galaxy since they have qualified for the CAF Championship group stage as he believes it will give him international exposure and also create more options for him for an oversea move.”

Moipone highlighted that the move to Galaxy was not monetary. The ultimate reason was for the player to gain match fitness while anticipating moving abroad in June to further his professional career.

Meanwhile, it is reported that the former senior national team head coach Adel Amrouche is had secured a lucrative deal for troubled Zebras star Cooper.

The player, recently on Lusaka Dynamos books, is anticipated to move abroad once the 2021/2021 season ends.

The club’s name remains unknown, but sources speculate that the player will land in a team based in Belgium.

Cooper will be the third player whose overseas move is masterminded by Amrouche after secured deals for Kabelo Seakanayeng and Tumisang Orebonye to Olympique Khouribga, a club based in Morocco.

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F/town Chess tourney returns with improved prizes

7th December 2021
Chess

Despite the disruptions of the COVID-19 scourge to the chess fraternity calendar of events, the First Capital Bank Festive Chess Showdown tournament returns this year with improved prizes.

The tournament, which started in 2019 with a sponsorship of P22 000, will proceed with this year’s an increased backing from P42 000 to P50 000. The adjustment prompted the organizers to increase the prizes across sections. Scheduled to take place in Francistown from the 11th-13thof December, the tournament has seen a steadfast growth in sponsorship and attracting high profile players during the two years.

According to the event organizer Thapelo Molefe, the total sponsorship amounts to P49 945, a gesture that allowed them to increase prizes by 14%. The prestige section, which generally attracts highly rated players, has a top prize of P4200, an increase from P3600, while the open section got a P1000 increase to P3000. The ladies section now attracts a prize of P2000 from the previous P1800. However, the Under 18 and development section awards remain unchanged at P1500 and P300.

“The deal is solid and beneficial to both parties so that it won’t stop anytime soon. We have a telepathic understanding with the bank; they have social responsibility at the core of their business. There isn’t much of a difference except the increase in prize monies. Foreign internationals have always graced our events in numbers, and we look forward to having them again in our third installment of this magnificent undertaking,” said Molefe.

The last edition was won by Gaasite Sebetlela and WCM Refilwe Gabatshwarwe in the open and ladies section, respectively, while Monnatsheko Keletshabile emerged the champion in the prestige section.

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Sport

P700k for GU players

7th December 2021
Gu-Players

Morale inside Gaborone United camp is high with the team oozing with confidence and licking their lips to lift the Orange FA trophy, as the team has been assured to share the P700k first prize amongst themselves should they win.

The promise was made by the club Chief financier Nicholas Zachem earlier this year as part of motivating the team following a long spell of football thirst and hunger. The players and the technical team are looking at the big carrot that has been dangled before them and have never looked back.

GU has been marauding other teams, going down for the first time 1-2 against BDF X1. The Innocent Morapedi and Pontsho Moloi mentored side is currently on 2nd position on the league log with 15 points after six games, only a point separate them with log leaders Township Rollers.

The Reds are also in the semi-finals of the FA Cup and are facing stubborn Jwaneng Galaxy in what could be a litmus test for them. Their in-form forward Thatayaone Kgamanyane is expected to lead the attack to eliminate Galaxy and face either Township Rollers or Masitaoka in the finals.

The high flying club has managed five clean sheets this season, with their goalkeeper Goitseone Phoko even voted player of the month.  “It’s a great feeling to have been chosen as player of the month. The award will motivate me to perform to my level best in every game. As much as this award is mine, I would like to thank my teammates who have contributed immensely in ensuring that I keep those clean sheets,” said Phoko after pocketing P1000 cash for his toil.

GU Brand and Marketing Manager, Herbert Letsebe said the club decided to introduce monthly awards to motivate players. “This is a build up to our end of the season awards where will crown player of the season and other individual awards,” he said.

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