The 4thAnnual Motang Tlou Soccer Challenge will return to Barolong Farms from 26th until 28th December. This year the format has been more inclusive as all teams in the Barolong area have been given an equal and fair chance of participating in what is dubbed the “Barolong Premier Top 8 Soccer Tournament”.

The finals of the tournament are expected to be played on the 28th December 2018 in Good Hope. The format is a knockout tournament played in 3 days where the winner will receive  P7500.00 in prize money, a floating trophy and 20 gold medals for the team and its technical staff.

Other teams are expected to get consolation prizes as per the stage they have reached in the tournament. One of the tournament organisers Kennedy Motang said: “In this year’s tournament the organisers have introduced an SMS voting line through the support of VIB Mobile where an average of 42 teams in the entire Barolong region have fiercely participated.”

Motang said voting lines are expected to close this Sunday at midnight, adding that tournament organisers are expecting the SMS voting campaign to help in raising funds to pay for a few of the administrative costs. “The Top 8 teams will then be finalized after counting verifications have been done.” The tournament is the passionate Motang’s initiative to provide soccer entertainment during the festive season in the Barolong Farms region.

“The options were not there for Barolong as the only entertainment available has been traditional choirs. Motang said the tournament was first launched in 2014 and was sponsored from his own pocket.” It was way of giving back to the community and nurture talent that exists in the Barolong area. His love for football dates back to when he was young and a staunch supporter of Township Rollers, Kaizer Chiefs and Arsenal. 

Motang explained that he has experience in marketing local football and this has come in handy when organising the tournament. “I want to help identify talent and see it playing in the elite leagues of Botswana and possibly outside the country.” This year a few friends have begun to see the good in this initiative and expressed interest in assisting through any form or means.

Meanwhile Motang said they would have wished to invite South African football legend Doctor Khumalo as a guest during the finals but budgetary constraints could not allow.

Published in Sports
Tuesday, 11 December 2018 11:08

Zapata hangs in limbo

There seems to be more to Rodolfo Zapata’s Township Rollers appointment as new coach than meets the eye. The uncertainty of when the newly appointed coach will finally take over the reins at Mapalastina is dragging longer than anticipated.

Zapata was announced as Rollers coach two months back but his permit is said to be pending up to now. He was roped in at Rollers following the abrupt departure of coach Nikola Kavazovic from the club. The Rollers management is adamant that the only thing delaying is Zapata’s work permit from the Department of Immigration, however issues surrounding Zapata’s appointment have been sketchy, with the team careful enough not to reveal much.

However, an insider at Rollers has informed BG Sport that the contract signed by Zapata and Rollers is for a short period of time, perhaps less than a year. Now with things still stuck in limbo, there is no telling what might happen, an extension, possibly? A few weeks after Zapata was announced as the new Rollers coach, allegations surfaced that Zapata’s former team, Gaborone United prior to leaving for Kenya, was determined to make life difficult for the Argentine’s stay at Rollers.

Nevertheless, GU Chairman Boitumelo Nsunge has since laughed off the matter saying they want nothing to do with Zapata and Rollers officials should find better ways of handling their matters and not drag their name in the mud. Contrary to Nsunge’s claims, this publication is reliably informed by a source at Rollers that the team has recently written a letter to GU. Allegations are that GU management is said to be still holding tight to Zapata’s working permit that was bound to expire next year. Perhaps that is one of the reasons that even the Immigration office is finding it hard to issue another permit to Zapata as his GU permit is still active.

It is not clear how the whole saga will end however Rollers General Manager Sydney Magagane is said to be busy at work, regarding the contract that Zapata had with GU. Magagane, a man well- known to be the master mind when it comes to play rules and regulations might just be Rollers’s ticket out of the current mess.

“There is no other reason (for the delay) than waiting for the Immigration to complete its work; GU has never made contact with us,” Rollers Spokesperson Bafana Pheto said this week. When reached, Zapata also said that he was waiting for his permit and refused to comment further on the matter, saying he was in no position to divulge any information at the moment. It remains to be seen how all will pan out, but GU is still owing Zapata over P300 000, and that could be one of the reasons that saw him abandon the team in the first place.

Published in Sports
Tuesday, 11 December 2018 11:04

Sankoyo tittering in the relegation zone

Dark clouds of relegation are hovering over the Maun based BTC Premiership outfit, Sankoyo Bush Bucks. The situation is  currently haunting  football enthusiasts residing in the north west side of Botswana. The team is currently neck-to-neck against the relegation spot after week 13 of the 2018/19 BTC premiership league.

Dreams were also shattered on the other side, North East this past season when Francistown based TAFIC were relegated to the Debswana National First division. It would come as a heavy blow for the northern part of Botswana if Ngurungu, as Sankoyo is affectionately known were to go down the same route.This will mean that the North side of Botswana will have no representative in the local premier league. The thirst for the game of football would, once again, dehydrate the north based community. Panic is slowly creeping in at Ngurungu given that they survived relegation by a whisker last season. It was only in the dying moments of the 2017/18 season that Sankoyo breathed a sigh of relief when TAFIC finally dropped the ball and waved goodbye to the elite league.

Sankoyo management and players are best placed to interpret the current log standings better than anyone; eight points after playing 13 games, registering one win, seven losses and five draws. At this stage, if it is not fear, then it can only be worry that is slowly stealing the remnants of their peace of mind.

Like a loyal servant, the Club Chairman Obusitswe John, chooses not to press the panic buttons just yet. He wants to remain calm and believe that his club will survive the intimidating storms threatening to shake his boat. He too agrees that Sankoyo cannot afford to disappoint Maun; they need to inject life into the team in order to keep their premier league status alive. John recalls that back in 2014 when they first knocked on the league doors, they were full of energy and went on to challenge league giants, Township Rollers. However, with time, they have seen some of their valuable players abandon the club for greener pastures and it has since proved difficult to replace them.

It does not help that like many local clubs, their finances are also skating on thin ice. The Sankoyo Community Trust is overwhelmed with the responsibility of financing all expenses of the team and this has since bled the Sankoyo trust coffers dry. “As you are aware our club is from the north and 90 percent of the teams playing in the league are from the South. This means that we are always playing outside Maun and spending more on accommodation and transport expenses,” John said.The Sankoyo Chairman went on to say that if only the Botswana Premier League (BPL) could look at factors such as distance when distributing grants, it would be ideal.  BPL has instead resorted to slashing the monthly grants from P50 000 to P35 000.

John added that despite the struggles, he appreciates the special attention the Botswana Football President (BFA) Maclean Letshwiti is giving to Sankoyo Club. “He is very supportive and wants us to stay in the elite league, I recently had a one on one meeting with him and we discussed why Sankoyo cannot relegate to first division,” he said.

John remained cagey when further asked how Letshwiti was assisting his struggling side. Ahead of their next fixture against the equally struggling side of Mochudi Centre Chiefs next week Tuesday, John said the game is a must win for them.“We cannot afford a loss and not even a draw against Chiefs,” he declared.

Published in Sports
Tuesday, 11 December 2018 10:41

Popa Popa rolls downhill

The decline of Township Rollers’ fortunes was inevitable in the eyes of some of its supporters and local football observers. The reigning BTC Premiership champions crashed out of the 2018/19 CAF champions league this past Tuesday following their historic exploits in the same competitions last season.

Popa were knocked out of the tournament by the less fancied Bantu FC via a 4-2 penalty after a 2-2 aggregate score lines in Lesotho this past Tuesday. The two teams played to a one all draw last week and worrying signs were already apparent at MmaMasire. There are many talking points derived from the poor form the reigning champions are currently experiencing. Many, including supporters and football critics have quickly blamed it on the technical team department. It is now apparent that there is a gaping hole in the Rollers technical team following the departure of Serbian head coach Nikola Kavazovic before the looming arrival of Argentine Rudolf Zapata as the replacement.

During his brief stay at MmaMasire the controversial Serbian instilled his own ethos in both players, technical team and management. Despite an unconventional way of doing things, the polarising character, Kavazovic brought results to MmaMasire; in what was almost a clean sweep, he won the 2017/18 title league, Mascom Top 8 and led Rollers to the historic feat of becoming the first local team to make it to the CAF group stages and attracted a seven figure pay .

One could now argue that what is lacking at Rollers is leadership, at least in the technical department. Prior to the first leg encounter against Bantu, Rollers caretaker coach Thabo Motang declared that anything less than reaching the CAF champs league group stages will be a total failure. He also declared that positive results and nothing else is what Rollers expected.

“It is a pressure cooker,” Motang declared.In Kavazovic, a staunch disciplinarian who did not pamper any player at MmaMasire with heads often rolling in both the technical team and players. It is now apparent that Kavazovic has left a void within Popa and opponents like Bantu are there to pick up the pieces. It would be difficult for incoming Rollers coach to fill the void as he will need to instil his own philosophy and culture at the team.  With some of the best players the local market has to offer, Zapata will be able to scrape through and stay in the title race. However, it remains to be seen whether Zapata’s version of Popa will reach the heights Kavazovic has achieved.

Zapata believes in a more physical game and rigorous training regime that might stress some of the aging players within MmaMasire.  The   Argentine, whose long term plans at Rollers are in doubt, is a capable coach, having led a languishing Gaborone United to an amazing position four in the league last season. It is not only international teams that are a threat to Rollers, rival teams like Orapa United and Jwaneng Galaxy are watching from nearby and will be aiming to take advantage of the current poor form at Rollers.

Orapa have already claimed Popa’s scalp during the first round and the former Rollers assistant coach Teenage Mpote is aiming to inflict more damage in the second round. The fall of Rollers this season is just another example of the lack of consistency and continuity in local football.

Published in Sports
Friday, 20 July 2018 15:59

Ahly expose Popa defensive flaws

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.

Published in Sports
Friday, 20 July 2018 15:53

Notwane FC lifts the Madonsela Cup

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.

Published in Sports
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 15:31

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
Wednesday, 08 November 2017 11:10

Magosistill in the fight

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.

Published in Sports
Wednesday, 06 September 2017 12:10

BISA, BOPSSA team in Lesotho

 

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.

Published in Sports

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