The last season’s premier league runners up Orapa United’s lax attitude towards taming their players who were pivotal in their meteoric rise last season could backfire this coming season if they don’t find perfect replacements.
The Ostriches, from the diamond mining town of Orapa gained premier league promotion two seasons ago. In their maiden season in 2013/14 they started the campaign well but internal squabbling in the second round saw the team firing and hiring coaches- ultimately decelerating and finishing the season in the bottom eight. Although the team didn’t start well in the 2014/15 season their performance improved once their new players gelled in with the team.
They ended this past season with 61 points, seven points behind the champions Mochudi Centre Chiefs. The team also had two of their players in the top goal scoring charts, Hendrick “Djemba” Moyo and Patrick “Waka-waka” Lenyeletse.
The team has since lost one of its top goal scorers, Moyo to Gaborone United on a two year deal. The Matobo born striker however is said to still have a running contract with the Ostriches despite having penned a contract with GU, something which could see him rooting at the stands. Another attacking midfielder cum striker, Tumelo “Di-Maria” Madzebedi is also on the brink of finalising a deal with the Reds as his contract is said to have elapsed, the duo’s departure will leave a void that will probably be difficult to fill.
The team mouthpiece Tebatso Hule was nonetheless recently quoted in the premier league website saying everything was well at Orapa and there was no need for panic.
According to reports, midfielder Thabang “Marco” Mosige is also on the want list of Township Rollers. Mosige is reportedly ready to leave for the Gaborone based side as his contract at Orapa has elapsed. Unconfirmed reports also link their last season signing in Patrick “Boy-Machesa” Motsepe to the rookies Green Lovers while Emmanuel “Agrippa” Nlu is linked with both BR Highlanders and Nico United. Coach Maxwell “Malume” Moyo has also left to Police XI.
With the loss the team is expected to have a tough season more-so that they are not active in the market, save for the Patrick Kaunda and Lemogang “Ntoche” Maswena rumours that are making rounds. Having lost their Zimbabwean gaffer who guided them to position two last season, the team is said to be in talks with ex Rollers coach Madinda Ndlovu to possibly lead the technical bench.
Despite the team enjoying sponsorship from the mine, it continues to lose players en masse. Sources close to the players attribute the exodus to poor management. “The players are not happy; they say the management don’t know how to run football and only know mine issues,” a source revealed. Efforts to contact the team PRO, Hule were futile as his mobile phone was not available.
Football analyst Monty Gagomokgwa has said the players’ exodus will impact negatively the team’s performance in the coming season. “The hype that was created last season will leave the team as a target to many and having lost players they will be helpless, they are likely to struggle,” he said.
In other transfer news Jwaneng Galaxy has signed Moreetsi “Resco” Mosimanyana and Lesego Lubinda in a two year deal each. Omaatla “Dunga” Kebaatho is also expected to land in Jwaneng if things go accordingly.
GU has acquired the services of former Extension Gunners left back Katlego “Sissoko” Koobake and Tshepo “Mahindra” Maikano both for 2 years. However the latter might take time before playing as Gunners also claims to have a running contract with the player.
Galabgwe “Galaxy” Moyana is also linked with Rollers. Centre chiefs are linked with BDF XI midfielder Thato “Saviola” Ogopotse who is reported to have resigned at the army, while Bakang “Doleza” Moeng is reported with Girl port Lions.
Local sprinter, Letsile Tebogo has been rewarded with a whopping P150 000.00 by Orange Botswana for his heroics at the recently held World Athletics Championships in Budapest, Hungary.
Speaking at a Handover Ceremony for Tebogo, Orange Botswana Acting Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Maano Masisi said, Orange Botswana is steadfast in their commitment to nurturing the youth and promoting sports in diverse ways.
âLetsile stands as a formidable force and an inspiration to young Batswana, showcasing the value of sports not only in Botswana but on an international stage through his remarkable achievements. Orange Botswana, furthermore, desires to cultivate enduring relationships with aspiring young Batswana, much like Letsile, who embody dedication, focus, and excellence in their endeavors. Letsile has already shattered records, etching new milestones for the African continent and beyond,â
Masisi further said the partnership aligns seamlessly with Orange Botswanaâs dedication to acknowledging exceptional individual talent like Tebogo.
âAs previously announced when we started this relationship, our collaboration with yourself entails financial support from Orange Botswana to fuel your journey in competitive sports, alongside your representation as the face of Orange Botswana,â he said.
For his part, Tebogo pleaded with Orange Botswana to extend his contract as it is beneficial to him, âI am thankful to Orange Botswana and I hope they could extent my contract as it has been very helpful.â
Meanwhile, Tebogoâs coach, Kebonyemodisa âDoseâ Mosimanyana was also showered with P10 000.00 for always ensuring that Tebogo is ready to take on the world.
Local athletes, Zibane Ngozi and Letsile Tebogo have confronted Minister of Youth, Gender and Culture, Tumiso Rakgare citing lack of support during preparations.
Speaking at the World Champs team Welcome Ceremony on Wednesday, the 4 x 400m relay specialist and Team Captain, Ngozi urged some of the government officials inclusive of Botswana National Sport Commission (BNSC) representative, Rakgare to attend these high-profile competitions to witness the hardships they go through during these competitions.
âPeople need to understand it is not easy for us when we arrive at the World stage, there is a lot that is going on hence we need support in order for us to succeed as expected.
However, I am happy that immediately when I arrived in Botswana, BNSC credited our allowances which was a good thing because we had lots of debts (jokingly) thus we manage to settle them,â he said.
On the other hand, Tebogo who brought home two medals (silver and bronze) from 100m and 200m respectively at the World Champs said most athletes are going through depression due unfavorable conditions.
âMost of us going through depression because we lack support during preparations, we are only celebrated when we win but in hard times we are forgotten. Athletics is a difficult sport hence we need all the support we could to make it through and eventually amass medals as it is expected by our country,â
For his part, Rakgare admitted that local sport is faced with challenges, including but not limited to a tough sponsorship environment, limited or no sport in public schools, doping and leadership instability.
âI would of course be surprised if anyone of you would not agree with me that notwithstanding the challenges, we continue to achieve unprecedented results in sport, and the year to date is no exception,â he said.
Rakgare gave special recognition to Oratile Rose Nowe for heroics at the World Champs, âI would like to take this opportunity and congratulate Nowe for attaining a new personal best 2:01.62 in Womenâs 800m, which also happens to be a national record. By the way, Oratile is the first Motswana woman to ever qualify for the World Championships in middle distance running.â
According to Rakgare, Government, recognizes athletesâ achievements at any and every competition, and that is why most recently, they have rewarded them at the Youth and Sport Awards.
âI would like to thank the Government of Botswana for their investment in sport. We continue to pride ourselves in being one of the best funders of sport per capita, and as indicated earlier, we are not intending to slow down anytime soon,â
On a lighter note, World Champs BW Team was rewarded by various companies such as Debswana, Choppies, Botswana Power Corporation (BPC) and also government as a token of appreciation for participating in Hungary.
Tebogo was rewarded with P560 000 from Debswana, Choppies and BPC for bringing two medals home, 4 x 400m men relay finalists (Ngozi, Baboloki Thebe, Laone Ditshetelo and Leungo were given P25 000 apiece for reaching the finals and participating by Debswana; while ladies (Tlhomphang Basele, Golekanye Chikani, Lydia Jele, Oratile Nowe, Galefele Moroko, Obakeng Kamberuka were given P10 000 each for participation.
In addition, the World Champs team amassed P926 000.00 of which P250 000 would go to Tebogo and the remaining P676 000 will be shared amongst the rest of the team.
With several local associations currently going through a rough patch in terms of financial quagmires, Botswana Netball Association (BONA) Public Relations Officer (PRO), Mokeresete Mokeresete is optimistic to host the 2023 Africa Netball Cup as per the request from African Netball Board (Executive Committee) because Uganda has pulled out.
Will it be successful or finally quench the thirst of competing internationally?
The African Netball Championships or Africa Netball Cup are a netball competition held every after two years with teams from across Africa competing for the top price.
BONA National team competed in the last edition of the Africa Netball Cup which was held in 2021 in Namibia and they finished in position seven which was average.
Last time BONA hosted an event of this magnitude was the 2017 Netball Youth World Cup which was indeed a success even though the local team (Dinaletsana) finished in position 10.
One would have thought that the Dinaletsana team which looked promising would eventually go on and conquer the world in the following international competitions. However, that has not been the case as they struggled to qualify for the recent World Cup which was held in the neighboring South Africa.
In addition, the Botswana Netball League was last played in November 2022 and in 2023 they hosted a Fast Five Netball Cup just before the Netball World Cup.
In an interview with WeekendSport this week, BONA Public Relations Officer (PRO) said they have accepted to host the 2023 Africa Netball Cup following the pulling out of Uganda.
âWe have recently accepted a request to the 2023 Africa Netball Cup, however â we are still working on finalizing all the logistics that will be in play as you are aware that hosting an event requires a budget which might be difficult because we were given a smaller potion in the recent financial year.
Furthermore, we are yet to come up with a consolidated budget which could help us map a way forward as we really want to stage this particular competition. It is vital for us to host this competition as we want to revitalize local netball, we want to attract more for the league,â said Mokeresete Mokeresete.
MORE NETBALL ACTION AHEAD?
Mokeresete further hinted that the upcoming Independence Cup will be preparatory tournament for the upcoming Africa Netball Cup.
âWe are going to host the Independence Cup of which we are expected at least 16 ladiesâ teams and a few of maleâ teams as we are still swiftly introducing the male section to the sport in Orapa.
However, prior to the action we are going conduct courses for match officials, technical official and coachesâ beginnersâ level 1 courses as an effort of improve the standards of the sporting code,â hinted Mokeresete.
MISSING THE RECENT NETBALL WORLD CUP WAS CATASTROPHIC
According to BONA PRO, missing the recent Netball World Cup was catastrophic as players missed out on an opportunity to showcase their talents on the world stage which was bound to garner those deals to more professional countries in terms of Netball.
âWe are seeing lots of movement for players from countries like Zimbabwe which is remarkable and that could have happened for our player â but it wasnât to be as we did not qualify for the main event.
Moreover, through the World Cup Legacy Program, we have been awarded a sprung board and we are contention to transport it from South Africa to the country as one of the requirements to host a sporting event is to have a sprung floor,â
Meanwhile, the 2023 Africa Netball Cup is scheduled between November 26 â October 06 2023 at University of Botswana (UB) Indoor Sports Arena.