The odds are stacked against Township Rollers in their dream debut in the CAF Champions league, having just lost 0-3 against former serial champions Al Ahly in Alexandria, Egypt this past Tuesday and thereby dropping to the bottom of the group log.
The two teams are expected to meet again at the National Stadium in a week's time and nothing much is expected to change as Ahly are already the fvourites. Nevertheless, Popa owe their supporters a consolation goal or two when they face the Egyptians at home. The game played on Tuesday night exposed a lot of Popa’s weaknesses in almost all departments.
Meanwhile, Esperance defeated Kampala City Council Authority (KCCA) in another Tuesday encounter, leaving the latter with same number of points with Popa at the bottom half of the table. Thus far, with three games to go, Esperance are leading group A with seven points, while Ahly who lost to KCCA in their last game are placed second with four points. When the two teams meet next Friday Popa Head coach Nikola Kavazovic and his charges must come with a better game plan and execute it effectively.
Popa’s weakest point has been in the defence which has cost the team dearly. Defensive errors have contributed hugely to the team’s heavy losses in both Tunisia and Egypt. The defence line, comprising Kaone Vanderweisthuizen, Obuile Ncenga, Simisani Mathumo and Ivan Ntenge was in a chaotic state on Tuesday and allowed the lethal Ahly strike force to punch holes in their defence.
The problem is further compounded by an erratic goalkeeper, Mwampule Masule is gifted, but his acrobatic saves are not enough against superior opposition in the form of Ahly. He remains a poor communicator in the defence line. Masule rarely commands his defenders and this leads to dangerous situations in the defence line.
The coach, Kavazovic knew what he was dealing with as the Egyptians are CAF Champions league record winners. However, the outspoken and fiery Serbian needs to step up his game in the fire power department. On Tuesday night, Kavazovic's front line did not get off against the Ahly defence. The statistics speak for themselves as the Popa attack did not show enough ambition against the CAF multiple champions who, strangely lost to KCCA in their previous encounter. On paper Ahly had 12 shots at goal as compared to Rollers who have nine attempts. In the second leg next Friday, Popa’s strike force comprising Edwin Moalosi, Boyo Lechaena and Joel Mogorosi must show more creativity.
The presence of Lemponye Tshireletso will be an added bonus for Popa. With the second game coming to Gaborone, the 12th man will be an added advantage for Popa as the Blue nation will be expected to throng the National Stadium in full force. Meanwhile, It will be interesting to see who will officiate the second leg. The Algeria official who was in charge of the game on Tuesday slapped Popa with four yellow cards.
Four football teams, Mochudi Centre Chiefs, Notwane FC, Mochudi Rovers and Rasesa Precosta took part in the Shono Madonsela Cup over the President Holidays in which Notwane Football Club emerged victors after defeating Mochudi Centre Chiefs 2-1 at the finals.
The tournament went well according to Alec Monyake, one of the organizers. There were slightly over 200 spectators. In the losers final Rovers beat Rasesa Precostar 1- 0 while in the first Semi-Finals Notwane Beat Mochudi Rovers 2-1 and the second Semi-Finals Rasesa Precostar and Center Chiefs drew with 2 goals each. Chiefs advanced through penalties winning 5-4.
Alec Monyake added that the tournament went well, all teams were happy with the preparations.The referees handled the games well and were considered fair. What was evident was that a tournament of this magnitude needs a sponsor to relieve teams from spending too much. Gate takings alone are not enough to cover all the expenses which include feeding teams and guest referees, advertising, transport and communication expenses.
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.
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.
BTC premiership Kgatleng outfit Mochudi Centre Chiefs are currently experiencing their worst start to the season in years. By all means the first round of the 2017/18 season has not been good and rather embarrassing to Magosi.
This weekend, Magosi face yet another challenge when they face a hard pressed TAFIC FC at the Francistown Sports Complex. Chiefs clearly need a turn around strategy to reverse their fortunes this season and this will include revamping almost all their departments. This past Tuesday, Magosi played a 1-1 draw against BDF XI, which left them on the relegation zone of 15th position with only six points.
Carer taker coach Innocent Morapedi is currently in charge of one of the most dejected squads in the premier league and pulling the team out of the relegation zone will not be an easy task. After seven games Magosi have only one win, three draws and three losses. Once feared for their offensive play and robust midfield, Magosi seem to be a shell of their former selves. Having experienced a difficult 2016/17 season under Zimbabwean coach
Bongani Mafu, Magosi seemed destined for another bumpy ride this season.
However, last season Magosi merely scraped through and interjected them into the lucrative top eight-position meaning they will be in the season’s high stakes Mascom Top eight tournament. Under Mafu and with little resources in their camp, Magosi managed to win 11 games and lost 11 times, with eight draws to boot. The 2016/17season saw Magosi mounting a comeback to beat the likes of BDF XI and sensational rookies Black Forest.
This season the Magosi faithful will be waiting with baited breath to see if their hero will stage yet another comeback from the relegation abyss. During the last transfer window the Kgatleng outfit lost a total of six key players to their rivals. Some of the big names who parted ways with the club include striker Jerome Ramatlhakwane, winger Ayanda Molefhe, Lesego Molemogi, Gaopatwe Seosenyeng, Dirang Moloi and Arnold Mampori.
Moreover, shallow pockets meant Chiefs did not go shopping during the last transfer window.
However, Morapedi’s war chest remains deep, as they have retained the likes of free scoring Tendai Nyamadzawo, Lesego Lubinda, Khumoetsile Kufugwa, Goitseone Legopelo, Thayaone Ramatlapeng, Lesego Galenamotlhale and Jabu Pilane. Nevertheless, there is still a lot to play for in the first round of the season as Chiefs are lagging behind with only a few points. Morapedi and his charges just need two straight wins to land in the middle of the log standings.
Over 200 Botswana integrated Sports Association (BISA) and Botswana Primary School Sports Association (BOPSSA) athletes are currently in Maseru, Lesotho where they are expected to compete in the COSSASA games.
The ongoing multisport games started yesterday (Thursday). The official opening of the games was expected earlier today (Friday). The four-day showpiece is expected to conclude this Saturday and the rest of the team is expected back home on Monday.
Botswana is represented by six sport codes including Rugby, Netball, Basketball, Volleyball, Tennis and football. The team is made up of the under 13, 15 and 17 girls and boys.Speaking to BG Sport shortly before departure at the team’s send -off ceremony on Monday in Gaborone, BISA spokesperson Letsweletse Jonas said they would be going all out to defend their championship title in Lesotho.
Botswana secured nine medals in Zimbabwe last year and Jonas said they aim to increase the tally to at least 10. “It will not be a walk in the park, we expect to lock horns with powerhouses from South Africa, Malawi and Swaziland,” he said.
Jonas explained that South Africa and Swaziland have been absent from the tournament for a while and they expect them to come out stronger than ever.
Nevertheless he assured that his team is ready and they will not concede to any pressure imposed on them.
Given the four years that Botswana has been participating at the COSASSA games, Jonas said they have managed to maintain a good record as far as bringing home good results is concerned.
However his wish is to see other sporting codes included in the annual tournament. “We had wished that all our 12 codes could participate but the current six codes are the ones affiliated with COSASSA,” he said.
Jonas said that they have gone to a lot of trouble to ensure that all the athletes return home safely, adding that they have enough official personnel to keep close eye on the team.
According to Jonas, the team included 16 drivers, medical personel and coaches while BOPSSA president Busani Segweni is serving as head of delegation.
The glitzy 2016/17 BTC Premiership awards will be held tonight( Friday) at the GICC in Gaborone. Among the list of categories and impressive nominations the best goal keeper of the year is arguably the most intriguing.
The nominees for best goalkeeper of the season were the last to be released after the Botswana Premier League omitted to include them. The three nominees are Kabelo Dambe (Township Rollers), Antony Gouws (Jwaneng Galaxy) and Goitseone Phoko (Gaborone United). However the three nominees have all had their moments but the category is not without controversy. Following a blockbuster BPL season, there was plenty of both established and emerging talent to choose from. Local football pundits and supporters would argue that there were a lot of brilliant individual performances especially in the goalkeeping department.
A case in point is experienced Kabelo Dambe who has had a rather average season. Injury prone Dambe’s season was highly characterised by a shoulder injury, and he missed a lot of important games against Mochudi Centre Chiefs, Gaborone United and BDF XI.The lanky former Platinum Stars goal minder has however been criticised for his failures to cut crosses in the 18-yard area. This weakness on Dambe’s part was repeated this season.
Although he pitched up during the last lap of the season, Dambe has almost equally shared the goalpost with young Keagile Kgosipula. However Dambe’s chief competitor Mwampule Masule has also had a considerable share of game time.
Another surprise nomination is Gaborone United’s agile last line of defence, Goitseone Phoko who was predominantly on recovery mode this season. The award-winning goalkeeper spent almost a year without his gloves while nursing a protracted knee injury.
Phoko has also had a mixed season when he committed rather silly mistakes, costing his side valuable points against Orapa United and BDF XI in the first leg. Phoko caused a stir among GU supporters as he continued to fumble in an area which was once his comfort zone.Midway into the Season Phoko was recovering and had a very brilliant second leg of the 2016/17 season and managed so make outstanding saves against a teething Black Forest attacks. Jwaneng Galaxy’s young goal minder, Anthony Gouws is the third nominee and comes as no surprise. Gouws was top notch this season and adjusted to the game quickly avoiding conceding early goals.Gouws was able to command his backline with every game thus limiting his own mistakes; the marvelous shot stopper has a big match temperament having put his gloves to test late in the season against Mochudi Centre Chiefs at Molepolole Sports Complex.
His stellar performance has however earned him a national team call up.
Another revelation for the past season that was unheeded is Miscellaneous’ outstanding goalkeeper Bophelo Kealeboga. His reflexes were like those of a cat the entire season as he meticulously stopped highflying shots with the tips of his fingers.
Although there is room to improve his positioning, the young lad always made sure he springs up to catch every ball that comes his way. He has since caught the eye of South African teams, with the First Division Side Mbombela United FC and an unnamed PSL club currently looking for his service.
Another outstanding talent is Katlego Mbise who was signed by Extension Gunners from Gilport Lions during the January transfer window. Mbise moved with his exceptional form. He was very instrumental in the Peleng outfit’s second round performance, helping them finish in the top-four bracket after Michael Pepukani left a mess behind the posts.
With reflexes like lightning, Michael James of Black Forest had a season to savor. He started his season against a marauding Township Rollers and conceded two reckless goals. He however picked himself up and produced a good performance the whole season.
James had the safe hands that couldn’t be breached often. He stood out in their 2-2 draw against Gaborone United in the second leg, denying Tumisang Orebonye what seemed like an obvious goal. The cat in James also pitched up in the first round against Mochudi Centre Chiefs keeping a clean sheet against the Kgatleng-based side.
The time is now for veteran coach Boyo ‘Oris’ Radipotsane. The experienced local coach has found himself in daunting position of leading the Zebras in their 2017 COSAFA Castle cup campaign against Zambia this Saturday.
The game, scheduled for Moruleng, South Africa, will give the caretaker coach an opportunity to prove himself after moving through the ranks in BFA structures. Radipotsane, a prominent and beloved figure in local football circles, has managed the National under 17, 20 and 23 development teams.
However Radipotsane has a torrid task of leading the Zebras to their first ever COSAFA Castle Cup triumph after departed British coach Peter James Butler failed to bring the highly sought after cup to the long suffering Zebras supporters.
Radipotsane may be dubbed as a development coach, more similar to his predecessor Peter Butler. Nonetheless the coach has proven that his tactical cognizance is unmatched, having proven to work with limited resources. Previously, Radipotsane managed shock the local football fraternity by leading Motlakase Power Dynamos of Palapye to the Coca Cola Cup final in 2011.
Known for his soft-spoken demeanor and trademark hoarse voice, Radipotsane has proven to be a motivator having pulled legendary upset victories against more fancied rivals with his beloved Motlakase. Radipotsane and Motlakase have claimed famous scalps including Gaborone United, BDF XI and Uniao Flamingo Santos.
The former Zebras and Township Rollers player is a highly tactical mentor, he disguises as one of the most cautious coaches in the country with an Italian philosophy of starting the ball from the back, modestly shying away from conceding.
Having assumed his role as assistant Coach of the Zebras in 2015 supporters have always adjudicated the coach as a laidback and voiceless assistant, who could not aid Butler when the chips are down and some believe his relationship is not at a stage of owning the players hearts.
The COSAFA Cup and the upcoming CHAN tournament will come about as Radipotsane’s litmus test, a good performance in both tournaments will mean the hoarse voiced coach earns himself a full time contract as the Zebras coach.
BTC premiership outfit Police XI this week announced the departure of their headcoach Maitumelo ‘Junior’ Letlaamoreng. Former Police XI Isaiah 'Sthanda' Mogwadi will replace Letlaamoreng with immediate effect. Letlaamoreng mentored the Jungle Kings for the majority of the 2016/17 season when the state backed outfit mostly hovered in the middle of the log standings. According to a press statement from Police XI, Sthanda, who helped Police gain promotion to the premier league a few seasons ago, will be assisted by former national team player Ndiyapo Letsholathebe and Summer Ncube. The club and Letlamoreng mutually agreed recently to part ways in the best interest of the team. He became police headcoach following the retirement of Mogwadi.
The 1-0 loss BTC premiership outfit Mochudi Centre Chiefs suffered at the hands of rival league newbies Jwaneng Galaxy, provided a peep into their tumultuous 2016/17 season campaign so far. For the Kgatleng giants the 2016/17 season has been a long and tedious campaign. The limping league giants have enjoyed relatively premiership success in the past 17 years but Magosi are now in danger of finishing out of the top 8 for the first time in recent history.
In the past decade, the Kgatleng outfit has won four championships and twice participated in African safari competitions including the Champions League. Chiefs are currently in position 8 after 20 games having lost and won seven games including six draws.It was not only on the pitch that Chiefs found success, as the Kgatleng giants produced and sold star players abroad with strikers Jarome Ramatlhakwane and midfielder Dirang Moloi as recent examples. However head coach Bongani Mafu’s team has huffed and puffed to grind results and systemetically lost to premier league rookies Black Forest and relative newcomers Jwaneng Galaxy FC. This week, sources close to Magosi said a Top 8 finish will be close to a miracle for the Kgatleng outfit who might even find themslves warding off relegation with only nine games until the season concludes. “Senior players at the team are hardly attending training sessions due to delayed payments. Players cannot train on a full time basis because management is failing to honour the promises they made,” a source who prefers anonymity said.
“In the process this has only left few players who hardly feature in their games turning-up for training a development that has put their tactician Bongani Mafu between a rock and a hard place especially during match days as far as team selection is concerned.” Further reports are that some senior players only turn-up hours before kickoff at games, which allegedly forces the Zimbabwean gaffer, Mafu to select them soley based on their experience.
To make matters worse since parting ways with their financiers the Jamali family, Chiefs management have been moving from pillar to post in search of a training ground. Another source whispered that there is internal wrangling within team management, which has only made matters worse for the Kgatleng outfit.
Nevertheless, Magosi spokesperson recently said they will do everything to avoid relegation and finish in the Top 8. “Injuries have done us no favours this season, let alone financial issues which we are faced with. We had potential investors in December whom we had already started negotiating with but when they learnt of our court cases, they asked us to put our house in order first,” Mogomotsi said this week.
With nine games left for the BTC Premiership season to end Mochudi Centre Chiefs are placed on 8th spot with 27 points equal to Gaborone United and Police XI.