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Friday, 19 April 2024

Draw Master Sergio


On the 7th of January Sergio Daniel Moniz Traquill sat on the stands with the team’s new performance specialist Eduardo Lazaro Ramon Leiva. He was not happy with the team’s sluggish showing. It was clear to see he was frustrated with his soon to be players’ lack of urgency as they labored to a 1 – 0 win over strugglers Prisons XI. Expectations were high at Township Rollers, a foreign coach had landed but there were skeptics who read danger in his nomadic resume.

The next game arrived quickly like a flash, and Sergio Daniel Moniz Traquill sat on the bench and Township Rollers was held to a 2 all draw by the resurgent Sua Flamingoes which is now under the guidance of former Rollers gaffer Nikola Kavazovic.

Just before he first tasted league victory against the newly promoted side, Holy Ghost on the 4th February, he played three draws against Security Systems (1-1), Eleven Angels (1-1) and Sua Flamingoes (2-2). As if it was not enough, Rollers also played to 1-1 draw with a high flying Orapa United a fortnight ago before coming from a goal down to salvage a draw against Holy Ghost this past week (Wednesday). The results are not a good reading for Rollers fans who have seen this coach try every trick in the book and apply vim and vigor – albeit without success.

In the six games that he sat on the dugout he has managed five draws and one win. The Portuguese tactician has shrugged off suggestions that he is under pressure and his sacking might be imminent. The 42-year-old has endured a less exciting start to his tenure at Rollers. Based on the history of the club, Sergio is walking a tightrope.

This continued run of draws has raised speculation around the future of the Portuguese gaffer with some fans now challenging his credentials and calling for his sacking. “I am a professional coach. I am not afraid of being sacked,” he said in post-match interview after a 1-1 draw with rookies Eleven Angels.

From the possible 18 points, the Portuguese tactician has managed a mere 8 points with five draws and one win from six games he sat on the bench for Mapalastina. The conclusion of many is that Sergio could be forced to walk the plank very soon if these string of draws continue.

Meanwhile, his predecessor, Thabo Mahala Motang was sacked by Rollers has a better win percentage in his first six games. The now Extension Gunners coach (Motang) was appointed as the head coach in August last year, and he was in charge for just four months. According to official statistics Motang was in charge for nine games of which he collected 18 points from the possible 27 points, of which he won five, drew three and suffered one defeat at the hands of Molepolole side, Masitaoka in November.

Looking at the number of points he has collected despite mounting pressure which comes with the job, one would say he did relatively well because he left Mapalastina on spot number four level on points with Orapa United on 18 points with only the goal difference separating the sides. Others are of the view that it was too early to release Motang.

Asked to comment on the Rollers situation, local football analyst Jimmy George believes Rollers management has something against local coaches. They are not giving them the right platform, to develop and transform the team as they are not patient enough with them.

“The last local coach who had success with Rollers was coach Mogomotsi ‘Teenage’ Mpote who went on to win the league and when Nicola Kavazovic arrived – he was shown door after it was alleged he had a fall-out with Serbian coach,” he emphasized.

“Under Kavazovic, the team was playing good football as it was evident through their historic qualification for the CAF Champion league group stages in 2018.”

According to George, Rollers philosophy towards the local coaches has stalled their development as clubs like Jwaneng Galaxy, Orapa United, and Gaborone United have since overtaken them. He reckons it will take a few years to reassemble a formidable side to compete for honors.

He pointed out that, Mapalastina took an irrational decision to fire Thabo ‘Mahala’ Motang as it was still early in the season for him to be relieved from his duties. George said instead they should have let him finish the 2022/2023 premier league season then do the evaluation.

“Rollers should reassemble a new team that will compete for the next coming years. For now it shows the league glory cannot be achieved. They should rebuild and they could have done that with Thabo Motang. They just need to give themselves a two years rebuild process,” he reasoned.

He further revealed that coaches who arrive at the club have anxiety as the club has a tradition of sacking or amicably party ways with their coaches before their contracts elapse. Therefore, George believes the management should introspect and find the root cause of the problem if they wish to challenges for the top honors like they used in the previous years.

Supporters want results and evidently, Sergio’s excuses will soon wear thin.

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Gloves off as Minister Rakgare blasts Zakhem, Jagdish

9th April 2024

Minister Tumiso Rakgare, the Youth, Gender, Sport, and Culture Minister, has declared war on Botswana Football League (BFL) Chairman Nicolas Zakhem and league treasurer Jagdish Shah, accusing them of disrupting the local football scene. He proclaimed, “We must confront these individuals who are wreaking havoc on football.” He further stated that the local football governing body is seemingly shielding these individuals.

In December 2023, the Botswana Premier League found itself embroiled in a controversy that sparked outrage among the clubs. This controversy was ignited by the league board’s autocratic decision to reduce the number of teams from 16 to 12 for the 2023/2024 season. The clubs were so incensed that they threatened to boycott league games.

Zakhem and Shah, in response to the shareholders’ move, took BFL shareholders to court, challenging their removal from the BFL board.

At the launch of Ashford Mamelodi’s book, ‘PROTECTING THE GAME’, Rakgare expressed his views, stating, “When we say protecting the game, we must indeed protect it. We must confront those who have disrupted our football by taking football matters to court ‘head on’, if we fail to do this, we are doing injustice to our football.”

He further lamented, “I am losing faith in the leadership of local football and I am saying this without fear or favour because we have individuals who seem to be protected by our local football governing body. Those people recently dragged football matters to court but are still recognized as football leaders. How can this be possible?”

Rakgare also pointed out that there are people who have been relentless in their pursuit of some of the clubs, even to the point of stripping them of their resources. This has left players relying on club equipment to play football and support their families struggling to meet their obligations.

“They have dreams of playing abroad to earn more money, but issues like these set them back. We have individuals like Tumisang Orebonye who are currently raising the country’s flag high and we have individuals such as Maano Ditshupo who have used their football skills to build a clinic in their home village. Imagine such a person being denied the opportunity to play football,” he noted.

Rakgare, expressing his determination, stated, “I am saying this with an open mind, I know some of them in the past threatened to support my political opponents at Mogoditshane, I don’t care, I will take them head on because I am ready as it is about Botswana,” he emphasized.

Zakhem, in response to Rakgare’s ‘persistent interference’ in football matters, pointed out that it poses a significant obstacle to the advancement of local football. He disclosed an instance where Rakgare publicly aired views on football matters on national television, insinuating that foreigners were dominating local football.

“He said live on national television that foreigners are the ones running local football, he was talking about me and Jagdish Shah. How can you go live on TV and say that? I am sorry to say that we are citizens of this country,” Zakhem retorted.

On the other hand, Rakgare noted that he has lost count of the number of esteemed sport administrators, politicians, and other leaders who, at the end of their careers, have threatened to author and publish books but have yet to follow through.

“In my world, Mr. Mamelodi, you join a very prestigious league of Batswana men and women such as the late former President Sir Quett Ketumile Masire (may his good soul rest in peace), Mr David Magang and Dr. Margaret Nasha, who through their books have ensured that many future generations of Batswana can benefit from their experiences and wisdom,” Rakgare concluded.

According to Rakgare, Bra Ash has spent more years in football administration than he has lived on planet earth. “Throughout his four decades of football administration, Bro Ash has worked with tens, if not hundreds of leaders that not only shaped football in Botswana, the region and the continent, but some whom have gone on to hold very important positions such as those of political leaders. In addition, I am talking of the likes of legislators Ray Matlapeng Molomo (may his soul rest in peace) and Philip Makgalemele; both from Botswana as well as Bomber Mthethwa from Eswatini, to name but a few,” he praised.

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Zebras’ goal drought cause for concern

9th April 2024

The Zebras have found themselves in a goal-scoring rut, drawing blanks in their recent international friendly tournament against Burundi and Rwanda in Madagascar. This lacklustre performance has raised concerns about the team’s readiness for the impending 2026 World Cup Qualifiers.

In the world of football, the number of goals a team scores often dictates the game’s outcome. The ability to successfully navigate the opposing team’s defence and find the back of the net significantly boosts a team’s chances of victory.

However, the Zebras’ upcoming matches against Uganda and Somalia in June promise to be pivotal for their World Cup qualification bid. Therefore, it’s crucial for the team to start scoring if they aim to advance.

The Zebras’ head coach, Didier Da Rosa, has already demonstrated his mettle in his tenure, despite a rocky start. His first assignment was a 3-2 loss to Mozambique in the 2026 World Cup Qualifiers opener in November 2023. Despite the defeat, Da Rosa saw potential in the team’s performance.

A week later, the Zebras bounced back with a commendable 1-0 victory over continental powerhouse, Guinea. This win at Obed Chilume Stadium signalled the Zebras’ readiness to compete at an international level.

With the World Cup qualifiers looming, observers believe Da Rosa needs to step up the team’s preparations. The upcoming matches against Somalia and Uganda are expected to be intense, and the Zebras cannot afford to be complacent.

The Zebras’ captain, Thatayaone Ditlhokwe, is currently recovering from a shoulder injury, which could be a significant setback. However, his return to the team could provide a much-needed morale boost.

In addition, the inclusion of midfielder Brandon Wilson could be a game-changer, provided his citizenship documentation is finalised in time. Da Rosa has praised Wilson’s skills, stating, “Wilson’s mastery of the field, his spatial awareness, and ball reception mark him as a midfield marvel. His strategic positioning is a lesson in discipline, a skill set our team can greatly benefit from.”

Upon his return from Madagascar, Da Rosa expressed his satisfaction with the team’s performance, stating, “We picked up a lot of positives from the tournament. We managed to evaluate a few individuals. It was a very tactical tournament, we didn’t concede any goal but we didn’t score any goal, which is a worrying factor. I need to find solutions in that department as it is the most key aspect of the game as goals win you matches.”

Da Rosa also acknowledged the physicality of the matches, particularly the encounter with Rwanda. “I am positive about how we played but I feel we still need to play more matches so that we get up to the standard. We are anticipating the return of Ditlhokwe, Gape Mohutsiwa and Mpho Kgaswane who could play a vital role in our quest to cause an upset when we face Uganda and Somalia in June,” he said.

The Zebras’ 2026 World Cup Qualifiers Group is a tough one, with formidable opponents like Algeria, Somalia, Guinea, and Uganda. These teams are packed with players based in Europe, and each player will need to bring their best performance to secure a place in these crucial matches.

The Zebras’ journey to the World Cup will be a challenging one, but with the right preparation and mindset, they have the potential to make their mark on the international stage.










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Cycling for the TKC starts 15 April 2024

3rd April 2024

Preparations for the ‘Cycling for the TKC event’ are at advanced stages as 30 cyclists from Botswana, Namibia and South Africa prepare themselves to endure the 1900km ride from Pretoria to the Walvis Bay via Lobatse in Botswana. The cycling challenge will start on April 15 to April 28, 2024. As one of the activities identified to commemorate 20 years since the Trans Kalahari Corridor (TKC) member states signed an agreement to coordinate and manage TKC, the cycling event is expected to bring awareness of the corridor thereby marketing the corridor within the member states and beyond. The event will be conducted under the theme ‘Transforming the TKC into an economic corridor.’ Commenting on the theme,

The Executive Director of the Trans Corridor Secretariat Mr. Leslie Mlungisi Mpofu stated that the corridor transverses through some of the low-income communities and therefore the corridor is expected to inject economic impetus on these communities thereby creating much needed jobs, be it informal or formal employment. The objectives of the event are to promote spatial development initiatives on the Trans Kalahari Corridor and to create an increased awareness and usage of the TKC for both trade and tourism thereby increasing the volumes on the TKC. ‘ It is important to promote sustainable tourism and events like this are key in promoting tourism, economic growth, the environment as well as conservation. By showcasing the scenic beauty and cultural richness of the corridor, the event will foster deeper appreciation of the unique regions the corridor passes through’. Said Mr. Mpofu. Other objectives of the event include obtaining Member State commitment to the economic development through spatial development initiatives along the TKC, to promote road safety on the TKC in line with the UN Second Decade of Action for Road Safety as well as the African Union Road Safety Charter as well as to create a hype for the commemoration of the 20 years anniversary.

A Pledge to be signed by the ministers responsible for transport on behalf of their citizens to promote spatial development iniatitves, and committing to the development of the TKC will be handed over to the ministers for signature by the cyclists at Pretoria, Lobatse and Walvis Bay respectively. The cyclists will stop at several towns and villages along the corridor to engage with the community. Safety measures and protocols will be implemented to ensure the well-being and safety of all participants and these will include but not limited to police escort, medical support, route supervision and support. Measures have also been taken to ensure that the ride is memorable and enjoyable to all participants. Cycling clubs along the corridors members of the public who are interested are also encouraged to cycles with the key riders either to meet them before they arrive in settlement / town or to ride with them as the leave a settlement/town for a distance they so wish. Organizations, companies and public entities are also invited to participate through sponsorships.

The Trans Kalahari Corridor Secretariat (TKCS) is a secretariat of the Trans Kalahari Corridor Management Committee (TKCMC), a corridor management institution (CMI) that was established through a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between Namibia, Botswana and South Africa. The TKCS coordinates the implementation of the TKCMC trade and transport facilitation work programme. The CMI also is mandated to promote the Trans Kalahari Corridor which stretches about 1900 km from Gauteng, South Africa, across Botswana and ends at the Walvis Bay, Namibia.

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