Softball enthusiasts are in for a thrill at the Selibe Phikwe extravaganza next weekend, where local softball titans will give each other a run for their money.
The tournament which is hosted annually by Phikwe based Comets has in the past proven to be one of the biggest, hyped tournaments in the softball calendar.
The three days showpiece will showcase fierce rivalry from both the men and ladies teams who have made a cut to take part in the tournament. In the men’s category from the southern block there is the Jwaneng duo of Wells International and Gatalamotho together with Police IX and the defending champions BDF IX. The northerners will be pinning their hopes on the Orapa based duo of Carrets and Rebels, complimented by Rail Giants and the hosts Comets.
The men’s bracket which never disappoints will see the north team fighting with everything they have not to let the trophy south of Dibete. The Mahalapye side Rail Giants is expected to carry the pride of the northern side.
The team has in the recent past been on the decline as they failed to clinch the cup despite being regarded as the favourites on some occasions and now with Botswana Railways pumping money on them they will have to deliver; their only hurdle will be the southern teams. Nothing much is expected of the Orapa teams and the hosts, but they should not be written off as they may pull big surprises more especially that they are ‘under-dogs’.
It will be a roller-coaster for the southern teams that just finished their qualifying rounds last weekend as all of them are targeting nothing than to strike gold in Phikwe. Both Wells and Gatalamotho, from J-Mecca are poised to wrestle the trophy from BDF who just won the Bofinet league.
However Police IX should not be taken for granted as they managed to reach the league final regardless of their loss to BDF. Southerners have in the past dominated the tournament, more especially after the disbanding of the military side Scramblers which always spoilt the party for the boastful ‘Gaborone teams’ as the south teams are normally referred to.
The winner of the tournament will pocket P60 000 from both categories, an increment from last year’s P50 000. This according to Botswana Softball Association (BSA) mouth-piece Kelebogile Seitei is an incentive needed to motivate teams to produce stellar performances.
“This year the sponsors have increased their pledge and we are thankful for that, with this we believe teams will give the softball lovers the entertainment they anticipate in Phikwe.” The Phikwe extravaganza is sponsored by the BCL mine and its sub-contractors like Komatsu, Bridgestone and Puma.
Interesting battles are expected from the ladies section as well, especially from the defending champions Dinare and their rivals, Wells who also won the league recently. Panthers who also reached the league final where they lost to Wells will be gunning to redeem their pride which has been fading away since they changed their name from Paper-Club.
Police will also seek to turn their fortunes around in the tournament; the north girls who have missed out on clinching the cup for some time will be represented by Rail Giants who are expected to lead their fellow compatriots in this battle.
Motlakase is another side that is always a hard nut to crack with their young girls from BISA school games, but the games are likely to cost them as they will be played at the same time. As for Carrets and the host Comets only time will tell what they have to offer. Comets, despite being the hosts are never convincing enough that the cup could remain in home soil.
According to Seitei, a total of P359 000 has been set aside for both players and team trophies. “With this money directed only on the awards for the teams and members, we are hopeful that this will motivate players to give their best and ultimately have a tournament not to forget,” she said.
The games will be played during the President Day holidays, and the tossing will be done today in Phikwe.
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.
Township Rollers is anticipated to spent around P 50 000 to expatriate their foreign based players amid ravaging corona virus threats. The club, in collaboration with the Football Union of Botswana (FUB) tested Francis Afriyie, Fabian Assagou Guy and Kamogelo Matsabu before they can head to their native countries.
The trio are awaiting the results which are all expected to come out negative, following which they will immediately board planes to their various destinations. Afriyie was a Rollers striker from Ghana.
Matsabu, regarded the darling of the club is heading back to South Africa while Guy signed by the club but has never impressed, will board a plane back to Ivory Coast.It is likely that both Matsabu and Guy will return as they are still contracted to Rollers. However, Afriyie will not return after failing Rollers litmus test.
The striker failed to break into the starting 11 of head coach Frank Nuttall for the season and it appeared that frustration got to him. And when it finally knocked him down, the striker in a rough and unexpected remonstration stormed out of the bench while a Rollers game was on.
The former Gho Maria striker penned a two year deal in January and it is rumoured that his contract was heavily incentivized, catapulting him to being one of the highest paid players at Rollers.His end of season departure will now put a serious question mark over Rollers’ recruitment policy.
He becomes the fourth foreign striker to fail the club examinations and released while on contract. Before him was, Mthokosize Msomi from South Africa, Terrence Mandawa from Tanzania and Fabian Mbowa from Ivory Coast. Msomi and Mandawa’s release were sanctioned by former coach Nikola Kavazovic. Mbowa is loaned to Police XI to create space and playing opportunity for the now departing Afriyie.
Releasing Afriyie will now mean that the club’s striking woes continue. Rollers management complained at times last season at the lack of productivity from their strikers but they hoped that striker Tumisang Orebonye and other targeted signings, aided perhaps by Edwin Moalosi who remains on the books, could fire an upturn.
However, it was never meant to be as they finished the season second behind league winners, Jwaneng Galaxy.
Black Leopards head coach, Joel Masutha, is reported to have orchestrated a move that could see mid fielder-cum-striker, Mogakolodi Tsotso Ngele, being dropped by Leopards.
WeekendSport has learnt that the coach summoned the Zebras former captain to a one-on-one meeting a month ago to relay the bad news. It is reported that Masutha told the player that he is surplus to requirement and therefore he will not be selected for any game unless he opts to leave.
Reports further state that Tsotso was not encouraged to fight for his position but instead was told that there are better players to be tasked with scoring responsibilities and helping the club to dodge the dreaded relegation axe.Ngele therefore is waiting for his contract to expire before plotting his next move. He is said to be torn between playing for one more year in South Africa and coming to Botswana to play for high paying Township Rollers.
The Rollers decision will once again hinge on his private business which he would love to monitor closely. He owns a sports clothing label where he already signed a two year deal with Notwane FC.Ngele’s career at Leopards blew hot and cold. He only enjoyed his stay when his former coach Calvin Johnson was at the helm.
He played in crucial matches and his stunning free kick against log leaders Kaizer Chiefs is still remembered by his followers.However, there have been many other factors at play.It is said Ngele’s future at Thohoyandou- a location where Black Leopards is based- encountered problems of many kinds. His future is believed to have been dulled by injuries and a confidence that strangely refused to bloom.
The player is also said to have broken ranks with Leopards management where he shocked them when playing for the senior national team last year albeit claiming to be suffering from a thigh injury. Ngele had signed a two year deal, but as things stand, the left footed midfielder is heading out as his contract staggers to an end. He is believed to be earning close to R80 000 after tax deductions.
The lifestyle and living conditions at Thohoyandou are also seen as factors that further complicate Ngele’s situation hence the sudden collapse of concentration in football.Ngele is said to be represented by Tim Sukazi who still hopes that the player’s breakthrough career is worth fighting for.
When signed by high spending Mamelodi Sundowns almost 5 years ago, he was represented by Mike Makaab, also a renowned football agent in South Africa.It is growing precarious for Ngele who was chained for longer spells at Sundowns.
But when a move to Leopards was announced, there was a high expectation that the player was nearing his revolutionary season.