With the last lap of the beMOBILE premier league having recently began, teams are aiming to come out as champions, but for rookies, Sankoyo Bush Bucks theirs is to survive relegation.
According to their coach, Philani Mabhena, his main aim is to see the Ngurungu boys not relegating back to the Northern Division league.
In an exclusive interview with Weekend Sports, Mabhena revealed that his aim to keep the team in the league longer was an initial target he agreed to with the team management when the first round of the league begun. He asserted, disputing claims that the objective could be something they resorted to during the course of the league.
When questioned about their target of surviving relegation and not actually competing for the championship, Mabhena said that because the team was relatively new to the league, winning it was a pipe dream. He said to win the league, he believed he needed a stronger and more experienced team of professionals and his team comprises mainly of newbies who are still in the learning process.
“Almost 85% of the players have never in their lifetime played to this level so I want to believe they are still in a learning process of the league,” says Mabhena.
According to the coach, if Bush Bucks could manage to survive relegation for the next three seasons, they could be ready to battle it up and maybe scoop the title.
“Maybe in our third season of the league we will be experienced and fit enough to compete for winning the title,” he said.
Mabhena says he aims to add at least four to five more wins to stay in the league, adding that he believes that for a team to stay in the league it needed more than 36 points, which he is aiming for. He said that if a team has less than 34 points it would have to exert a lot of pressure on itself to fight relegation.
He also said that the team has been faced with financial difficulties since the beginning of the league and that had been a stop barrier in them remaining on top form. Sankoyo Bush Bucks has been appealing for sponsorships from various eligible companies but their efforts have failed up to now.
He said that the financial situation has demotivated players and have impacted negatively administration and technical duties at the club.
He however expressed delight on the team’s performance since it entered the premier league. He said that the players were tackling the league well and even though they could still do better, they were progressing very well.
The Zimbabwean international Mabhena joined Sankoyo Bush Bucks as their head coach for the 2014/2015 season just two weeks before the league started. Within that short period, the Zimbabwean had already planned for fast approach by making sure the club maintains the motivation they had before entering the league. He revealed that he planned that if the Ngurungu boys were to lose a game, it should only be by at least a margin of two goals.
“When a team is new in the league, usually they experience a loss of a high margin in a game; normally they are beaten around to 6-0. This kills the motivation that players had when they entered the league stage, so they end up being faced with relegation,” the coach said.
On the first round of the league, Ngurungu managed to hold themselves competitive in the round that started at a very fast pace. They managed to finish it with 21 points from the 15 games they already played. Ngurungu won six games and lost six; they then managed to hold draw three which were against Township Rollers, Orapa United and Notwane.
On the recently started second round Ngurungu won all the two games they played, now taking their points to 27 points. They played Motlakase Power Dynamos away and won 1-0, and on the past weekend they played FC Satmos home at Maun Sports Complex and won 2-1.
This publication also questioned the coach about the alleged five players who had recently been replaced and Mabhena could not mention any names of the said players, citing that it was too early to comment since he still had to wait for papers to be verified.
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.