Tuesday, 21 May 2019 12:28

Technical bench shake up ahead

As the 2018/19 BTC premiership league winds up, there is a high possibility that coach transfer movement will be the highlight of the 2019/20-transfer window period and the pre season preparations.

Already three big names in the league of Jwaneng Galaxy, Gaborone United and Township Rollers are penetrating the market in search of new coaches for next season.  Coach Miguel Da Costa of Galaxy is allegedly eyeing a move to league giants Township Rollers at the end of the 2018/19 season. BG Sport was reliably informed by one of Rollers’s technical team members that Da Costa has explained that if he does not land a job at Rollers, then he is most likely to leave the country for greener pastures.

What the Portuguese coach is reported to be in need of is a chance to prove himself at a champions league stage. The gaffer won the Mascom Top 8 glory this season to register his first local success with Galaxy.Galaxy spokesperson, Tankiso Morake confirmed this week that the coach’s contract with the club will expire at the end of the season and they are still hopeful that they will convince the gaffer to stay. “We really enjoyed his services however, he has asked that contract talks be postponed until the very last league game,” Morake said.

He would however explain that Da Costa has not confirmed to them of any intentions of joining the Rollers side and always laughs off the matter when questioned. On the other side, Rollers coach Rodolfo Zapata whose contract also comes to an end this month is ready to pack his bags at the Rollers house. BG Sport gathered that no talks concerning contract extension with Zapata have taken place to this end. It is believed that Rollers is now looking for a replacement for the Argentine coach who only joined the club on a six months contract last year.

Zapata came in following the departure of former coach Nikola Kavazovic and the club president and financier Jagdish Shah allegedly spearheaded the Argentine’s appointment. The move left the Rollers technical department divided and there is no guarantee what is most likely to happen should Shah overrule and retain Zapata. On the other side of town, Philemon Makhwengwe who came to Gaborone United’s rescue last year to ensure they secure a top 8 spot might be shown the exit door when his contract comes to an end next month.

It is not clear where Makhwengwe went wrong however, it seems Gaborone United management is not convinced and happy with his capabilities. He too has no offer on the table from GU and in his latest interview with this publication, he explained that he is happy that he delivered on his assignments, which was among others to rise from the relegation spot and finish in the top 8 spot. An official at GU when explaining their reasons for doubting Da Phil said  it was worrisome that despite finishing in the top 8 category, the team struggled to collect maximum points even when playing low ranked teams.

Published in Sports
Tuesday, 16 April 2019 18:23

Mares gallop into next round

For a positive change, the ladies senior national football team, the Mares, have the nation all pumped up ahead of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics qualifier games.

Life has undoubtedly been breathed into the once struggling Botswana ladies side. The Brave Gladiators of Namibia can attest to the fact that the current Mares’ form is nothing they have experienced during any of their previous encounters. Coach Gaolothoo Nkutusang’s side left Namibia all miserable and kicked to a very lonely place in a period of five days. During the first leg of the Olympic qualifiers played in Gaborone this past Friday, the Mares walked into the pitch oozing with nothing but clear confidence.
The cool breeze emanating from the fast approaching winter season sent chills down the spine even before the game started. Perhaps indicating that, what was in store in the 90 minutes was not anticipated.

From the whistle blow, the local side made their intentions clear and it did not come as a surprise when Refilwe Tholakele eventually found the back of the net to silence any hopes of Namibia pinning Botswana to a goalless draw. All breathing gaps were entirely blocked by team Botswana and the Namibians found all their ball tricks fly off the window as they desperately pushed for an equalizing goal. The audience interestingly had not disappointed either, the attendance was quite impressive and perhaps the ladies picked the positive energy and converted it to a performance of blazing ferocity.

When playing a return leg of the game in Namibia this past Tuesday, the local girls cemented their bold statement that they mean business. An early goal from the Gladiators did not anyhow dampen their spirits, and if anything, the ladies came out fiercer than ever. Namibia had at the back of their minds anticipated that they would use the home ground advantage. It all came falling down when Botswana equalized the scores to tie the Brave Gladiators to a 2-2 score line. This meant that the Mares on aggregate, qualified for the next round of the Olympic qualifiers. It is an achievement that the Mares have effortlessly worked for. Namibia has in the past been a pain to deal with and for more than a decade; Botswana has never been able to penetrate the Namibian defence.

It is victory that will surely go down the history books and perhaps a new era for Botswana football. Given the dullness that had engulfed women football locally, an improvement in performance can perhaps lighten up the mood. The ladies are eagerly hoping to gain the recognition that has surrounded men football.

Nevertheless, Botswana will once again be forced to prove that the stellar performance against Namibia was not a fluke. A tough assignment in South Africa’s Banyana Banyana awaits the local ladies in the next round. There can never be any better time to once again challenge the menacing side of Banyana Banyana. Botswana’s last encounter with the South African based side was during the 2018 COSAFA group stages.

Banyana Banyana had at the time struggled to break the Mares defence and just when SA thought that they were nearer to netting more goals, goalkeeper Sedilame Bosija of Botswana proved to be another hurdle Banyana Banyana was never ready for.
Bosija blocked every little chance of SA scoring and even denying them a clear given penalty. It was only in the dying minutes of the game that Botswana handed their opponents their much-needed goal. 

Published in Sports
Tuesday, 16 April 2019 18:20

Sankoyo, kit supplier standoff continues

Botswana Football Association (BFA) regional coordinator Setete Phuthego has confirmed that they have procured an alternative kit for Sankoyo Bush Bucks to use this weekend, in case their supplier repeats the first leg antics.

A week ago, Sankoyo was forced to play in an alternate kit against Sua Flamingoes in Francistown. 90 min Plus, their supplier was said to have failed to deliver well on time. Phuthego said that Simon Ramosweu of 90min Plus when reached, told them that he was currently out of the country and will be returning on Thursday. “We could not trust that he will come back and give us the kit, lest we find ourselves in an impossible situation, we could not afford to let the matter disrupt the games for the second time,” he noted.
The team is scheduled to play Jwaneng Galaxy in Maun this coming weekend.

According to Sankoyo Spokesperson, Thato Molosi, they are in the dark about the whereabouts of their supplier who they say is not even answering his phone when contacted. “We are running around looking for alternatives and the possibility is that we will play using a kit not from our supplier 90min Plus,” Molosi said. It seems there is an ugly standoff between Sankoyo and 90min Plus. In fact, BG Sport can reliably confirm that Sankoyo are looking into terminating their contract with 90min Plus. The contract was only signed in January 2019 and already both parties feel frustrated.

Ramosweu when contacted said that he does not want to share his grievances with the media and will only channel his concerns to the right stakeholders being Orange and BFA. Meanwhile, the unimpressed Orange Public Relations and Social Media Specialist Mosarwa Molema washed his hands clean from the matter, saying it is a team-supplier issue. Molema said that there is something cooking between Sankoyo and 90min Plus.

“We cannot be entangled in teams and their supplier issues, the two parties have answers to this and I actually blame Sankoyo for trusting 90min Plus with the responsibility of delivering the kit,” he said. Molema expressed worry that should Sankoyo once again come to the field of play without the kit, it would negatively affect the brand. He said it was worrisome that a team comes to compete not properly dressed and if the Francistown scenes come to play once again, the possibility of Sankoyo forfeiting the game would not be a far-fetched option. 

Published in Sports
Tuesday, 16 April 2019 17:58

Orange FA pomp continues

Once again, the Orange FA Cup returns this coming weekend with another round of exhilarating football fanfare, upsets and the exit of eight teams from the 2019 tournament. The million-pula question, however, is who amongst the 16 teams will bite the dust as the heat intensifies coming into round three of the Orange FA cup.

The battlefield will be away from the lavish bright green grass but the dusty fields for many teams participating in the tournament. It is only the stone hearted that will survive the blurred vision. Based on the fixtures, it is hard to tell who is most likely to come out victorious however one of the games that will probably spark public interest is that of Orapa United and Sand Diamonds Club of Hukuntsi.

The game will be played at Tshane Prisons Grounds giving Sand Diamonds a home ground advantage. Fortunately for the Hukuntsi based side, they have been saved the trip to travel to Orapa, which might have worked greatly against them as they come into the game as underdogs.

Playing against an elite league giant like Orapa is perhaps one of the most intimidating moments for a second division team of Sand Diamonds. Just the thought of having to break the thick walls of experienced players like Ommatla Kebatho, Mpho Kgaswane, Kobamelo Kebaikanye and Lemogang Maswena to name a few is enough to squash all the Sand Diamonds gathered confidence.

However, Coach Thabo Phori of Diamonds will have to develop a thick skin and try to put out his best show. Having survived round one and two of the tournament could only suggest that he has a pool of bold and defiant players that can take the game to a whole new level when playing Orapa.

Another interesting clash is that of Sankoyo Bush Bucks and Jwaneng Galaxy. Both elite league teams come to play in a very foul mood. Sankoyo has not been doing well this season while Galaxy is busy trying to paint the team as the next best hot thing to have ever happened to Botswana Football. In fact, they are actually doing a good job so far in claiming the bragging rights.

Sankoyo might be down but defiantly not out, the Maun based side actually has a stubborn attitude towards local big teams. Sankoyo can gladly receive serious drubbings from developing teams however always pull from all reserve tanks against big opponents.
With that, Galaxy might just as well prepare for a very electrifying and challenging game in Maun. Nevertheless, Galaxy also can equally decide to humble Sankoyo at whistle blow and totally destroy all tactics and weapons formed against them. 

With the defending champions, Gaborone United out, Township Rollers is one of the teams that are expected to chase the gold title. However, they will have to break the barrier that is Extension Gunners. The match that will be played in Lobatse will see Rollers flex its muscles to eliminate Mapantsola from the competition. Mapantsola are one unpredictable side, Coach Pontsho Moloi as one of the youngest coaches locally is thirsty for blood. In his efforts to mark his presence, defeating Rollers will decorate his portfolio well.

On the other side, Mochudi Centre Chiefs (MCC) will travel all the way to Jwaneng to play against a first division south team of Jwaneng Fighters. MCC will have to prove that they are the bigger team coming into the match however there is no telling how success hungry Fighters will react once provoked at home soil.

Other games scheduled for the weekend are that of Kazungula Fighters against Tafic in Kasane, BDF XI will play Notwane in Molepolole. BR Highlanders against Security Systems and Miscellaneous up against Police XI in Serowe.

Published in Sports
Tuesday, 26 March 2019 17:55

BFA shows BPL who’s the boss

The Botswana Football Association (BFA)‘s decision to reinstate the Premier League Management Committee with immediate effect has rubbed the Botswana Premier League (BPL) Board the wrong way.Following the controversial acts and irregularities that played themselves out in the open at BPL office last week, resulting in one planned game being aborted and the league board divided, the BFA early this week moved swiftly to reinstate the long lost Management Committee to address fixtures.

A decision that the BFA thought as a cool down remedy that would restore order at the BPL office. Nevertheless it seems the fire has not been put out yet, if anything, BFA has further angered the BPL board. Allegations reaching this publication suggest that sometime this week, the BPL wrote a letter of displeasure to the BFA president about the recent unfolding developments. However, BFA CEO Mfolo Mfolo has denied receiving such a letter from BPL.

Meanwhile, it appears that the BPL board feels that BFA acted on emotions when they decided to reinstate the committee without even involving them. A story carried by BG Sport last week questioned why the BPL office did not have a Management Committee despite the fact that the BFA constitution demanded such. The Management Committee should be responsible for the control and administration of the premier league competitions. The club chairmen were conflicted when it came to issues of fixtures and as such, they were now pointing fingers at the BPL Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Thabo Ntshinogang for turning BPL office into a one- man show.

Nevertheless this week, when BFA saw the need to bring back the Management Committee, the BPL was visibly thrown to the dogs by the  football mother body. The BFA leadership even issued a press statement, apologizing for the controversial aborted Miscellaneous and Township Rollers game. The BFA National Executive Committee even assured that they are investigating the matter and will get to the bottom of it and remedial actions will be taken if necessary.

On the other hand, the BPL office never publicly apologized. In fact, prior to the aborted game, Ntshinogang had written a letter to Miscellaneous telling them that there shall be consequences if they did not attend the scheduled game. He had at the time seen nothing wrong with the decisions his office made prior to the cancelled game. It remains unclear if BFA feels that BPL is to blame for the outcome of events or not.  Nevertheless the tricky part is that section 12.5.3 of the BFA constitution that speaks of powers of the premier league board says that the board is responsible for the appointment of the management committee headed by the Premier league Executive Director.

According to Mfolo, the Executive Director in this regard is Ntshinogang. Quizzed if BFA was not stepping on BPL toes more so  that the board as per the constitution should appoint their own committee, Mfolo was defensive arguing that when things go wrong, they have the authority to act within the best interest of football and with that, they had to intervene.

BG sport has it in good authority that BPL was not present when BFA met with the reinstated Management Committee this Monday. In fact those who were present at the meeting have told this publication that the meeting was very brief and only informing them that they are now back at BPL. The man who is heading the committee, Booker Bannister, when reached  for comment said that BFA has not given them any details as to what they need his team to do. “I feel I cannot comment at the moment because we are yet to be told why we have been reinstated and what it is that we need to do,” he said.

The Management  Committee was dissolved in 2017 when Rapula Okaile was the BPL board chairman. It was alleged at the time, that there were wrangles between the BPL board and the Committee. The board felt the committee was disrespecting their presence while the management committee also demanded respect from the league board. Mfolo however said that they will be following the constitution this time around and if all want to protect the image of football, they have to find common ground and operate in a manner that will prevent the BPL’s name to be brought into disrepute.

Published in Sports
Tuesday, 26 March 2019 17:46

Juluka bounces back

In a rather surprising turn of events this week Zebras caretaker coach Mogomotsi Teenage ‘Mpote’ appointed Joel ‘Juluka’ Mogorosi as team captain for the Saturday 2019 Afcon qualifier against Angola.

Mpote who recently caused an uproar among football supporters after leaving the on-form veteran striker out when he  announced the  new Zebras squad. However, the national team's coach seems to have made a U turn and called the Township Rollers forward to the squad and awarded him the captain’s arm band. Mogorosi who has   served the Zebras for the better part of the decade is currently the top goal scorer with 15 goals in the BTC Premiership. The decision by Mpote was enough to leave many supporters and other stakeholders dumbfounded and questioning the coach’s judgement.

During a recent press conference, Mpote made it clear that he preferred younger players in the Zebras line up. Mpote went on to explain why ageing Mogorosi is not in the squad despite his stellar form. In return, Mogorosi remains diplomatic and cordial when responding to the decision to leave him out of the Zebras squad. “It is up to the coach whether he needs me or not. I respect any coach’s decision. Whatever Mpote did I am happy with it, I am not going to cry over this. He has his reason,” Mogorosi said in a recent interview.

Meanwhile, Mogorosi is currently preparing for the Saturday game alongside his team mates in Francistown. In a brief interview this week, Botswana Football Association (BFA) spokesperson Tumo Mpatane confirmed that Mogorosi is the team captain for the Saturday encounter. However, Mpatane said appointing Mogorosi is purely a technical decision which cannot be questioned. Furthermore, Mpatane said there is a lot of unity among players in the team.

“The team consists of players who are familiar with one another having played together in the under 17 and Under 23 national teams,” Mpatane said. The BFA mouthpiece said Mogorosi is already hard at work and guiding the younger players. After the training session this afternoon Joel encouraged the younger players to move on from their previous teams and concentrate on being Zebras players. Mpatane said it was their hope for supporters to buy tickets and come to the stadium in good numbers. The Zebras have since been eliminated from the 2019 Afcon qualifiers.

Published in Sports
Tuesday, 26 March 2019 17:39

BFA addresses women’s boots row

The ladies senior national team coach Gaolethoo Nkutusang has put her head on the block to defend Botswana Football Association (BFA) and instructing her players to attend camp with their own boots and trainers.

This week allegations surfaced that there was disorder brewing ahead of the scheduled camp as the ladies have been asked to bring their own training equipment when reporting for camp this coming weekend. It was alleged that the ladies could not be provided with the items as normally done.

Nevertheless, Nkutusang when responding to the matter was quick to shield BFA saying it was actually her idea that players bring their own items. “They will be provided with those boots by BFA however in the mean time while they wait, I asked them to bring their own boots,” the coach said. Ronaldo as the coach is widely known, explained that they cannot waste time waiting for the training equipment to be delivered while they have a few days from playing their first Olympic qualification game against Namibia. Botswana will play Namibia on the 5th of April in Gaborone.

The coach said the squad to face Namibia has already been selected and names will be released soon. With that, Nkutusang said that the ladies should not be cry -babies and toughen up saying that being called up for national team duty means that a player has an opportunity to be signed outside the country if they impress.

“How will they play to perfection if they are busy complaining about new boots, I suggest they use their own boots so that they can be comfortable enough to run in them. A new boot can make a player uncomfortable and they start making excuses, however we have no time for excuses,” defended Nkutusang. Experience has even taught the lady that has been coaching the team for more than five years that players normally fit the new boots and put them aside for their old ones. She noted that its not like the ladies have nothing to use as the players are active at their respective clubs.

The coach went on to say that even the men’s team does not come to camp leaving their boots at home and that is the spirit that the ladies should also adopt. Nkutusang went on to say that BFA have their own shortfalls however they are really trying to rectify their mistakes and resurrect women football. The  coach  expressed confidence that Botswana will in the near future have a competitive women football side, as the BFA Technical Director, Serame Letsoaka is a man busy at work.

Now with, the recent arrival of the German expect Dr. Carolin Bruan, who will be in Botswana for a period of two years,has boosted  Nkutusang’s confidence. For  his part, BFA CEO Mfolo Mfolo said that there is no how they cannot provide the ladies with the much-needed equipment, as they really want to build a competitive ladies team. He explained that there might be some delays but the training gear will eventually come. BFA recently signed a five- year deal with the English sportswear and football equipment supplier Umbro. It was announced that Umbro will supply the national teams with training and off field apparel. 

Published in Sports
Tuesday, 05 March 2019 15:14

Jagdish overstays at BPL

The President of Township Rollers Club Jagdish Shah, who doubles as Chairman of Botswana Premier League (BPL) board of governors is still at the helm of BPL top seat, past his announced three -month temporary term.

Shah was appointed as BPL interim chairman in March 2018 following the resignation of former Chairman, Rapula Okaile. At the time of his appointment, the BPL leadership had announced that Shah will be leading the BPL board for only three months. It was reported during his appointment that the BPL board would after three months go for elections. A year later, Shah is still holding tight to the chairman position and no communication from BPL has been made to this end.

Shah’s appointment as chairman was marred with controversy with the BPL heavily criticized and accused of deliberately bending the rules to accommodate Shah. The BPL board of governors is made up of chairmen from the 16 BPL clubs. The appointment of Shah came as a surprise to some; it was not common that BPL picks a club president to be the board chairman. Some had expected that the board chairman would be picked from the 16 official representing teams as it had been practice in the past.

It was even questioned during the unveiling of Shah why BPL appeared to be rushing to replace Okaile and if there were any pressing issues that needed the immediate attention of a BPL chairman. Some even argued that not much could be done in a short period of three months and advised that perhaps it was wise that BPL brings someone who would be long term to avoid interruption to their decision –making processes.

However, the BPL Vice Chairperson, Solomon Mantswe defended the move saying that Shah brought with him smart experience in football management, a pill that BPL was said to badly need.  At the top of the list, Shah was assigned to assist in bringing financial stability at BPL. Being a local business tycoon, Shah has without doubt been leading a successful campaign at Rollers as the team’s main sponsor.

“Yes he was appointed on an interim basis when Okaile resigned from the board around 15th February 2018 and the board has not decided yet on whether they would appoint a new chairperson or appoint Shah on a long term basis,” BPL Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Thabo Ntshinogang said in an interview.

Ntshinogang went on to note that Shah is a volunteer just like any other club chairman and not in any way contracted to BPL. The BPL board, he said, appoints the chairman, Deputy Chairman and Treasurer on a two -year term.

Published in Sports
Tuesday, 26 February 2019 12:26

Hot seat vacant

The search is now on for the next Zebras coach after the Botswana Football Association (BFA) Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Mfolo Mfolo confirmed that they have since parted ways with the veteran tactician, Major David Bright.

Bright was reportedly handed a letter to show course why the association should not terminate his   contract a week ago. However, both the BFA and Bright remained mum on the issue as speculation grew on the coach’s future at Lekidi. Some of the targets given to the local coach included qualifying for the 2019 Afcon finals and moving the Zebras up 15 places in the World FIFA rankings. When addressing members of the media at a press conference in Gaborone this week, Mfolo said the current regime at the BFA wanted to stop senior national team activities but this  was not possible.

“The BFA National Executive Committee (NEC) has done a thorough introspection on the activities of the senior national team and I wish to state that we as the Association would like to thank the senior national team coach for what he has done for the sport.” Quizzed on whether they fully supported the coach, Mfolo said the coach was given adequate time to prepare the national team especially during the designated FIFA week.

“There was no other time to prepare the team because there are league games and other competitions around the country. In some countries the team even converges when they play their games.” The BFA secretariat boss said they had agreed to deliverables with the coach and whenever one felt that it was getting hot, they were free to jump ship. “Even if you are in a situation where you are building the team, results are expected.”

Furthermore, Mfolo explained that the departure of the coach meant that the whole senior national team technical bench was dismantled, adding that some of them may be brought back under a different dispensation.  During Bright’s tenure at Zebras there were instances where a player allegedly sneaked alcohol into camp and other questionable behaviour. In response to issues of discipline, Mfolo said it was up to the   technical team to instil discipline in the players. 

With regards to the future of the national team, Mfolo said, the senior national team coach is an executive position in the Association. “So, it is only proper that we advertise it. In the interim, the Technical Director is expected to consult with the coaches association in order to prepare for the Afcon qualifier game against Angola. “ Meanwhile, Bright could not be reach on his mobile at press time.

Published in Sports
Tuesday, 26 February 2019 12:22

Tsotso’s talent being stifled – Kowa

Former Botswana Football Association (BFA) Technical Director, Matshidiso Kowa, credited for developing Zebras midfielder Mogakolodi Ngele, one of the greatest football exports Botswana has ever produced, did not mince his words in a recent interview when he accused South African Mamelodi Sundown’s coach Pitso Mosimane of destroying the player's career. The development coach lashed out at Sundowns for the way his beloved protégé is being treated.

Speaking to BG Sports about Ngele’s career stall, Kowa has called on Mosimane to set Ngele free so he can spread his wings elsewhere. “A professional coach shouldn’t have any problems selling players to other teams, if you remember very well Tsotso was flourishing when he was loaned to Bidvest Wits in the 2016/2017 season, he won the league and he was withdrawn from Wits. Several teams like Kaizer Chiefs, Orlando Pirates and Bidvest Wits were after him but an individual won’t sell him because he fears the harm he can cause.”

Kowa said professional coaches all over the world give players a chance to play elsewhere if they don’t fit in their team, “Luis Van Gaal bought Angel Di Maria while at Manchester United and the player wasn’t what he thought he would be, he then sold him, Alvaro Morata is currently being given a chance to play at Atletico Madrid but he wasn’t playing at Chelsea, why can’t Pitso do the same thing with Tsotso?” Kowa retorted. “I was listening to the radio yesterday and Mosimane was accused of destroying talent in South Africa, remember Sibusiso Vilakazi who was causing Sundowns headaches while at Wits, George Lebese was at the peak of his game at Kaizer Chiefs, Pitso picked and froze them.”

Kowa says he has had an encounter with Mosimane before and questioned him about the player, “I met Mosimane in Morocco not so long ago, when I asked him about the player, he said he is becoming lazy, I told him to sell the player. He didn’t sell him, obviously because Sundowns is one of Patrice Motsepe’s hobbies, they are not that professional if you can observe.” Furthermore, Kowa  expressed disappointment over youngsters who never return to their roots when they need advice, “these youngsters never return to us to ask for our advice under this kind of circumstances, instead they go to sharks, people who don’t appreciate the good that you do; when you do something good, people want to take it away from you and drag it down below.”

He stressed that Ngele is getting old and he remains stuck with a reserve side as he is currently training away from the first team at Sundowns, “Age is not on his side, I don’t know if he is even playing in the reserve league but if he is playing I guarantee you he will go back to his best if he finds another team,”  Kowa lamented.

At the peak of his strength, Ngele won the MTN 8 Trophy and the Telkom Knockout with Platinum Stars; back then he was a pricking thorn to Orlando Pirates, Kaizer Chiefs and his current Club Mamelodi Sundowns. He went on to win two Absa Premiership title, one with Sundowns and the other with Bidvest Wits. As if that was not enough, he added to his list another Telkom Knockout trophy with Mamelodi Sundowns.

Published in Sports

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