Botswana senior national chess team’s dreams of progressing to the next round of the 2021 FIDE Online Olympiad crumbled over the weekend following a dismal performance.
Having been placed in Pool C of Division 3, Botswana only managed a position five finish out of ten teams.
From nine games played, The Stripes managed to accumulate 11 match points and 29 game points respectively.
Botswana managed to grab five wins against Zambia, Kosovo, Wales, and International Chess Community for the Deaf and Palestine but succumbed to heaviest defeats to Scotland, Nigeria and Angola.
However what was even disappointing was being held to a draw by minnows United Arab Emirates which was the lowliest ranked team in the pool.
With the performance, Botswana failed to finish in the top 3 which robbed them of an opportunity to be elevated to the Division 2 as well as a medal category in Pool C.
However sources close to the team have hinted that the dismal performance can be blamed on the technical team led by FM Phemelo Khetho which resorted to fielding in youngsters in senior boards ahead of experienced players such as WIMs Kgalalelo Botlhole and Onkemetse Francis.
Reached for comment, assistant coach Ivon Makabe expressed mixed feelings about the team performance.
“It’s an excellent performance but the problem is that we didn’t achieve the target set from the previous Olympiad. This was the time to go to the next stage, previous Olympiad was a build up to this one, and unfortunately some people don’t like continuity. We didn’t perform according to expectations considering that last year we beat Nigeria and Angola but we lost to them badly this time around. It’s more like players were on their own because I personally managed to help only two players whom I had access to where they were playing from. The rest were playing from their homes and it was difficult to try and instill team spirit and togetherness for the competition,” said Makabe.