Wednesday, 05 July 2017 15:41

Gouws a favourite for BPL award

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.

Published in Sports
Tuesday, 09 May 2017 15:24

Mogwadi and Police XI reunited

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.

Published in Sports
Tuesday, 18 April 2017 15:17

Magosi endure a rough season

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.

Published in Sports
Tuesday, 18 April 2017 15:06

Hotspurs in the throes of relegation

BTC premiership minnows Mahalapye United Hotspurs are currently in a rut as they are placed last in the 2016/17 log-standings after losing 1-0 to Gilport Lions this past weekend.  To survive relegation Hotspurs must win all their remaining eight games, which is a lot to ask for any team. After 21 games the Mahalapye lads are currently in position 16 with only three wins five draws and 13 losses.However, Hotspurs spokesperson Boniface Disho insists that his team still has a fighting chance despite the seemingly insurmountable odds stacked against them.

“The truth of the matter is that we are not happy about our current position. No team wants to be in such a position and we are trying to survive relegation by all means,” an optimistic Disho said, adding that the standard of their football is good despite failing to use their chances to score.

“We can manage five draws even if we do not have a head-coach sitting at the   bench during the game.”  The team has been without a headcoach for most of the season with the goalkeeper coach as a stand in. Disho said the No. 1 candidate to takeover the team is experienced coach Maxwell Moyo who is often spotted at the side-lines of Hotspurs’ games. “We could have hired Moyo by now but the process is complicated and taking too long. We hired a consultant for the job but he has failed to deliver so we have to start all over again.”

Disho said the team also must contend with the cost of running the team, which is way higher that the grant they receive from the Botswana Premier League. “It   is hard for us to attract a sponsor as Hotspurs remain a community team. We appeal to our supporters to attend games in larger numbers especially when we play at our home ground in Serowe.” Disho said they need team supporters to band together and buy replica jerseys to supplement the team’s income. In other matters Disho lamented what he deems as appalling refereeing standards in the Botswana Premier League. He said league referees have a negative attitude towards teams that are struggling. Hotspurs are currently joined by Green Lovers at position 15 and Nico United at 14th in the relegation Zone. The Mahalapye outfit faces Sankoyo Bush Bucks in their next fixture.

Published in Sports
Tuesday, 07 February 2017 11:42

Magosi strike gold in transfer window

BTC premiership outfit Mochudi Centre Chiefs (MCC) might have struck gold with their new signing of Absolom Limbondi from Tigers FC in Namibia.

Following the conclusion of the January 2016/2017 BTC premiership transfer window this week, Magosi brought in a significant number of new faces with Limbondi seeming to attract most of the attention. The 25-year-old Limbondi comes with quite a reputation having been voted player of the season and Player’s player of the Namibian league in 2015. However, reports reveal that the Namibian league has been inactive for some time now and Magosi grabbed the opportunity to acquire one of the best country’s best Namibian players.

Magosi had a rough ride this season and with the first round coming to an end this weekend, MCC finds itself limping in the middle of the log standings. Although it’s too early to confirm, Limbondi’s arrival will give MCC coach Bongani Mafu the much-needed boost in the scoring department.

“We have signed him on a one season contract and based on his performance we shall review and decide on the way forward,” said Magosi spokesperson Clifford Mogomotsi this week. Mogomotsi explained that Limbondi arrived in Botswana a week ago and has been training with the Kgatleng outfit. However, the team is still working on the player’s paperwork.

Nevertheless, Mogomotsi confirmed that the new player would not be part of the team that will face lowly-placed Green Lovers at the Serowe Sports Complex tonight (Friday). “We have been struggling with strikers who can get the ball across the net and Limbondi seems to have exactly what we need,” a confident Mogomotsi said. Meanwhile struggling rookies, Mahalapye United Hotspurs have signed 10 new players to address their faltering fortunes.

“It is really hard when a team does not have financial investors, our players are demoralised, even the support from Mahalapye fans is shallow,” team spokesperson Boniface Disho said.

Disho decried that even though they have embarked on rigorous campaigns to find sponsors, the community response is quite disappointing. He said they normally make about P2 500 from gate takings, which is barely enough to sustain the team as they have security and players bill to take care of. Disho also expressed concern over that Botswana Premier League (BPL) grants that are often paid late.

“We are hopeful that we will survive the relegation, I just wish BPL can also up its game because this late payments hit hard on us nevertheless we are hopeful that our technical team will come through for us,” he said. In other transfer window related matters Lobatse outfit Extension Gunners managed to acquire striker Kudzani Machazani of Zimbabwe and Moatlhodi Ralesotla from Gaborone United.

Maun outfit Sankoyo Bush Bucks have signed Kabo Matlhare from Maun Tigers, Refilwe Senyane and Kediemetse Radikoko while Mankgodi’s Black Forest released Kennedy Ramasa and brought in Willington Maposa and Stanley Ngala. Nico United has about 13 new signings with the likes of Thabo Mosielele, Addmore Motswakae, Remmington Masuke and released Gift Moyo, Daniel Taboka and Tlotlo Mpema among the 13 others.

The reigning BTC premiership champions Township Rollers have reunited with defender Edwin Olerile.In addition a resurgent Gilport Lions are enjoying the services of Bobby Gattuso, Jackie Mothatego and the Kgaswane brothers being Mpho and Kaelo from Magosi.

Published in Sports
Tuesday, 13 December 2016 14:54

BPL e-ticketing robs teams

Two top BTC premiership clubs Township Rollers and Mochudi Centre Chiefs this week   claimed to have lost business since the introduction of the e-ticketing system for their games. 

The two teams claim the e-ticketing system has brought more worries to clubs than the previous over-the-counter sales. Both Rollers and Chiefs have since agreed that the system is not client friendly.  In an interview this week, Rollers spokesperson Phempherethe Pheto dismissed the web ticket system as a headache for both clubs and the league. “It does not work well for our clientele and it is a challenge when it comes to accountability,” explained Pheto. 

The system was supposed to be piloted for a few games before the board can make a final decision. This publication is in possession of blank tickets provided for a recent premiership game. In addition, Pheto said the league has not provided them with a report concerning blank tickets or whether investigations were carried out in the matter.

He added that they are still waiting for findings.  Moreover, Pheto said they have since engaged the league on numerous accounts concerning the system. “I approached the Botswana Premier League (BPL) to address this matter. However, it seems BPL board supported the system,” said the Rollers spokesperson. Pheto cited poor network at Serowe Shoprite as one of the shortcomings that come with the system.

Rollers played many home games at Serowe Sports Complex last season. According to Pheto, the BPL board recently agreed to abandon the web tickets system, adding that the system was meant to stop tickets from being sold at the gates. Pheto, said the main challenge with web tickets is that clubs receive tickets very late especially at category A games. 

For his part, Mochudi Centre Chiefs spokesperson, Clifford Mogomotsi shared the same sentiments as Pheto, arguing that the system has failed to live up to expectations. “It is a good initiative but it has teething problems, for example our stadiums do not have ticket reading machines, which means manual services are still needed,” Mogomotsi said.  Nevertheless, Mogomotsi expressed optimism that the league will resort to e-ticketing when resources permit.

The e-ticketing is used in developed countries where the network is good and the gadgets at stadiums are also electronic. Moreover, Mogomotsi explained that the exercise is costly but does not reduce their ticketing challenges. “We thought it was an improved version of what we had.”

Director at Web Tickets Cowell Habana said the project is handled by the BPL management committee. However, he admitted the committee engaged them concerning some teething challenges. “We received those complaints, management committee has engaged us, we agreed that point of sales are not enough and they needed to be increased. They also said we are expensive and we justified our costs,” he said.

Quizzed on the recent game between Rollers and Black Forest at the national stadium, Habana said, “Let me tell you what happened, clubs requested 3000 tickets to be printed for counter sale. However, the clubs seem to have underestimated the number of tickets that were in demand for the game. If you check out the local market, promoters use our system; we are currently selling tickets for about 34 events right now. How can 34 event managers be wrong?” wondered Habana.

Published in Sports
Monday, 05 December 2016 13:00

Stanbic Bank pump P3, 6 million into Popa

Stanbic Bank Botswana this week injected P3 600 000 into BTC premiership giants Township Rollers FC. The seven-figure deal is expected to cover three-seasons starting from 2016 until 2019.

The sponsorship was officially unveiled at Stanbic Bank Piazza in Gaborone on Tuesday. Announcing the partnership between the commercial bank and premier league reigning champions, Stanbic Bank Head of Customer Channels, Calistas Chijoro said the Bank is further reinforcing its commitment to sports development through the sponsorship.

Chijoro explained that efforts made by Stanbic are aimed at cultivating a culture of partnership and collaboration, adding that for a business organisation to bloosm, it needs to develop strong relationships. Addressing football stakeholders at the glitzy sponsorship launch ceremony Chijoro said they were particularly delighted to be shaking hands with one of the most successful football clubs in the country. “We seek to establish mutually-beneficial relationships with such entities, as we continue to empower and nurture sustainable development,” Chijoro said.

Chijoro described Township Rollers as the best football club in the country, for it has won 13 Botswana Premier League titles, five Kabelano Charity Cups and one Mascom Top 8 title. It has also participated in continental cup competitions. Chijoro said that Mapalastina have over 180 000 registered supporters and a large pool of followers on social media. “This is one of the best supported teams the country has and probably the only one.”

Mapalastina were given a word of caution by the Bank official to always stick together through thick and thin in order to stay relevant “The sky is the limit, there is still a lot to achieve out there, take your achievements to a whole new level, do not be comfortable in your current state, continue dreaming.”Chijoro pleaded with the team to utilise the funds wisely. “You are in a privileged position, plant a seed now, bearing in mind that in the future you will be harvesting from the same tree.” For his part, Rollers Chairman Jagdish Shah said Mapalastina are more than happy to open doors for Stanbic Bank, adding that their hopes are to see the partnership grow in years to come.

“I welcome this gesture with open hands, I believe it will also motivate other companies to support local football in the country, I believe Botswana Football Association (BFA) and BPL will be proud too.” Roller also enjoy fruitful partnerships with Builders Mart, JB Sports, Cresta Lodge, Liberty, Shield, Umbro and Jack’s Gym.

Published in Sports
Monday, 05 December 2016 12:54

Zapata, Mafu in tactical warfare

The eagerly anticipated clash between BTC Premiership giants Gaborone United and Mochudi Center Chiefs at the National Stadium this Saturday is expected to be a tactical showdown between two foreign coaches.

Both Zapata and Mafu come into the game with their reputations on the line. GU’s Rudolf Zapata and Chiefs’ Bongani Mafu are both hard pressed to bring positive results to their respective teams. The 12th man is also expected to be factor in this mouth-watering encounter. The Moyagoleele faithful have been restless and growing increasingly anxious on Zapata’s poor run of form, while Magosi mentor Mafu has gathered praise after recently vanquishing Township Rollers 3-2 over the weekend.

In their last fixture, Zapata’s charges were pegged back to position 10 after losing 2-1 against BTC Premiership rookies, Security Systems. This result has left the fans even more agitated with the coach. The enigmatic Argentine has since adapted a brilliant play of short passing and high pressing, which has been fruitless in front of goalposts thus far.

Zapata may run the risk of being too predictable and as he will be expected to deploy the same tactics against Magosi. Zapata’s attacks are likely to start from the back with two explosive wingbacks in Karabo Phiri occupying the left back and Jackson Lesole on the right. Crucial crosses are expected to flow towards the prolific striker Moatlhodi Ralesotla who has been impetuous in front of the goal area.

Zapata is likely to place all his bets on influential and reliable attacker Mpho Kgaswane. However, it remains to be seen whether the player will be given a free role behind the striker, which can be destructive to the Magosi defense. Kgaswane’s role will be to delay play and allow the inviting runs from Ralesotla.

Kgaswane can also pounce on any missed opportunities by the strikers. Moyagolele now is a place behind Magosi in the log standings. A win for both sides will move them closer to position six, which will see the two teams edge closer to the top of the log. On the other hand, Bongani Mafu has recently redeemed himself among the Magosi faithful.

Beating bitter rivals Rollers will ensure that supporters flock the National Stadium to see Magosi validate their position and status by beating another fierce rival in GU. Magosi’s performance over the weekend saw them rise above Moyagolele on the log to occupy the 9th position.

The Zimbabwean mentor will depend on the same antics he employed against Rollers last weekend. Mafu will be expected to congest his midfield deploying Arnold Mampori, Lesego Molemogi, Lesego Galenamothale and Dirang Moloi; the congested midfield will shut down the shot passes adopted by Moyagolele.

The hefty midfield will play long through balls to the quick youngster Thatayaone Ramatlapeng and the wingers Ayanda Molefhe and Remington Masuku.The wingers will look to occupy the spaces left by the adventurous Moyagolele full backs and play cutbacks to Dirang Moloi who always run late into the attacking area.

Published in Sports
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