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BPL reaches all-time low of local strikers

The opening 12 games of the Botswana Premier League fixtures marked an all-time low in terms of the number of home grown strikers beginning games at the start of a season. There is a painful realisation that foreign strikers have been dominating the Premier League’s scoring charts, highlighting the falling number of home-grown talent in the top flight.


Apart from Jomo Moatlhaping, Joel Mogorosi and Kekaetswe Moloi, who have won the Golden Boot award in recent times, the statistics have proven to all and sundry that domestic strikers are given second priority by local teams. This has left the Botswana Premier League trailing other neighbouring leagues when it comes to showcasing indigenous talent and, it is argued, has impacted on the fortunes of national teams at all levels.

Former national team coach Stanley Tshosane, the only local coach to have taken the Zebras to AFCON finals after facing tough battles, was always alarmed that since the 2010 seasons, foreign strikers were always making the top three on the scoring charts.


There is, of course, some relevance in Tshosane’s observation that local talent is scarce and attacking football in this country can never be attained at national level. Since 2009 to 2014, one or two foreign strikers scored the highest number of goals.


The 2009-10 season that was ruthlessly won by Rahman Gumbo’s Township Rollers, saw three foreign strikers steal the show. Zimbabwean-born striker Terrence Mandaza became the ultimate winner of the Golden Boot, hitting the net 31 times. 

Zambia’s Mokuka Musonda was second with 20 goals. The striker was plying his trade at Mochudi Centre Chiefs. In third position was Farasai Nyamunowendo of  Uniao Flamego Santos. He netted 19 goals, and there was no local striker in sight. He, too, is a Zimbabwean-born striker.


There was, however, a ray of hope in the 2010-11 season as local strikers seemed to gain grounds and entered the fray. Moemedi ‘Jomo’ Moatlhaping, playing for Centre Chiefs, became the leading goal- scorer with 30 goals, a goal behind Mandaza as compared to the previous season. He was followed by Sekhana Koko with 22. Tendai Ndoro, another Zimbabwean marksman, followed with 21 goals.


When Chiefs won the league under the tutelage of Madinda Ndlovu in 2011-12, two local strikers finished as joint top goal-scorers. It was a first in many memorable years. Mara Moloi and Joel Mogorosi, both from Centre Chiefs, rolled on ‘Joel- Mara-thon’ until the end. Both ended with 26 goals. But, again it was not all too smooth sailing for them, as another foreigner – Master Masitara – was breathing heavily on their necks, finishing second with 20 goals. Koko finished third with 15 goals, appearing for the second consecutive time on the scoring charts.


It is, however, noted that both Joel Mogorosi and Sekhana Koko are not outright strikers and their prowess has never come handy at the national team.


However, another distant ray of hope came in the 2012-13 season. It was a time when Chiefs successfully defended their titles and again their striker Mara Moloi similarly defended his crown. He found the net 23 times, and Bonolo Fraizer was runner-up with 17 while Galabgwe Moyana had 14 goals.


If ever there were any doubts the 2013-14 season ended all speculation as no local striker made to the top three. This became a bitter pill for the domestic game, as the goal-scoring drought affected the Zebras who managed to score only a single goal in the past AFCON qualifiers. The pack was led by Patrick Kaunda with 20 goals, Sageby Sandaka with 16 goals, while Topo Piet, who is not a born-striker, came third with 15 goals.


The trend is on-going. In this campaign, Zimbabwean-born striker Sageby Sandaka is at the helm with seven goals together with Jerome Louis. Lovers Mofokeng, another foreigner, is on the spot with six goals. Also in the race with six goals, is Manqoba Ngwenya, a cold revelation that local produced strikers are far off the mark.

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Sport

Rakgare addresses BFA presidential candidates

21st September 2020
Minister Tumiso Rakgare

Amid the confusion surrounding the date of the Botswana Football Association (BFA) elections, the Minister of Youth Empowerment, Sport and Culture Development, Tumiso Rakgare, met with three presidential candidates on Thursday morning to discuss a plethora of problems bedevilling the domestic game.

The candidates are Maclean Letshwiti, the current President, Tebogo Sebego, the firm challenger of the BFA throne, together with Ookeditse Malesu who enters the race for the first time in his sporting career. There were other two unnamed officials who are said to be representatives from the sport ministry.

The Sport minister is said to have adopted a hard-nosed approach to register his disappointment and worry that the uncertainty of the upcoming elections have injured the administration of the local game.

Highly placed sources at the Sport ministry say that the minister’s ‘no gloves barred’ approach comes at the behest of the BFA’s constant negative headlines regarding their leadership style as of going into the elections.

It is said that Rakgare was also worried that the current administration is keeping the other two camps in the dark regarding the planning and processes bordering on election issues. This, he said has led to unnecessary speculations and back biting that is not needed to lift the game at a time when it is on its knees.

He was to rattle a few feathers at one incident when he called all the three leaders of the game to put their houses in order. As if that was not enough, the minister called on the three lobby groups to desist from serving personal interests but put focus on developing the game.

Interestingly, sources point out that the minister was livid but urged both Letshwiti and Sebego groups to refrain from tarnishing the good image of the ministry. This, he said in response to wide ranging allegations that he is taking sides as campaigns are ongoing.

The Sebego group accuses him of de campaigning Sebego and having a soft spot for Team Letshwiti while the same Letshwiti group is saying the same thing about the minister as having taking curious interest in Sebego camp.

The minister is alleged to have told the leaders that if they do not change their leadership style of protecting those looting public funds, his ministry would intervene even if it means attracting the wrath of FIFA, which is known for its notorious sanctions when countries do not toe the line. He urges BFA to be accountable at all the times they will cut the annual subventions that goes to them, sources claim.

This is not for the first time that the BFA was lectured on good governance. At one incident in 2015, former Minster of Sport Thapelo Olopeng dressed down the then Tebogo Sebego leadership regarding good governance.

BFA was at the time closely monitored by the ministry. Instead of the usual transactions that normally go through BFA, national team players received their allowances straight from government in the form of cheques. To demonstrate that government has taken a firm stand against BFA, players’ allowances were no longer routed through the association.

Nobody from the said meeting will address this publication enquiry all indicating that the consultation is never meant for public consumption.

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Sport

Virtual meet for BFA elections

21st September 2020
Malesu

If everything goes according to plan, the Botswana Football Association (BFA) will hold its annual general assembly next month through a virtual conference.

There has been much uncertainty as to how and when the congress will be held seeing as how COVID-19 protocols remain stringent on gatherings.

Sources speaking with this publication say the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the association has agreed to hold the congress within COVID-19 zones, consequently dispelling all the lingering doubts surrounding the life and soul of the assembly.

As it stands, there are nine COVID -19 zones in Botswana. The association is therefore contemplating to rely within four zones where live streaming will take centre stage for the first time in the history of BFA elections.

The congress was first billed for August 8th but was postponed to August 22nd. However, the second date could not see the light of the day as the country recorded a second rise of coronavirus cases that promptly led to greater Gaborone going into yet another lockdown.
BFA President: Letshwiti
The association has been procrastinating over the virtual congress idea with the election agenda remaining a sticky issue. Many advices came flooding that the association is free to make any decision about the congress but should be very careful not to compromise the integrity of the vote.

Sources indicate to this paper that the association is likely to rely on four COVID-19 zones, namely Gaborone, Francistown, Jwaneng and Palapye. The need to plant the meeting on virtual technologies hinges on the fact that the COVID -19 health protocols do not permit people to cross zones to hold meetings.

Information gleaned from various sources is that the association is looking to rely on four zones primarily because of the limited number of personnel under the electoral board. There are five members consisting of this committee and by the look of things; the association will not be allowed to outsource more election overseers at the eleventh hour.  Sources argue that the whole cautious exercise is meant to avoid complaints that may arise after elections are held.

The virtual meeting comes after many failed attempts by the association to convince the Kereng Masupu led Task Force to give out a special dispensation.  On many occasions, the Task Force refused to allow for the assembly to go on saying “football is not a priority.”

The assembly is expected to be held next month but the exact date still remains a subject of speculation. In the end, Tebogo Sebego will stand again for the second time to unseat Maclean Letshwiti while Ookeditse Malesu is standing for the first time to try and wrestle for BFA power.

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Sport

Talks to merge BNOC, BNSC resurface

14th September 2020
BNOC,BNSC merge

The Minister of Youth Empowerment, Sport and Culture Development, Tumiso Rakgare, is eager to lead crunch talks that will consequently see Botswana National Sport Commission (BNSC) and Botswana National Olympic Committee (BNOC) becoming one authoritative sport entity.

The appointment of one Tuelo Serufho to the plum position of BNSC Chief Executive Officer two week ago has further catalysed the intention to merge the sports bodies to avoid the long standing complaints of duplication of roles by the two.

Serufho was replacing Falcom Sedimo whose contract was not renewed.Serufho, ironically is the longest serving CEO of BNOC and also a board member of BNSC.“One of our aims is to form a robust sport body to centralize and improve decision making processes and maybe the time to resuscitate BNSC/BNOC merger is now,” Rakgare briefly shared.

The impending move is highly meant to improve effective functioning, governance and performance of sports in the country both locally and globally.Should this see the light of day, Botswana would have done itself a favour and it would start sending a handful of athletes to international competitions.

The amalgamation of BNSC/BNOC talks have been in the pipelines but discussions were aborted two years ago without clear reasons. The creation of this all-encompassing sport institution is overdue according to the minister.

“It is in fact our mandate to make sure this happens, it is overdue and by next year we hope to have finalised our position paper,” Rakgare added.The creation of the looming body is borne out of lessons learnt from various sports governance models around the world.

In South Africa, the sports ministry facilitated discussions to merge National Olympic Committee of South Africa (NOCSA) and the South African Sports Commission. Their authoritative sports body is now called South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC).

With the South African model well in place, Botswana is urged to bench mark and create a sport body as a civic society-based organisation as required by the statutes of international sports bodies.The name of the local sport body is mooted and the minister refused to give a hint. But he is optimistic that the body will be the vanguard organization of sport in the country.

He emphasized that the sports organisation should be a purposeful guardian for governance and management of sports and be the required defining figure of the role of sports in Botswana’s communities.Talks to revamp and rebuild these sports bodies come at a time when BNSC is restructuring.

When Sedimo was still at the helm, he wanted to phase out some positions which he felt were unnecessary.BNSC receive close to 53 million Pula as grants from the government through the Ministry of Youth, Sports development and Culture empowerment while BNOC takes a figure a closer to that.

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