The First Division leagues are approaching the business end. Competition in both the South and North First Division leagues is stretched, three teams will bite the dust, while three others will upgrade to the premier league, Sports Writer JOSEPH KGAMANYANE reports on progress so far.
Debswana First Division League teams are running their last laps of the race to determine winners of the two leagues.
The two divisions seem to have two different scenarios which are completely different towards the end of their league.
For the North side only four games remain to conclude the league and Miscellaneous FC which dominated first position from the word Go is confident it will hold the position to the end.
However, things are different in the South; there is a tight battle between the top four teams. Mogoditshane Fighters, Uniao Flamingo Santos and Modipane United make it difficult to guarantee current log leaders, Jwaneng Galaxy the title more so that they lost their weekend fixture against Santos. Galaxy has only three games left to wrap up the league.
Last season, First Division north sides, Sankoyo Bush Bucks and BR Highlanders and First Division South team, Letlapeng FC managed to graduate to the beMOBILE Premier League. BR Highlanders pressed back Rolling Boys to first division in the playoffs. Tafic FC, Miscellaneous and Mogoditshane Fighters dropped to the First Division.
First Division North
Miscellaneous continues to dominate the north side log with an impressive 41 points. Miscellaneous is eight (8) points clear of Mahalapye Hotspurs who are in second position with 33 points. If Miscellaneous could garner five points from the remaining four games, they automatically gain promotion into the premier league.
Miscellaneous coach, Cairo Sebopelo is confident that they will return to the premier league.
“Though the competition continues to tighten up, we are sure to win the league and go back into the premier league,” said Sebopelo in a brief interview with Weekend Sports.
Miscellaneous has been on top form, and has been unstoppable from the beginning of the league; from 18 games, it registered 12 wins, 5 draws and 1 loss to Kazungula FC.
Their fate is yet to be determined as Kazungula FC is lined up in the remaining fixtures along with Tafic and Palapye All Stars. They will lock horns again with with Kazungula FC on 10 April, just before the league ends.
The battle for second spot in First Division North is unpredictable, though on second position with only 33 points, rivals could topple Mahalapye Hotspurs. Green Lovers FC and Kazungula FC are both on third spot with 29 points each. On the fourth position is Tafic FC with 28 points.
Threatened with relegation because of their poor performance are Amakhosi, Tonota FC, Palapye All Stars and Great North Tigers. The four clubs are fighting a losing battle at the bottom of the league. Tsabotlhe FC, Tasc and Maun Tigers will survive, with one or two of the middle teams escaping by the skin of their teeth.
First Division South
In the south side, the leading gap that log leaders, Jwaneng Galaxy once had is closing down at a disturbing rate due to their recent poor show. Recently Galaxy lost 2-0 against third placed Uniao Flamingo Santos. Galaxy is now under pressure to protect their first position.
Galaxy tops the log with 38 points ahead of second placed Mogoditshane fighters who have accumulated 35 points; Uniao Flamingo Santos is on third spot with 32 points.
Mogoditshane Fighters continues to pile pressure on Galaxy in their efforts to return to the premier league. Last week Fighters gained an easy three points from Rolling Boys positioning themselves only three points behind Jwaneng Galaxy.
Fourth placed Modipane United will depend on the uncertainties that the teams ahead experience. For the play-off qualifiers it seems the competition will be between the same four top teams.
In the middle of the log the teams that have the potential to survive the league are Prisons, Rolling Boys and Sharps Electrical which out of the 19 games played have registered 26, 25 and 24 points respectively.
At the tail end of the league is Gantsi Terrors, which managed only 1 point from all games played. Terrors lost all its games and had a single draw. The Gantsi district team’s ship is already sinking. However, terrors isn’t alone in the sinking ship, Lesirane City, Killer Giants and Black Peril who have 23, 22 and 18 points respectively are also at the brim of relegation.
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.