Sebego’s post under threat
Nthobelang reveals plan to oust Tebogo Sebego
If Tebogo Sebego decides to continue as the Botswana Football Association (BFA) president going forward then he must start honing his campaign tools to ward off a challenge from former ‘friends of football’ member. Ernest Nthobelang.
The former soldier told WeekendSport in an exclusive interview this week that he will be standing for the most powerful post in the local football fraternity.
The fallen former Vice President – technical who won had the post under the ticket of Sebego’s campaign team, revealed his dramatic return to BFA by announcing his candidacy barely a year before the elections.
It would seem, his candidacy is set to be a two-pronged assault on Sebego orchestrated by the ‘godfathers’ of football.
A number of disgruntled ‘Friends of football’ members – a family Nthobelang identified with before his fall – are believed to be ensuring that he puts together high profile names to solidify his candidacy in running for the post.
Nthobelang, who was once the respected BDF XI football manager and parliamentary candidate for Mahalapye East said he decided to stand after becoming disillusioned by BFA’s ever growing factions and corruption allegations recorded year in and year out.
“I look at the reputation of BFA right now and I do not like it, I think football deserves better. In recent months and even weeks, I have seen the image of BFA deteriorate and as I speak to many people in football, including players and coaches -so many of those people have told me something has to be done,” he said.
Nthobelang observed that Sebego has been leading BFA since 2012 and could have supporters who endorse his work, but there are clear indications that a lot is lagging behind.
He believes there is nothing wrong at the association except that people tend to serve their interests than that those of football. He wants to administer football development at the regional level in which every regions will have its own technical director.
The election is therefore likely to be a fiery fight between members of friends of football and Nthobelang is prepared to face the seemingly insurmountable odds, particularly after the regime itself split. It is evident that Segolame Ramotlhwa could as well be prepared to mount a challenge for BFA presidency.
However, the former soldier arguably could win a public vote for the presidency, having obtained countrywide popularity for his exploits on the field, particularly in the Premier League.
Nthobelang’s entry into the race is expected to remove the threat of virtual coronation for Sebego, who himself swept David Fani out three years ago after an earnest strategy.
All the while, reports say Nthobelang could also find himself forced out of the BFA if he loses the July election, but for very different reasons. He lost a power struggle with the association last year and that means the battle will be bitter right from the campaign start.
The platform afforded by a tilt at the presidency might help his cause or it could backfire if Ramotlhwa, who has backed Sebego, campaigns against him on that front.
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Itâ€™s do or die for Zebras
The senior national team, the Zebras, is currently in Equatorial Guinea to for an African Cup of Nations Qualifiers tie. Before they departed, the team’s coach, Mogomotsi Mpote, had his troops train in Morocco. This was through the agreement between the two countries.
The agreement between the BFA and the FĂ©dĂ©ration Moroccan Football Association states that the two nations will work together to organize friendly matches between their respective national teams. It also allows the establishment of football camps for the youth categories (U-15, U-17, and U-20), this includes women’s national teams.
The national team has played over 180 minutes in its two qualifying matches against Tunisia and Libya. Currently, the Zebras, Lesotho and Liberia are the only teams that haven’t scored yet in the competition (this is correct by press time on Friday).
Before the match against Equatorial Guinea match, the local boys who were once known as the whipping boys of Africa in the early 2000s, were languishing at the bottom of the log standings in group J. They lost their first match away to Libya on June 1, 2022. However, they managed to salvage a point against Tunisia last year.
Before the team left for Equatorial Guinea, coach Mpote urged his players to focus on keeping their hopes of making a return trip to the AFCON finals alive after an 11 year absence since the maiden appearance in 2012. He noted that they would not allow their opponents to score and would ensure that they would get a draw.
Despite the various changes that have occurred in the two countries’ football landscape, the two teams have only met once before. In 2010, the local boys defeated the Equatorial Guinea team in a friendly match, which ended in an emphatic win for the visitors. Since then, the two sides have realised different fortunes in FIFA rankings, with Equatorial Guinea ranked 51 places above the Zebras.
Meanwhile, in their last six games, Guinea has only managed to win one of them. They drew with Rwanda and Togo in September 2022 friendlies. They have found the back of the net just twice in their six games. On the other hand, the Zebras, won one match against Zambia and lost four on their way to finishing at the bottom of the group with four points. At the conclusion of their previous AFCON campaign, the local boys traveled to Zambia and secured a draw.
Despite the recent results of the Guinean team, which have only managed to draw with Rwanda and Togo in their last six matches, coach Mpote is still confident that his team will perform well against the hosts.
According to the head coach, the local boys have the necessary skills and resources to perform well against any country. He noted that the team’s coaches have been studying abroad to gain a deeper understanding of the various aspects of football.
“Tactically they should also be ready. We need your (Botswana fans) usual support, when we come back from Equatorial Guinea, we will go to Francistown, and we will need you. You are our 12th player, and you are very important to us.”
OBED ITANI CHILUME STADIUM CERTIFIED
This week, the Botswana National Sports Commission (BNSC) Tuelo Serufho revealed that the Obed Itani Chilume Stadium will host the return leg of the Africa Cup of Nations qualifier between the local boys and Equatorial Guinea. The venue had initially failed an inspection test conducted by the Confederation of African Football (CAF). However, following the completion of the necessary works, the stadium was allowed to host the match.
According to BNSC Chief, Tuelo Serufho, the various requirements that the stadium must meet included having a designated parking area for the media and spectators, as well as having signage that will guide the spectators. He also noted that the venue now has a world-class media area.
Jagdish Shah rejects Rollers society
Township Rollers, one of the countryâ€™s most decorated football clubs with 15 premier league titles, is finding itself in a precarious situation as its long-term chief financier, Jagdish Shah, threatens to dump them if the society does not bow down to his demand of forfeiting their 20 percent interest in the company.
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Orange injects P350 000 into Phikwe marathon
Mobile network Orange Botswana is committed to supporting the development of local sport. Through its sponsorship, the company will be able to promote and market the sport. According to Maano Masisi, the company believes that sport can unite people from different backgrounds.
He stated that through the sponsorship of the marathon, the company will help promote healthy lifestyles and unity among the people of Selebi Phikwe.
The Selebi Phikwe Marathon is scheduled to take place on July 29, 2023. It is expected that it will attract international, regional, and social runners. A total of P216 000 has been allocated for the prize money for the first ten places in the 42.2 km race. For the 15km and 10km races, the LOC will give away prizes to the first five places.