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BOKA affiliates to petition leadership

Affiliates declare crisis at Karate

At a time when many thought the dust was now settling, the embattled Botswana Karate Association (BOKA) troubles seem far from over as the affiliates are  expected to send their petition to Botswana the National Sports Council (BNSC) over what they term ‘crises’ under Sensei Tshepo Bathai’s administration.

Last month the association experienced mass exodus of executive committee members who resigned, citing lack of trust in the top brass. The affiliates also took advantage then and voiced their displeasure with the Bathai regime over, among other things, the BOKA Trust because they were not consulted about its formation.

Affiliates’ grievances, which are reported to be falling on deaf ears, have prompted them to send a petition to the mother-body (BNSC) for arbitration and intervention.

Although at a time of going to press the petition was still to be signed by the affiliates, this publication understands that the three men being Department of Sports and Recreation boss Falcon Sedimo, Steve Bothasitse and Segolame Ramothwa are expected to mediate.

The gentlemen are respected in terms of resolving sports issues.

One of the affiliates’ main concerns is the autocratic rule, which they continue to endure from the leadership. They lament that the decision are solely taken by the executive while other branches are rendered redundant.

‘’There are many commissions within the association like the technical and referees commission but these structures are not used. For example, the national team coaches are appointed by the top brass without our any say from the relevant stakeholders,’’ one insider charged.

Before the curtain could fall at BOKA is expected to host its last tournament – the BOKA Senior Championship but it appears that the championship will not take place as per the norm as the top office has never updated the affiliates about any development.

 It is said that the leaders have been resting on their laurels, forgetting that they should ask for funds from the mother-body .The tournament is expected to be hosted on December 6 at BOKA hall.

‘’As far as we know the tournament will go ahead as planned unless BNSC cannot fund us,’’ BOKA secretary Kenneth Motseolapile said.

They further went on to say that ever since Bathai assumed power BOKA has been regressing, accusing him of failing ‘their’ association. Affiliates foretell that even in the next BNSC awards the association will not perform like it did last year under the Sensei Million Masumbika ‘’because we have only participated in regional competitions but never competed at continental level”.

 Bathai said they could not take part in any tournaments in West Africa because of the Ebola outbreak in the region.

‘’Remember that the karate senior championships were to be hosted in Senegal unfortunately it was one of the most hit countries; that’s why we didn’t send our team there.’’

Bathai further challenged those who accuse him to come up with evidence because, he said, all the structures were working.

‘’Everything is fine I don’t know what they are talking about; referees and coaches are recommended by those commissions and we, as the executive, just put a signature.’’

 However, he promised to share with this publication the minutes of all the meetings, which he never did at the time of publication.

A number of associations this year have never been calm like the Botswana Athletics Association (BAA), Botswana Boxing Association (BoBA) and now karate has joined the bandwagon.

However, BNSC chairperson Solly Reikeletsng has pleaded with associations to end the fights or come up with structures that would help curb the wrangling.

BOKA will host its Inter-club Championship this weekend at the Botswana College of Agriculture (BCA) at Sebele starting at 8am.

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Rollers make digital strides

11th June 2021

A recent study shows that Township Rollers is not only popular within the perimeters of Botswana, but has also made significant steps within the digital football platforms in Africa.

Out of the 70 African football clubs ranked on the African football digital benchmark, Township Rollers comes on the 35th position backed by a massive social media following. The club website records more than 399 000 followers and is seen as the most interactive in the local game.

This is consistent with the recent study conducted by FIFA- world football governing body- that Rollers is the only team locally that makes use of its digital platforms.

Notably, it comes out that the gap between Township Rollers and the rest of the 15 Premier League clubs is abysmal, this therefore works against creating a strong BPL brand value.

Rollers is the only club with more than 50 000 followers on Facebook, more than 20 000 followers on Twitter while its Instagram platform stands strong at 27 800 followers.

However, it is found out that much of the BPL brand value is killed by some social Facebook football fan accounts.  They have stood long and have thus attracted more followers than the official accounts. Pages like Killers Pass and Botswana Football have consequently seen more than 100 000 following. Both of the accounts give 24 hour on-going updates of football’s latest news, transfers, results, video and live updates.

FIFA has therefore come to a conclusion that the two social media pages have grown interactive since they incite followers to answer and present their impressions about local football.

It comes into the open that 70 percent of domestic premier league clubs do not have official websites. This according to FIFA, kills the brand and visibility of clubs hence failure to attract lucrative sponsors by the clubs. FIFA also found out that the remaining 30 percent of clubs with websites are lacklustre and found wanting when it comes to their online presence. But in this regard, Rollers is on pole position.

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GU finally snatches Ditsele

3rd June 2021
Lebogang Ditsele

Hard tackling midfielder, Lebogang Ditsele has completed a move from Botswana Premier League (BPL) champions, Jwaneng Galaxy, to Gaborone United in a reported lucrative two-year deal, WeekendSport can confirm.

The Reds have finally made their move for their long-time target and the enterprising midfielder is said to be happy to have completed the transfer after a heavy fall out with Galaxy management.

He wants to play football that pays, something which Galaxy cannot offer and the allure of GU was certainly too much for Ditsele to turn a blind eye.

The team as led and directed by construction magnate, Nicholas Zakhem- who is reported to have given ‘CCTV’ a mouth-watering P30 000 per month plus winning bonuses contract in demonstration of their seriousness to win silverware.

Sometime in March, the industrious player gave Galaxy an ultimatum-to either improve his contract benefits or let him go-after a decision was taken to offer the whole team pay cuts amid the devastating effects of the corona virus pandemic.

Galaxy had arrived at a conclusion of giving each player P 3000 until a time football returns to the field with moneyed sponsorships.

“We are proud to have signed him because he will add quality to our squad once football returns. Always a quality player and like him and he is now available, you don’t say there is no football, you tie him down before other clubs beat you to his signature,” said club Director, Nicholas Zakhem.

It is believed that Ditsele has always recognized GU as one of the country’s leading clubs, capable of competing for the grandest prizes. Ditsele was at Gilport Lions before he was snatched up by Galaxy and now GU.  His moves come as no surprise as his dream has always been to play for high paying clubs.

No doubt, Ditsele has enjoyed his years at Galaxy, where he is feted by the supporters, but the lad has always felt that the time is right to move on. Ditsele leaves having a year left on his contract.

It is impossible to dispute the value and service that he has given to the club, with the last season being his best, winning the premiership title.

Once Galaxy has sent him to overseas club at Highlands Park but returned home after a short stint.

However, the fan favourite, who has had an on and off relationship with the national team, The Zebras, was never going to be held by the terms of his contract.

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No injury problems for Amos

2nd June 2021
Nijel Amos

Despite encountering an injury scare ahead of the IAAF Diamond League circuit this week, Nijel Amos’ Olympic dream is still on track and he remains ever capable to stun the world by replicating his famous feat at the 2012 Olympic Games.

This was confirmed by his coaches and doctors after the Botswana star suffered a minor calf injury that forced him out of the weekend race. The multiple conqueror of 800m races is expected back on the track on June 9th to shake off this injury scare and face the possibilities of winning another Olympic medal. This likelihood only has one month to go!

Amos remains the only Motswana athlete to ever win a medal at the Olympic Games, a rare but magnificent accomplishment that still lingers in the memory of Botswana sport fraternity. At the time, he was only 18 years and strange enough, that silver medal felt like Gold for many.

His anticipated presence at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics is on course to renew the long standing rivalry between him and the Kenyan 800m world record holder, David Rudisha. This is the same Kenyan competitor who won Gold when Botswana’s Amos came second in a race that would become the toast of the competitions at the London Olympics.

However, two years later, at 2014 Commonwealth Games, Amos dethroned Rudisha in another breath-taking race that confirmed and sparked the ongoing thrilling competitiveness — filled with pleasure, pain and sporting hatred- between the two.

When Amos was beaten in London, he never cared who won the race but was ecstatic to have finished at the podium, writing his name into Olympic Game folklore.

But in Glasgow, for Rudisha, defeat seemed not to have diminished his hopes. After the finish, when the lacerations were sharpest and the wound deepest, Rudisha was pictured hugging Nijel Amos, and congratulating him for a job well done.

Then, Amos was just 20 years, oozing with confidence. The shy looking Rudisha wrapped a Kenyan flag around his back and went on a lap of honour to celebrate his silver medal.

If there was disappointment Rudisha masked it with the skill of an actor. He smiled and waved as he received a standing ovation. “Amos is a tough competitor and he was very good,” Rudisha once admitted, stating matters of sporting facts that would follow between the two runners. Win. Lose. Win. Lose.

But then, there have been echoes of a swollen Muhammad Ali after his defeat to Joe Frazier, winking at the hundreds of fans who had converged at his hotel, determined to show light on his darkest day. The bruises on that day were to Rudisha’s record, not his face. Like Ali, he promised to be back.

But that night was about Amos. A callow 18-year-old who finished second to Rudisha at London 2012 sharpened his confidence, hardened by beating his idol twice on the Diamond League circuit, grew with each passing year.

However, both athletes began to suffer sporting injuries of their own, they lost the edge they were well-known for and it is why at the 2016 Olympic Games, the bookmakers were upset when they could not meet at the final. It was Amos who faltered in the heats and although Rudisha became the first Kenyan to retain an Olympic title, it was not as scintillating as it was in 2012.

Now with a month to go, Amos is living in prayer, hoping he stays free from injuries. He is looking forward to become the star again. He has won everything at the diamond league and broke every national record, but his eyes are still fixed on the ultimate prize- the Gold medal at the international stage, with or without David Rudisha.

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