WeekendSport staff writer ALFRED MASOKOLA argues that despite falling down the pecking order as the favourites to win this season’s be MOBILE Premier League, defending champions Township Rollers could steal the title in the last few remaining games, while title favourites and arch-rivals Mochudi Centre Chiefs could flatter where it matters most.
The beginning of the year saw a twist of fate for beMobile Premier League defending champions Township Rollers as loss of form saw the team handing over log leadership to arch-rivals Mochudi Centre Chiefs. The Mochudi side is tipped to win the league.
However, the race for the coveted P1 million prize money is not yet over as Township Rollers can still overhaul Centre Chiefs’ 8 points gap, needing only three consecutive wins and hoping that Magosi flatters on their way to the finishing line- which admittedly is an unimaginable fate, although possible.
Rollers’ 5-1 victory over BMC in their last match has rejuvenated the Mma-Masire based club and revived their title hopes as the league head towards the finishing line. The remaining fixtures could decide the title race as Centre Chiefs’ recent form leaves much to be desired.
Although Chiefs remain in pole position to walk away with the title, its last two games show the team is not at top form, although it overtook Rollers in the bid for this season’s title. Chiefs drew 1-1 with 10-men against BMC and it took them an own goal and captain Pontsho Moloi’s free kick to defeat Orapa United in the last two games. Chiefs’ two reliable source of goals Lemponye Tshireletso and Kekaetswe ‘Mara’ Moloi seem not to be in best form in recent games.
Meanwhile Rollers scored eight goals in the last two games through the resurgent Manqoba Ngwenya who appeared three times on the score sheet. Ngwenya also scored a goal in the 3-1 win over visiting Ecco City Greens and a brace against BMC.
Meanwhile Chiefs’ next two games against relegation candidates FC Satmos and Motlakase Power Dynamos could prove to be the last turning point for the title as a loss in both games will bring the difference in points to just two, provided Rollers defeat Orapa United away and does the same to Motlakase Power Dynamos at home.
Chiefs will then have to face Gaborone United and the stubborn Moyagoleele, hardly the push over, can still cause a major upset to Chiefs title ambitions. In the same week, Rollers could go and steal three points at Selebi Phikwe against FC Satmos, to take a point lead at the summit of the log and take the decisive moment to the last encounters. Notwithstanding this, a draw for Chiefs against GU and a victory for Rollers against FC Satmos would see the two sides equal on points, with Rollers only being superior in goal difference.
On the final day of the league, Centre Chiefs will face Police XI, while Rollers will be facing Gaborone United in a city derby. Inspired by a rich vein of form, Rollers could finish the league in a dramatic fashion beating city rivals in a predictably jam packed stadium to win their fourth be MOBILE Premier League. The result for Chiefs on the same day, would only serve as academic, as Rollers victory could render it of no practical relevance.
The Botswana national boxing team recently returned from the zone 4 championship held in Mozambique. The team was led by head coach Thebe Setlalekgosi, two assistant coaches, Gibson Rauwe and Pearl Mooketsi. Two referees and judges, Gaseitsewe Ponatshego and Linda Mooketsi.
In the women’s category, Lethabo Modukanele was representing Botswana in the 48 kg division, while Phekie Bele and Sadie Kenosi were competing in the 57 kg and 60 kg categories, respectively. In the men’s category, Kobamelo Molatlhegi was representing the country in the 52 kg division, while Rajab Mahomed was competing in the under 51 kg category.George Molwantwa was competing for under 57 kg category and Treasure Moremi was competing for under 60kg category.
The boxers came home with seven medals, Modukanele came home with a gold medal, Kenosi, Rajab, Molatlhegi all came home with silver medals. While Moremi, Molwantwa and Phekie Bele all came home with bronze medals.
According to Moitshepi Nkabiti, the public relations officer of the Botswana Boxing Association, the team performed well and that they were hoping that Rajab would also bring home a gold medal. However, due to an eye injury, he could not participate in the finals.
He stated that, “though some people might think that how our team performed is not an achievement it is a big achievement to us. Other countries came with 19 boxers while we only came with our seven boxers, and they all came back with medals. That is something that we have to be proud of I really commend them for their performance. Having 5 players making it to the finals is really a blessing and we should not take it for granted.”
According to Nkabiti, Botswana was ranked fourth in the zone 4 championship, which was held in Mozambique. Other countries that participated in the tournament included South Africa, Zambia, Eswatini, and Seychelles. They all had a total of 19 boxers. Lesotho also had eight boxers.
The first Mascom Charity Cup spectacular has come and gone. The football event played at Obed Itani Chilume Stadium saw four football clubs playing one-day tourney with various charity centres being beneficiaries of the gate takings.
While the attendance was not at the expected level, it is said that the sponsor has made a killing with close to P500 000 made from voting lines. Football followers were asked to vote for teams of their choice, and top four clubs were eligible to play. A single sms voting line cost P 1.50.
Gaborone United became the most voted team with 62 984 votes followed by Security Systems with 51 027. On the third spot was BDF XI with 48 596 votes while Orapa United came forth with 44 401. Shockingly, Township Rollers did not make it after gathering a total of 30 637 votes, with BR Highlanders ahead of them having seen 44 204 votes to their name.
It is said, however that, the initiative live to expectation as clubs together with the sponsor have managed to assist charities of their choices. Mascom is believed to be happy for identifying beneficiaries and getting value for their money.
The mobile network company is still the longest standing partners of local football, having first tasted waters in 2005. The company now powers the Top 8 competition and said to have renewed the dame sponsorship at a value not exceeding 18 million. The Mascom Charity Cup was not the first to be hosted by a mobile network company.
In 2018, Botswana Telecommunications Corporation (BTC) hosted a similar event in which followers had to vote. The four participating teams were Mochudi Center Chiefs, Gaborone United, Orapa United and Township Rollers. GU were the eventual winners.
It is however not clear if the tournament will continue in the next football calendar, but what goes down into the history books is that Teenage Mpote and Orapa United were the first to win it. In previous years, there have been an off season tournament whose aim was meant for charity purposes. The tourney was called Kabelano Charity Cup and was usually played by four big teams (Rollers, Notwane, GU and Chiefs) without taking the voting routes. It was last hosted in 2015 and had Barclays as the sponsors.
Yet another thrilling showdown is expected between the country’s hottest strikers, Thabang Sesinyi of Jwaneng Galaxy and Thataoyaone Kgamanyane of Gaborone United, as the duo are eyeing for the 2021/2022 Golden boot.
With only four Botswana Premier League (BPL) games left, the race for the honours is rolling towards a thrilling climax, but for two individuals there is a race for an accolade of their own taking place that could easily go down to the final minutes of the season. Leading the pack with 19 goals is Jwaneng Galaxy talisman, Sesinyi who is one goal apart from Kgamanyane who has netted 18 goals thus far.
Both players have their eye on the golden boot, hoping that their respective teams have fixtures to put them in with a realistic chance of catching up, or leaving the other behind. The Money Machine is currently at the summit of the BPL log with 61 points while the mining giant, Galaxy are trailing on the third place with 49 points, having played 24 games thus far.
Both teams (GU and Galaxy) are expected to face each other towards the end of the season, as the initial fixture was postponed due to Galaxy’s involvement in CAF championship group stages. With 19 goals chalked up for the season so far, Sesinyi is just one goal away from Kgamanyane who led the race for the better part of the campaign. Sesinyi who is on freakish scoring form has scored four goals in his last two games; a hat trick against Prisons XI and a goal against Sua Flamingoes in the midweek fixture.
But there is no doubt that Sesinyi is no longer playing to carry his team, Galaxy, as realistically there is a slim chance for them to clinch the 2021/2022 season, but he is eyeing the Golden Boot Award when the league falls off.
Kgamanyane has begun the season in tremendous form; scoring every time he is given a chance, while Sesinyi, on the other hand, reached the peak of his form in the second round of the season; scoring both in the domestic league and also on the CAF Champions’ league group stage. He featured on team of the week on February.
Furthermore, the Money Machine attacker showed some growth as his conversion rate has been on a rising graph in the games he has so far played. Although Kgamanyane’s goal scoring prowess has been there for everyone to see, the player has been hampered by injuries. It promises to be a fascinating battle between the duo.
Meanwhile, BPL this week announced that they will hold the 2021/2022 awards. The league has since added seven new categories to take the total number of categories to 16. Among some new categories are the Defender of the Season and Midfielder of the Season awards. There are also two more awards for the administrators, as the league has included Team Manager of the Season and the Public Relations Officer (PRO) of the Season awards.
The best performing players in this campaign will be included in the Premier League Best XI. Nevertheless, match day officials have also been recognised with the introduction of two more categories in the young Referee of the Season and the Female Referee of the Season. Furthermore, BFL CEO Solomon Ramochotlhwane indicated that the awards will be held on the 25 June 2022, just after the 2021-2022 season comes to an end.