Former Senior National Team interim coach, Teenage Mpote is set to return to the national team fold on full-time basis, as The Zebras starts preparations for AFCON 2023 preliminary qualifications.
The Zebras hot seat has remained vacant for over a year now since the fall of controversial Serbian-born coach, Adel Amrouche. Insiders reveal that the Botswana Football Association (BFA) top brass is preparing to make a move on Mpote. Mpote is currently the coach of top flight football side, Orapa United who are reportedly restless amid the ongoing speculation.
WeekendSport has further established that, either by hook or crook, the Mac Lean Letshwiti- led is committed to giving a local the nod as successor to Amrouche.
This will be for the second time Mpote is approached to help govern a situation that threatens to turn sour. In 2017, the association employed him on temporary basis but impressed after leading The Zebras to the finals of COSAFA Cup.
While the association is steadfast on its insistency that nobody has been considered as replacement for Amrouche on a permanent basis, can exclusively reveal that the BFA will not call for expression of interest for the vacancy, with Mpote favoured to be handed the job.
Mpote, who is currently contracted to Orapa United is seen as the kind and mould of a coach that the BFA needs, especially following months of no action for the senior team. The squad will certainly be rusty and will need a local coach to make it function.
A key consideration at the BFA is a possible public or media backlash when it finally approaches the former Township Rollers coach particularly that it is not clear if he has buried the hatchet with the association owing to past hardships, and the fact the former coach, Amrouche, is furious about the manner in which his case was handled.
But in whatever way, the local football body is ready and prepared for hostile response from some quarters.In the last edition of the COSAFA Cup, BFA partnered Chico Nare with Rasta Kgwengwenyane and results were somehow satisfying.
While many still admire Stanley Tshosane, the BFA appears unmoved in bid to give the job to Mpote. Tshosane, who led Zebras to its maiden participation in AFCON in 2012, has not coached any team after being fired by BFA in 2013.
The football regime is said to be willing to approach and agree possible terms with Mpote as soon as possible to start assembling and drilling a national squad. Locally, Mpote does not need introduction.He has won major trophies with Rollers and Orapa United. Mpote’s success during his stint in his first spell has earned with backers who believe that he deserves the opportunity.
In terms of prize affordability, the association feels Mpote is the right man. The outgoing coach was earning close to P250 000 per month.However, some have misgivings about Mpote’s bargain because of his current standing commitment with United. For the association to remain steadfast on him, they have to assure him of a permanent deal, and not as a stop- gap.
Certainly, Mpote fits the mould of what the BFA would want from the head coach and will easily accept another significant involvement at Lekidi Football Centre. He is also highly regarded as one of the best local bred coach, although he may not be the kind of high-profile appointment that would be expected. Although selecting a Motswana would mean a lower salary than any other foreign coach, the BFA will battle to defend that finances have not played a part in their consideration for Mpote.
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.
The first Mascom Charity Cup spectacular has come and gone. The football event played at Obed Itani Chilume Stadium saw four football clubs playing one-day tourney with various charity centres being beneficiaries of the gate takings.
While the attendance was not at the expected level, it is said that the sponsor has made a killing with close to P500 000 made from voting lines. Football followers were asked to vote for teams of their choice, and top four clubs were eligible to play. A single sms voting line cost P 1.50.
Gaborone United became the most voted team with 62 984 votes followed by Security Systems with 51 027. On the third spot was BDF XI with 48 596 votes while Orapa United came forth with 44 401. Shockingly, Township Rollers did not make it after gathering a total of 30 637 votes, with BR Highlanders ahead of them having seen 44 204 votes to their name.
It is said, however that, the initiative live to expectation as clubs together with the sponsor have managed to assist charities of their choices. Mascom is believed to be happy for identifying beneficiaries and getting value for their money.
The mobile network company is still the longest standing partners of local football, having first tasted waters in 2005. The company now powers the Top 8 competition and said to have renewed the dame sponsorship at a value not exceeding 18 million. The Mascom Charity Cup was not the first to be hosted by a mobile network company.
In 2018, Botswana Telecommunications Corporation (BTC) hosted a similar event in which followers had to vote. The four participating teams were Mochudi Center Chiefs, Gaborone United, Orapa United and Township Rollers. GU were the eventual winners.
It is however not clear if the tournament will continue in the next football calendar, but what goes down into the history books is that Teenage Mpote and Orapa United were the first to win it. In previous years, there have been an off season tournament whose aim was meant for charity purposes. The tourney was called Kabelano Charity Cup and was usually played by four big teams (Rollers, Notwane, GU and Chiefs) without taking the voting routes. It was last hosted in 2015 and had Barclays as the sponsors.
Yet another thrilling showdown is expected between the country’s hottest strikers, Thabang Sesinyi of Jwaneng Galaxy and Thataoyaone Kgamanyane of Gaborone United, as the duo are eyeing for the 2021/2022 Golden boot.
With only four Botswana Premier League (BPL) games left, the race for the honours is rolling towards a thrilling climax, but for two individuals there is a race for an accolade of their own taking place that could easily go down to the final minutes of the season. Leading the pack with 19 goals is Jwaneng Galaxy talisman, Sesinyi who is one goal apart from Kgamanyane who has netted 18 goals thus far.
Both players have their eye on the golden boot, hoping that their respective teams have fixtures to put them in with a realistic chance of catching up, or leaving the other behind. The Money Machine is currently at the summit of the BPL log with 61 points while the mining giant, Galaxy are trailing on the third place with 49 points, having played 24 games thus far.
Both teams (GU and Galaxy) are expected to face each other towards the end of the season, as the initial fixture was postponed due to Galaxy’s involvement in CAF championship group stages. With 19 goals chalked up for the season so far, Sesinyi is just one goal away from Kgamanyane who led the race for the better part of the campaign. Sesinyi who is on freakish scoring form has scored four goals in his last two games; a hat trick against Prisons XI and a goal against Sua Flamingoes in the midweek fixture.
But there is no doubt that Sesinyi is no longer playing to carry his team, Galaxy, as realistically there is a slim chance for them to clinch the 2021/2022 season, but he is eyeing the Golden Boot Award when the league falls off.
Kgamanyane has begun the season in tremendous form; scoring every time he is given a chance, while Sesinyi, on the other hand, reached the peak of his form in the second round of the season; scoring both in the domestic league and also on the CAF Champions’ league group stage. He featured on team of the week on February.
Furthermore, the Money Machine attacker showed some growth as his conversion rate has been on a rising graph in the games he has so far played. Although Kgamanyane’s goal scoring prowess has been there for everyone to see, the player has been hampered by injuries. It promises to be a fascinating battle between the duo.
Meanwhile, BPL this week announced that they will hold the 2021/2022 awards. The league has since added seven new categories to take the total number of categories to 16. Among some new categories are the Defender of the Season and Midfielder of the Season awards. There are also two more awards for the administrators, as the league has included Team Manager of the Season and the Public Relations Officer (PRO) of the Season awards.
The best performing players in this campaign will be included in the Premier League Best XI. Nevertheless, match day officials have also been recognised with the introduction of two more categories in the young Referee of the Season and the Female Referee of the Season. Furthermore, BFL CEO Solomon Ramochotlhwane indicated that the awards will be held on the 25 June 2022, just after the 2021-2022 season comes to an end.