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Troubled BoBA close a challenging year


Botswana Boxing Association (BoBA finally got a sigh of relief after closing off activities of a challenging year last weekend. For the past years, boxing has held its swagger, as one of Botswana’ sporting successes, especially internationally. But this year, fortune did nit smile on the code as it swam in total delirium, failing to stamp its authority, even in regional competitions.


It is bare for everyone to see that there are troubles besieging BoBA; among them is the power struggle which has been going on in the past few months. This continues to hold the boxing enclave at ransom, despite being dismissed by the powers that be.

The national team was also in total decline this year, could be drawn from the Zone IV championships held early this year where the team was relegated to position three from position two of last year. In this year’s edition, Botswana could only accumulate two golds, three silver and three bronze medals.

To many people, this might seem like nothing but a reminder that Botswana was once a feared nation in the SADC region but has fallen by the wayside, down to position three, Dr Thato Patlakwe and his troops should put on their gloves and get on the ring to fight this unbecoming behaviour.


Again, some administration lapses ahead of this year’s Commonwealth Games contributed to this team’s failure, where they failed to travel to Venezuela where it was destined for a training camp. The team did not surprise at the multi-sport showpiece.

The local lads came home empty handed despite a brazen lineup that comprised of the 2010 Commonwealth games bronze medalist, Oteng Oteng. This failure brings to the fore the words of former Minister of Youth Sport &Culture’ Hon. Shaw Kgathi’s when he said: ‘’We should never send ill-prepared teams to competitions.’’ The team embarrassed the nation. It is envisaged that Dr Patlakwe and company will correct this state of affairs.


Another thorny matter that haunts the sport locally is leaders who don’t want to accept loss, reminiscent of local politicians who are famous for the line: ‘’I don’t accept the results!” As it stands, BoBA’s new committee is still in limbo; they are yet to be handed the office by the ousted members.

Where is the sporting attitude here? It appears we are led by self-obsessed individuals masquerading as sports people, in direct contradiction to the spirit of sport that spells out that one can win, lose or draw. The issue of handing over is vital for cohesion and adhesion purposes.

The new committee has held two inter-club tournaments which were all marred by all controversies but how can one expect them to excel while they are yet to assume the office? Reports doing the rounds are that both parties are failing to agree on the  date and time that the handover can take place; an excuse that cannot be dignified with a listening ear.


Despite all the challenges facing BoBA, they have also defied odds here and there. They did well in the Africa Youth Games (AYG). Their sporting green horns led by Mohamed Otukile and Keamogetse Kenosi took the shine from their more fancied opponents as they secured five medals, two gold and three bronze medals.

This could be a sign that boxing is on the right direction as far as the grass roots development is concerned. Their initiative of having the upcoming boxers who are in the Re Ba Bona Ha programme curtain raising in the championship bouts is another welcome development.

Those who understand the nurturing of young talent can attest to the fact that these programmes prepare the child for the ring and the atmosphere. This weekend, they will also be hosting the Re Ba Bona Ha tournament in their quest to try to produce future stars.


The Michael Moroka led committee should be applauded for introducing women’s boxing. This is evidence that talent has always been thrown away.

One should imagine if it was never initiated, where we would see the likes of female pugilist like AYG gold medalist, Kenosi, Pearl Morake and Keneilwe Rakhudu. With the exception of the former, the two competed at the Commonwealth Games though they lost in the preliminaries. Though it was their first experience and a buoyant effort at that, one could bank on their auspices in the future.


Meanwhile, the president of BoBA, Dr Patlakwe attended the association’s forum last weekend at South-Korea. According to Dr Patlakwe, it was a very fruitful meeting, more so that the forum validated his philosophy.

‘’It was a productive meeting and we discussed things I always preached about like development and issues of government.’’ He promised that as the curtains for activities close, they will try to implement what they have gathered there. The boxing year will start early next year and hopefully boxing will be a rejuvenated code.

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Sport

GU wins title after 13 years

23rd May 2022

Gaborone United was this week crowned 2021/2022 Botswana Premier League (BPL) champions following their 1-0 win over the holders, Jwaneng Galaxy. Thero Setsile’s 13th minute’s goal was enough to seal the league championship, ending 13 years of drought from the Old Naledi outfit.

With two games to go before the top-flight season wraps up, Gaborone United opened a seven points gap to second placed Township Rollers having accumulated 63 points from twenty eight games. The Money machine were the first team to open a new chapter in the history books of Botswana football, when they were crowned the inaugural 2008/09 be Mobile Premiership champions, that came up with P1 million as prize money. Thereafter the club has been on the league drought as it could only manage winning Coca Cola FA Cup in 2012, Mascom top 8 twice in 2013 and 2015. They also won the Orange FA cup last season.

The return of Zackhem as the club financier signaled a new era with a number of galactic signings for the 2021/2022 season. The team brought into their fold big names in local football; Kekaetswe Moloi, Lesego Galenamotlhale and Joel Mogorosi. The arrival of enterprising left wing back Mothusi Johnson, dribbling wizard Mpho Kgaswane and hard tackling midfielder, Lebogang Ditsele made the job easier for the coaches.

Attacker Onkabetse Makgantai also joined the marauding attackers in Thatayaone Kgamanyane and Thero Setsile to make their front line combination the deadliest in the league. Both Kgamanyane and Setsile have netted 34 goals this season with the goal minder Goitseone Phoko keeping 20 clean sheets thus far while conceding just 10 goals. GU is still on the Orange FA Cup race and football commentators believe that they are the favorites looking at the quality of their squad.

As it stands should the Money Machine win all their remaining games, they stand a chance to equal the highest championship winning points record of 76 points which set by Mochudi Center chiefs during the 2007-2008 football season. That record stood for 14 years and Gaborone United could equal that feat should they win their remaining games against Sua Flamingos and struggling Notwane. The Money Machine made the bold statement begging of the 2021/2020 football season when they won 11 games straight games without even conceding a goal.

The Reds, who are under the guidance of Innocent Morapedi, a seasoned coach and his assistant Pontsho Moloi, has been consistent in the title race. In the process, the Old Naledi side has scored 59 goals while conceding the least goals (10 goals) and has a superior goal difference of 49 goals. Gaborone United success breaks Township Rollers and Mochudi Center Chiefs dominance as the only teams to have won the league title more than any other club in the last 13 seasons. GU’s proximity to money and talent were key this season.

Domestically since GU last won the league title, Mochudi Center Chiefs have won it three times; whilst the most decorated football club with 16 titles, Rollers has been dominating the league, winning five titles on the spin in five seasons from 2013-14 to 2018-19.  Last season, Jwaneng Galaxy was crowned champions for the very first time due to being at the top of the table when the novel coronavirus pandemic forced the season to be prematurely halted with ten games to play.

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Sport

Softball returns to play

23rd May 2022
Softball

After two years of no action across various sports codes including softball, Botswana Softball Association (BSA) is going back to the grounds to resuscitate the sport.

This weekend all roads lead to Selibe Phikwe for the top eight ladies championship. The eight ladies teams comprise the top four ladies teams from the south and north regions. They will then come together and form eight teams and battle it out this weekend at the Phikwe Softball Grounds and Area 2 Mowana Ball Park. The competing ladies teams are Titans, Police, Vikings, UB Giants, Rail giants, Scramblers, Carats and Ghetto Yankees. The champions will be crowned thereafter.

Softball Association Public relations officer, Boingotlo Marope explained that this tournament is not only for ladies, she said men’s championship will be held at Gaborone on the 28th May 2022.  She said they have noticed that everything is confined to Gaborone as their headquarters in the southern region. As a result they have decided to take other activities to the northern region as well. “We are trying to grow softball, we don’t want everything to surround Gaborone only which is why the ladies tournament will be held at Selebi Phikwe in the northern region to bring equality.”

However, she explained that the reason they were missing in action is because of Covid 19. “We saw government cautionary trying to protect everyone by putting certain restrictions as spots had to stop for 12 months, we welcomed 12 months to protect Batswana. As a results that lead to the closure as there were no games”.

In addition Marope said they currently don’t have sponsors however private sector has always come through. Bofinet has to cut the sponsorship but that is not due to Covid 19 crisis. “Bofinet has showed commitment, they promised that as soon as they are settled they will come to our door knocking again,” she added.

Marope further said as a results they rely on their tight budget. Few of players has been sponsored, some has to dig from their own pockets, some parents cannot sent their children as some had to quit. “We have worked with our tight budget to assist teams and hoping that in the coming season we can have somebody to assist”.

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Sport

Botswana ranked 4th in Zone 4 boxing tourney

4th May 2022
Boxing

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.

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