Sankoyo aims to survive relegation
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.
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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 Fédération 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.”
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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.