Items filtered by date: Friday, 22 June 2018 - Botswana Guardian
Friday, 22 June 2018 15:45

Day of Yoga commemorated

Every now and then, a human body needs relaxation to keep going, and Yoga is one discipline that relaxes both the body and mind. Many came out in numbers to celebrate the fourth International Day of Yoga organised by the High Commission of India at UB Open Arena over the weekend. 

Yogis filled up the open space on colourful Yoga mats and ready to take instructions of the session. Yoga is said to be one of the best lifestyle habits that foster a complete wellbeing. The session included meditation, which most attendants said they loved the most.

Yoga offers a variety of benefits including posture correction, stress relief, relief from back and neck pain, as well as boosting energy levels. According to Speaker of National Assembly of Botswana, Gladys Kokorwe, who was present at the commemorations, Yoga is increasingly recognised as an excellent approach to health and wellbeing.  She further said that Yoga has immense potential for achieving moral and physical health. “Botswana extends support and cooperation in the further promotion of Yoga in this country for achieving the common pursuit of peace in the country and global population,” said Kokorwe.

High Commissioner of India, Dr Rajesh Ranjen also emphasised that Yoga is a way of living that aims towards a healthy mind in a healthy body. He referred to Yoga as a science. “It is an applied science, a systematised collection of laws to realise our full potential,” he said, adding that young people have now accepted Yoga as a profession and he is happy about many Yoga centres set up in Botswana to promote Yoga.

One of the attendants, Irene Mokobi appreciated the session, saying that just the process of inhaling and exhaling helped her to feel refreshed and lighter, let alone exercising the body through different postures. “Yoga refreshes mentally, physically and spiritually and this is the third time I have attended the International Day of Yoga commemoration. I really felt refreshed after the event and I have learnt some exercises that will help relieve my chronic back pains,” said Mokobi. The practice of Yoga encourages proper breathing, giving rise to flexibility, strength and vitality in the body, while at the same time calming and reducing stress.

It reaches basic postures of the body called ‘asanas’ which are more than just stretching. Along with breathing, these ‘asanas’ try to open the energy channels or ‘chakras’ that is, physic centres of the body while increasing flexibility of the spine, strengthening bones and stimulating the circulatory and immune systems. As ‘asanas’ focus on the health and flexibility of the spine, performing these poses slowly and consciously would become a mental exercise in concentration, positive thinking and meditation. Thereby, Yoga broadens the mental faculties. Yogis perform ‘surya namaskar’ (Sun Salutation) before proceeding with ‘asanus’. Several paths of Yoga have been developed now.

Published in Style

Three bands - Balladel, Peach and Koma Afrobeat band - will perform live music tonight at Alliance Francaise premises in Gaborone to mark the famous French annual event, La Fête de la Musique, which has been celebrated in France since June 21, 1982.

On that day, both amateur and professional musicians invade the streets, courtyards and stations of France to bring the music to the people. The musical event is celebrated in more than 110 countries. FDLM gives local artists an opportunity to learn professionalism in music and acquire experience as they mingle with international artists.

In Botswana, the Alliance Française of Gaborone has organised La Fête de la Musique since 2002 thanks to the support of local artists, partners and sponsors. To keep the ‘spirit’ of La Fête de la Musique like in France, all participants perform for free, and the festival is also free for the audience.

This year the show will take place at Alliance Française of Gaborone premises at 1900HRS on Friday (tonight). Balladel is a three-member group and was formed last year in 2017. Their band is a ballad/love song outfit. Peach is a solo artist accompanied by a band of eight people. He started performing in 2008. His musical genre is Jazz or neo soul. Koma Afrobeat band was founded in 2011, plays afrobeat music and has 15 group members.

Published in Style
Friday, 22 June 2018 15:38

Letsoaka takes charge

The Botswana Football Association (BFA) this week officially unveiled its newly appointed Technical Director (TD) Serame Letsoaka at Lekidi this past Tuesday. Letsoaka has been signed to a three -year contract and his immediate task is to assist local football to reach new heights.

Unpacking his rather optimistic roadmap, Letsoaka said his main priority will be developing football from the grassroots. He said Botswana couldn’t succeed and produce a good product if more emphasis is at senior team level while youngsters are neglected.
The confident Letsoaka said that Africa is brimming with talent, however proper structures of grooming athletes are not put in place, “Most of our players start training at the age of 14, that kills talent because European players start playing at the age of 6,” he said.

Letsoaka said there are no shortcuts in football and the current system will only choke promising footballers if not revised. The new TD said under his watch, he will ensure that young players are signed by clubs and given game time because the more they sit on the bench, the more their talents will go to waste. A good player, he said, should be at the peak of his or her career at the age of 17 or even 18. “Our senior team is the face of the Association but we cannot rely heavily on old talent because we need quick results. In addition, Letsoaka said there is need for coaching education.

He said it was worrying that Botswana has only three coaches with a CAF A -licence and none holds a professional players' licence. Furthermore, Letsoaka’s aim is to increase the number of local coaches arguing that they cannot produce stars if they do not have coaches who can produce the talent.

The ambitious Letsoaka said his wish is to see Botswana being ranked 25 and above in Africa, top 5 in COSAFA and eventually appearing in the top 50 of FIFA rankings.  Additionally he warned coaches to focus more on empowering locals saying one cannot own a team that is mostly dominated by foreigners, “ We need players who can go on to represent the country at international stages and we can proudly say that they are one of us,” he said.

For his part, BFA second vice president Pelotshweu Motlogelwa said with the assistance of Letsoaka they expect to make improvements. He said the new Technical Director boasts vast experience in the field and they have no doubt that he will deliver exceptionally well.

Motlogelwa said the BFA’s vision of nurturing talent from grassroots is expected to be rolled out as planned, “We have to put solid structures in place and we will not compromise the quality of our product by not delivering to the best of our ability. We do not want a situation where things collapse in just two years, we want to leave a mark in the hearts of the football community,” Motlogelwa said.  Meanwhile, Letsoaka possesses an illustrious resume that includes being the former South African Football Association (SAFA) in 2009. Commanding vast knowledge in football, Letsoaka was appointed a CAF instructor in 2005, FIFA instructor in 2010 and elite instructor during the same year.

Published in Sports
Friday, 22 June 2018 15:34

BOKA dumps injured athlete

The position of the Botswana National Sports Commission (BNSC) and its position on athletes that have sustained injuries during competition remains a grey area. The latest case in sports injuries implicates the Botswana Karate Association (BOKA) which is currently being accused of turning a blind eye to one of their athletes Boitumelo Koone who recently sustained a career threatening leg injury earlier this year.

In an interview with BG Sport this week, Koone, a promising athlete was disillusioned after he got injured during the final senior team selection. Following the painful injury, Koone alleged that BOKA simply dumped him at Marina Referral Hospital where he had   to fend for himself until today.

Narrating his sad experience, Koone said he waited for close to seven hours at the hospital emergency room before he could be assisted. He explained the horrendous experience as being laden with excruciating pain before he could be attended to. “I was all alone and I did not understand what was happening, I could not move my leg or even walk,” Koone said.

After the doctors attended tohim Koone said that he was given paracetamol pills and sent home. So after leaving the hospital he struggled to walk and had to be pushed around in a wheelchair.After two days, his thigh was terribly swollen and realizing that his chances of getting better are minimal to zero, he pleaded with his brother to come to intervene in the situation. “It was then that my brother took me to a private doctor where I learnt that I had a ligament tear.” Koone added that the doctor further told him that he had blood clots around the injured area and if left unattended he might suffer dire consequences including death in the worst-case scenario. “I tried to reach out to BOKA, however they gave me a cold shoulder. I have on repeated attempts tried to seek assistance from the president Tshepo Bathai however he seemed to be avoiding me at the time,” he said.

Koone said that at one-point BOKA instructed him to write a letter but the association never responded on the matter. “I have told that young man that BOKA does not financially assist karatekas that do not form part of the national team. It will be too much for the association to handle given the number of karatekas in the country,” Bathai said. The BOKA president added that they have repeatedly explained to Koone why they could not help and they have even responded to the letter he wrote. Nevertheless, Koone said Bathai should produce evidence that indeed they responded to his letter. He presented his phone conversation with several BOKA officials including Bathai when he was trying to get answers from them. However, it seems the communication was one sided as there was no response from the other end. 

Koone said what boggled the mind is the fact that BOKA expects athletes to pay participation fees of P150 in every tournament and team selection eve., However it seems they are left to fend for themselves once they sustain serious injuries.
For his part the private doctor who attended to Koone’s injuries, Jin Tae Choi, a physiotherapist at Kalafong said the athlete was lucky to have survived. “He had a tear and it was severe, should he have waited any longer it would have gotten more complicated,” he said. Choi said that he has treated so many local athletes with different types of injuries. Among others he has dealt with football players, boxers, netball and basketball players. The doctor said he has even referred some athletes to South Africa because their cases were more complicated. The doctor who clearly expressed concern towards local athletes said the biggest challenge remains that athletes he treats cannot afford his services. ” Their biggest concern is that they do not have money, sometimes I am unable to assist them because I am running a business and cannot be compassionate all the time. 

The Botswana National Sports Commission (BNSC) needs to assist these children or their careers will be crippled by this injury.” Choi said.  Choi said it was very dangerous for an athlete to participate in sport without properly recovering from their injuries. He said should athletes continue participating without healing they are at risk of damaging their bodies permanently.   Meanwhile Monthusi Moitoi of Botswana Boxing Association (BoBA) shared with BG Sport that he lost his tooth during a fight with Mmusie Tswiige of Prisons Club late last year. Today he is toothless and BoBA has not addressed the situation yet, “My club said they will assist with an implant but they are now silent. I have been off season since then over fear of hurting the other one,” he said.  Retired boxer Zibani Chikanda said he once suffered an eye tear during an interclub tournament.

A doctor at the boxing tournament attended him and he was told to visit the clinic. Chikanda who works for the Botswana Defence Force had to foot all his medical bills until he recovered from the injury. The former national boxing champion lamented the fact that no one bothers to make a follow up on his injury. Chikanda later returned to the boxing ring after three months. Last year, 400m runner Baboloki Thebe was reported to be disappointed that Botswana Athletics Association (BAA) neglected him following an injury he picked during the 2017 World Championships held in London. The athlete is alleged to have sought medical attention across borders without the consent of BAA upon realizing that his injury was more severe than he realised.  

When reached, BNSC Director of Sports Development Technical Bobby Gaseitsiwe said all national team players are fully covered by the BNSC insurance unfortunately they do not cover athletes that do not form part of the national team.
Nevertheless Gaseitsiwe said he does not think any association or club can neglect any injured athlete. They are expected to report to the commission in cases where the injury is severe.“No athlete can be neglected, they are taken to government hospitals and are provided with the necessary care. There are also rules that no tournament can be held without professional doctors that is to ensure that incases of emergencies they can assist,” Gaseitsiwe said. 

Published in Sports
Friday, 22 June 2018 15:31

Gunners continues to disintegrate

BTC Premiership campaigners continue to face an uncertain future. The latest episode in the ongoing Peleng saga sees team General Manager (GM) Ian Kebopetswe quitting the club, BG Sport can reveal.

Kebopetswe tendered his resignation letter to the troubled Lobatse outfit last week. “I was not sure of my future with the club hence the reason for my resignation,” Kebopetswe said when reached for comment this week. However, Kebopetswe remained cagey about reasons leading to his abrupt decision. This week sources close to the matter have shared that the die-hard Gunners official was unhappy at the Lobatse outfit. 

Following the recent departure of technical sponsors and management partner Tsa Gae (Pty) LTD, the former GM is said to have been confused and uncertain of his relationship with the current regime at Peleng. Recent allegations coming out of the Mapantsula camp are that Kebopetswe was always painted with the same brush as Tsa Gae by the Gunners management. “When the relationship between Gunners and Tsa Gae turned sour, Kebopetswe was caught in the midst of it all. He has been accused of unprofessionalism,” the concerned source said.

A copy of the resignation letter that was leaked to BG Sport this week suggest that the team might be owing Kebopetswe some of his dues, and he is demanding that the debt be settled within 14 days. “You will advise regarding payment of my outstanding remuneration and benefits and I would appreciate if same is settled within 14 days from date hereof,” reads the letter.   Quizzed about his future plans, Kebopetswe said he will always avail his services to Gunners because it is a team close to his heart, however the football administrator is on the lookout for other opportunities. Kebopetswe’s journey with Gunners dates back to 2008. He ascended to the position of team Secretary General from 2011 until he resigned from the Executive Committee in 2016. He was appointed GM on a five-year contract back in February 2017. 

However, numerous efforts to reach the Gunners management proved futile as their phones rang unanswered for the past two days. Messages sent to the team Chairman Hennel Kaisara were also not responded to. Meanwhile, this publication has since learnt that Gunners players including Katlego Mbise and Leteng Legopolo have quit the club. In one of their letters to the Gunners, the players said they couldn’t continue playing for the team because they are financially constrained yet they have families to feed. 

On a different matter, Kebopetswe has come out to explain that contrary to what was reported recently on Botswana Guardian that independent accountants are still ‘cooking’ Gunners financial reports may have been taken out of context. Kebopetswe said he was merely explaining that accountants are still preparing the books pertaining to the recent separation between Tsa Gae and Gunners.

The development comes after Tsa Gae handed Gunners full control of the team on June 5, 2018.  He further explained that even though Gunners parted ways with partner Tsa Gae, they still have a working relationship. Tsa Gae is reported to have promised Gunners that they will assist them with the smooth transitioning of power by assisting with other operations for a month.  

Published in Sports
Friday, 22 June 2018 15:23

Why Toyota must lose

The indomitable Toyota Gazoo Racing (TGR) factory team must lose this year’s 1000km Desert Race. Toyota’s unlikely loss this weekend is necessary in order to save the appeal, credibility and mystique of the racing circus that pulls crowds of up to 200 000 spectators to Jwaneng mining town and surrounding areas.

The TGR has not lost a race since 2011. Their last recorded loss was at the hands of the Ford Ranger racing team. However, since then TGR has had a strangle hold in the popular marathon race, which is among the longest and most gruelling in the African continent. Boasting one of the most advanced racing programmes in the world and some of the best rally driver Toyota will be hard to beat on paper. Another advantage the TGR has in the TDR is lack of worthy rivals.

Ford does not provide any real threat to TGR, however new entrants the Nissan Red-Lined Nissan team will add a much-needed dimension to the two-day event. The Red-Lined Nissan team specialises in races like the TDR and they are well funded and resourced enough to give the TGR a run for their money. However, Botswana is Toyota country and they boast a lot of experience in the TDR that has sponsored the event for many years. The men behind the steering wheel also matters in a tricky off-road event like TDR. Multiple TDR winner Leeroy Poulter and former Dakar Rally winner Geniel De Villiers are some of the best rally drivers in the world.

Their combination with the robust TGR racing programme makes the team virtually unbeatable. The Elf Renault team provides the TGR with a rather mild threat, as they hardly have the resources nor drivers that are capable of beating the reigning TDR champions. The privateer entry 4X4 Mega World FIA spec Hilux will be posing another threat to the TGR crew. 

Given the speed, skill and sheer luck the TGR team enjoys, it will be farfetched to bet on any of their rivals causing an upset. However, an upset is what is necessary at this year’s event.  If TGR wins it will be just another repeat of last year’s race where De Villiers won by a country mile with his teammate Poulter coming in second position. Nevertheless, more than half of the 200 000 spectators of the TDR couldn’t care less about who wins the TDR, they are there to see racing car flying past at dizzying speeds. For those who care about the results and classification, there is need for change of guard at the top end of the competition.

Another win by TGR will be mundane and sooner or later it might take its toll on the appeal of the race. As things stand TGR has bigger fish to fry and that is the South African Cross-Country Series and the Dakar Rally, which is the ultimate prize. For TGR the TDR is just practice for the 2019 Dakar Rally in Peru. The celebratory champagne in the podium has long lost its sweetness.

Published in Sports

Government may be forced to inject more cash into the operations of Botswana Oil Limited, that is if the entity is not granted an exclusive petroleum import licence, Botswana Guardian has learnt. 

The business model of the five year old company hinges on the company being granted an import licence, whose application has already been rejected by Botswana Energy Regulatory Authority (BERA), citing several factors ranging from technical to financial.
This week, Botswana Oil Chief Executive, Willie Mokgatle said, when the company was established, the idea was to prop-up their balance sheet through income they received after negotiating favourable prices with oil suppliers internationally for petroleum products that they would be importing into Botswana. 

This explains why the company has made certain strategic agreements with other national oil companies.  As things stand, the company’s revenue is based on speculation. That is, if the current oil companies in Botswana face supply crisis that would allow Botswana Oil to supply them for a fee. “We cannot operate like that as a business,” said a concerned Mokgatle in an exclusive interview on Tuesday.  In the absence of an import licence, Botswana Oil is limited as far as revenue generation is concerned. They have no intention of venturing into the retail business within the oil sector, as they will be competing with international and emerging local companies, the latter which they are supposed to help enter the almost secret and expensive oil industry.

“If we are to venture into the retail business, the shareholder will be forced to inject more cash into the business to build infrastructure such as filling stations which can be expensive,” added Mokgatle.  Botswana government is the sole shareholder of the company but a long term plan is to sell part of its shares through privatisation. Nonetheless, the company is off to a good start as far as bottom-line is concerned. Writing in the latest annual report for the financial year to March 2016, Board of Directors Chairman, Dr Joel Sentsho said the company made a profit of P13 million, higher than P8, 3 million of the year before. “This profit was driven by various factors, amongst them, an increase in revenue and margins compared to the previous year, the sale of cleaner fuels (ULP95 and AGO50PPM) to International Oil Companies and declining crude oil prices as well as Government strategic reserves procurement income,” said Sentsho  who is also trade advisor to Government. The country’s petroleum industry is dominated by foreign companies such as Total, Shell and Vivo, who put their business interests ahead of the country’s broader economic objectives. Most of the supplies come from South Africa, which puts the country at risk especially that South Africa is also struggling to meet its demands. As Botswana Oil is granted the above licence, this risk will be curtailed.

“When fuel is in short supply, it is Botswana who suffers the most,” he added. According to the company’s annual report, Botswana Oil Limited (BOL) was established in order to achieve the Government’s broader economic objectives of ensuring the security of fuel supply, management of the Government’s strategic storage facilities and the facilitation of active citizen involvement in the petroleum industry.  Meanwhile, Botswana Oil has since chosen not to take BERA to court for the latter’s rejection of their licence. In fact, the institution has chosen the most diplomatic way of engaging with government on the matter, in a bid to find a harmonious solution. Mokgatle, who is an old hand in the petroleum industry, said government, through the minerals resources, green technology and energy ministry have taken a decision to find lasting solution to issues related to the rejection of the licence by BERA.

Published in Business

Furniture retail shop, Furnmart says trading environment is increasingly challenging as regulatory bodies introduce more restrictive laws and limitations in an attempt to protect consumers from high level of indebtedness.

In its 2017 annual report, Furnmart Group Chairman, John Mynhardt pointed out that the regulatory environment for consumer credit providers is becoming increasingly challenging and complex as regulatory bodies introduce more restrictive laws, regulations and limitations in an attempt to protect consumers from high levels of indebtedness or exploitation by credit providers.

He said changes and developments in this regard are closely monitored across all countries where the Group operates, and where necessary, adjustments are made to the respective business models. “The Group will continue to be a good corporate citizen and we intend to abide by all laws and regulations, in all geographical areas.” he said.

Last year the company closed some of the loss-making business units of Furnmart Zambia and Home Corp Upington. In its half year ended January 2018, the group recorded an increase in profit after tax of 164 percent to P62.5 million. Mynyardt explained that the furniture retail industry continues to consolidate, particularly in South Africa where store closures occurred across the board. “As a result, to maintain growth, the South African furniture retailers maintained their expansion drives into Africa and are becoming more competitive in the territories where the group traditionally dominated.” he said.

During the reporting period last year, the company saw total debtors’ costs reduced due to an improvement in collections and an improvement in the quality of the book value while revenue increased by 5.8 percent to P660m compared to the previous year. The Group opened four (4) new Furnmart stores during 2017 reporting period and is now trading out of 124 stores in three countries.

Mynyardt also highlighted that trading subsequent to financial year-end has been encouraging as the cost saving initiatives, considerable efforts in improving the quality of debtors’ books and new customer acquisition strategies are starting to bear fruit.
“The Group’s businesses in our chosen markets and territories are well positioned to take advantage of the inevitable improvement in market conditions. Our focussed management teams will continue to seek growth opportunities in the region. New store growth will come primarily out of South Africa.” he said.

Published in Business

Lucara Diamond recently sold a total 1,453.06 carat, including two diamonds greater than 300 carats, and achieved gross revenues of US32.48 Million (US 22,356 carat).

This is according to the latest results from Lucara’s 12th Eceprional Stone Tender (EST). The tender consisted of 10 single lots, ranging from 472.37 to 40.4 carats in size. The 327.48-carat was sold for US10.1 Million (US 30,900/ct). President and CEO of Lucara, Eira Thomas acknowledges that the quality of Karowe’s large diamonds continues to attract attention of the world’s foremost manufacturers and diamantaries within 29 companies attending the sale and eight individual companies winning lots.

“Lucara is very pleased with the outcome of EST12, which was comprised of diamonds produced during 2018, including several diamonds recovered from the EM/PK(S) unit during February and April of this year,” he said. He added that all the ten diamonds were sold for more than $1 Million each and the 327.37 carat diamond sold for US$ 10.1 Million (US$ 30, 900/ct).

At present, Lucara has sold 168 diamonds in excess of 1 Million and ten single diamonds have been sold over US 10 Million. Thomas explains that the average price per carat for Karowe diamonds sold up to date, equates to 893.3/ct. The EST achieved a price in excess of US 22,356 per carat, continuing the production of large high quality diamonds sourced from the South Lobe of the AKO6 Kimberlite, Thomas says.

Published in Business

Fairgrounds Holdings, a subsidiary of Botswana Development Corporation (BDC) has appointed Gorata Gabaraane as new Chief Executive Officer. She is an old hand in the hospitality industry, having worked for Cresta Hotels, a listed and leading hospitality group in Botswana. “An industry player of repute, Gabaraane also played a dual role during her tenure at LEA as Strategy and Organisational Design Manager,” said Fairgrounds Holdings. 

She has also worked for Botswana Investment and Trade Centre (BITC) as Director of Strategy. The new broom at Fairgrounds is armed with Masters Degree in Strategic Management from the University of Derby in the United Kingdom. Gabaraane also has a Bsc degree in Hotel Restaurant and Institutional Management from Johnson & Wales University and a diploma in hotel management from Les Roches.

Published in Business
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