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GIS Soccer ACE!

Palesa Mokgopakosi

Women’s football continues to grow in popularity around the world, and Gaborone International School (GIS) is proud to announce that their very own fourteen-year-old Palesa Mokgopakosi was recently chosen for the u/17 National Woman Squad.

She said that she was amazed and extremely excited to be given the opportunity to play with this very talented team. “I’m grateful to be selected out of many girls for this exciting opportunity”, she expressed. She continued to say that she felt very honoured that the coach saw something in her skill and talent to allow her to be part of this dynamic and talented group of payers.

Palesa believes in hard work and embraces the life skills soccer teaches her. She believes that there is a synergy on and off the field. “Soccer teaches not only teamwork, perseverance, and decision making, that I’ll be able to apply to all aspects of my life, but also helps me to learn to weather the ups and downs of life, anticipate opportunities and how to work with my peers to solve different challenges on the field. Most of all, I appreciate how playing this game connects me with a variety of talented peers, who has a love for this sport”, she says.

Sport such as soccer is a powerful tool for engaging youngsters and by putting the focus on fun. When asked how Palesa got hooked to the sport she smiled and said: “soccer chose me”. She says that she enjoys all forms of sport. “I love to be active but the opportunity to be scouted by a soccer club and then chosen to take a larger step into this sporting code shows me that God had chosen this pathway for me and I’m really grateful.”

Palesa always shows a positive attitude when approaching a game. When preparing for a game she says that she knows that she has done the work to be physically prepared. “You need to put in the hours and practise your skills.

The more you train the better your chances will be to transform your skills into talent that scouts will value for a national or international team. You will have to cultivate a growth mindset and acknowledge that there is always a skill or trend that you can learn to improve your game. Be prepared to adjust your goalpost and constantly strive to improve your skills and be prepared to learn from the best”.

Additionally, your physical training is just as important as your mental preparation.  “I never go into a game thinking I am the best because I know that the people, I’m meeting on the field are probably just as good as I am or probably even better. Also, their skills will push me again to be a better player and you need a mindset that will prepare you for the ups and downs on the field. Being open-minded allows you to take criticism for what it is, a suggestion to help you improve your game. You can learn more when you listen to suggestions and discuss various options. Do not be defensive, stay positive and remember in an intense game when tempers flare, to always talk it out. If you enjoy the path of playing your favourite sport, the satisfaction will be enormous and the sacrifice will be worth it”, she exclaims.

Quick Firing Questions:

  • Favourite Player: The G.O.A.T Lionel Messi
  • Favourite Team: La Liga Santander is FC Barcelona and in English Premier League is Manchester United
  • Who inspires you: My mom, because she taught me things that I never thought were possible to have experienced. As an African child she gave me opportunities that I only saw happen in the movies. She continuously tells me that she is proud to be my mother and looks up to me, which makes me feel loved and appreciated. She gives me strength in moments of dismay, she gives me hope that the bad things in the world can be changed and she inspires me to continue being the best I can be.
  • Quote I live by: I always tell myself that I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
  • A special thanks go to: My Mom and Dad, my two older brothers Marang and Phatsimo, and my entire extended family for believing in me. My friends in school and in the neighbourhood, the school head of sports Mrs Makuyana as well as all my teachers for their support, my coaches at UB Kicks and the National team Coaches for this amazing opportunity.  A BIG THANKS!

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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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