Magoleng host Magosi in fight for promotion
Kgatleng giants Mochudi Centre Chiefs will be looking to cut down Black Forest when they travel to Mmankgodi on Saturday in search of their first win of the year.
Having picked up just one point from their two fixtures in 2020, Chiefs’ hopes of an immediate return to the Premier League are fading fast.
With just eight games remaining, the four-time league champions find themselves ten points adrift of Debswana First Division South leader’s Masitaoka.
Currently in 4th position, Magosi’s most likely route back to the top flight looks to be through the play-offs.
To achieve this, they would have to make up a five-point gap to second-placed Mogoditshane Fighters.
However, Black Forest harbor promotion aspirations of their own.
Magoleng, who like Chiefs were relegated from the elite division last season, go into Saturday’s clash on the back of successive 1-0 wins over Jwaneng Fighters and Mogoditshane.
The results saw Forest rise to 5th in the league. They now trial Chiefs by a single point.
Speaking to Voice Sport this week, Forest coach Reetsang Letlole refused to get carried away with his side’s recent form.
“We are still in a building phase; we lost so many players when we relegated! So it is a start-over with a pool of young players. If it happens for us to win the league it will be a bonus,” he declared, stressing his team were well prepared for the visit of Chiefs.
Letlole is adamant home advantage will play a factor and called on Magoleng’s famously vocal supporters to turn up in numbers.
“We are playing in front of our home crowd and we will be relying heavily on them to carry us. They are happy and we would like to keep it that way by winning matches!”
For his part, Chiefs mouthpiece John Marumo said the club were confident of getting their stuttering season back on track.
“We have thoroughly prepared for Forest and we want nothing but a win. However, it is not going to be an easy match because they are an equally good side and they can cause an upset on the day,” he admitted cautiously.
Quizzed on the loss of influential captain Jomo
Moatlhaping, who left for Police XI last month, Marumo was philosophical in his response.
“In football, players come and go. Jomo made his mark in our history and it was time for his departure and we are grateful for his services. Moreover, our mandate remains the same – to rejuvenate Magosi and return to the elite league!” he said, before turning his attention to the unruly behavior of a section of Chiefs fans after last week’s 1-0 loss to Red Sparks.
Sparks flew after the defeat, when around 15 Chiefs fans got involved in a punch up with opposition supporters.
“Chiefs supporters need to be called to order. We are of aware of our recent form but the behaviour they portrayed during the Red Sparks loss is not condoned and it should stop,” warned Marumo.
(All the games to be played on Saturday at 4pm)
Masitaoka FC v Jwaneng Fighters
Ncojane Young Stars v Holy Ghost
Matebejana v Mogoditshane Fighters
Red Sparks v Broadhurst United
Mochudi Rovers v Union Flamengo Santos
Black Forest v Mochudi Centre Chiefs
A dream deferred
CORONA PUTS SLOVAKIA ON HOLD FOR LOCAL DUO
The chance of a lifetime, to play domestic football in Europe, has been put on hold for two local ladies as the coronavirus pandemic keeps its killer claws wrapped tightly around world sport.
National team players, goalkeeper Sedilame Bosija and striker Reilwe Tholakele were meant to leave for a four-month trial with top Slovakian side Partizan Bardejov at the start of March.
The try-outs were scheduled to run until 30 June, as the duo looked to secure contracts with the Division One outfit.
That dream has been deferred, for now.
The pioneering pair were identified by Bardejov after impressing during the national team’s training camp in Slovakia last year.
The Mares had travelled to the landlocked Central European nation as part of their preparations for the Olympic Qualifiers.
It proved to be an apt choice.
Shortly after their return from the West, the ladies famously went on to knock South Africa out in the second round of qualifying, beating their mighty neighbours 3-2 on penalties after the two-legged tie finished goalless.
23-year-old Bosija starred in the match, brilliantly saving two penalties to cap a heroic performance.
Although the journey would ultimately end in a narrow loss to Zambia in the next round, the victory over a South African side who had competed at the World Cup just a month earlier remains a milestone in local sport.
For the trail-blazing Bosija, making history is nothing new.
The Tutume-born shot stopper became the first Motswana lady to play in the South African league when leading club Bloemfontein Celtic snatched her up in 2017.
Bosija’s three-year contract with Celtic came to an end last December and she remains anxious to explore new opportunities.
Tholakele, meanwhile, has made her name at the other end of the pitch.
The 24-year-old Township Rollers forward is a natural goal-scorer and has led the line for the national team for many years now.
Tholakele’s speed and strength, combined with her clever movement make her a nightmare for defenders to play against.
Speaking to Voice Sport this week, a disappointed Bosija said she had no doubt that both herself and Tholakele would have excelled at Bardejov.
“It is unfortunate that we could not travel because of this world disaster. But the deal still stands and we are hopeful this shall pass and we will be able to go.”
Indeed, the dedicated keeper revealed she is working hard on her fitness to ensure she is ready to pounce when her chance arrives.
“I am currently training every day in the afternoon to keep fit and national team Goalkeeper Coach Thabo Motang is facilitating the training. There was another team in Czech Republic which was interested in signing me but the Slovakian one was quick to send a letter. We agreed with our agent Moran Nthoiwa to go there and the team was to pay our four-month stay expenses,” explained Bosija, who started playing football as an 11-year-old at Monarch Primary School in Francistown.
Originally Bosija began as a striker but, fortunately for Botswana football, fate was to intervene.
“One day during school ball games our goalkeeper was absent and my teammate, Tshiamo Manuel advised me to take the position. We lost 1-0 but the coach was impressed by my performance and so I continued in goal.”
And the rest, as they say, is history.
“We qualified to represent the Francistown region in the nationals where I was identified by Tshepo Mphukuthi who called me for U13 camp. I was very consistent in my performance and played for U15, U17, U20 and now senior national team. I played for Rollers from 2013 to 2015 and in 2016 I joined Double Action where I played for few months before I was signed by Celtic,” summarised Bosija, who was quick to thank the Botswana Football Association (BFA) for their part in her rise.
It is a rise that for now must come to a standstill.
The next chapter, however, should make for fascinating reading!
BNOC to call off camp
LOC to meet with affected federations
Following the postponement of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games to next year due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, Botswana National Olympic Committee (BNOC) is mulling the idea of calling off camp.
International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach and the Prime Minister of Japan, Abe Shinzo took a decision on Tuesday to reschedule the Olympic Games to the summer of 2021.
The decision was made to safeguard the health of the athletes, everybody involved in the Olympic Games and the international community.
Likewise, BNOC held an emergency meeting on Wednesday and the Local Organising Committee has been tasked with meeting with management from the affected sporting codes to deliver the outcome of the meeting before an official announcement is made.
Voice Sport has been reliably informed that while many agreed that it made sense to break camp due to cost implications, federations are however worried about their athletes who are likely to lose form.
Athletes who have already qualified and many still chasing their qualification berth went in to camp in November last year.
The camp comprises of athletes from athletics, boxing, weight lifting and swimming.
Speaking to Voice Sport on Wednesday evening, a worried BNOC Chief Executive Officer Tuelo Serufho said an official announcement will be made after LOC has met with concerned federations. Serufho told Voice Sport that they find themselves between a rock and a hard place as they currently don’t know whether IOC will extend the qualifying period, or what lies in store for those who’ve already qualified.
According to the previous schedule athletics and boxing qualifiers were to go on until the end of June while judo and swimming were scheduled up until the end of July.
Serufho said BNOC is worried that athletes will lose form since there will be no competitions unless the CoronaVirus scare subsides.
“What are we going to do to sustain their performance since they are not allowed to train as a team?” Serufho asked rhetorically.
He revealed to Voice Sport that due to the suspension of sporting activities they had to cancel their plans of sending athletes to a High Performance Center in South Africa.
“Some of our athletes were scheduled to go for a training session in Europe at the end of June,” he said.
Over the weekend two athletes Baboloki Thebe and Onkabetse Nkobolo were involved in a car accident after they sneaked out of camp for a boozy night out.
Quizzed on measures they have in place to ensure that all athletes follow their coaches training programmes to remain fit and disciplined, Serufho could only say they will discuss the issue with Federations.
“Botswana Athletics Association is currently investigating the incident involving those two athletes and they are expected to give BNOC a full report,” said Serufho.
Botswana is still looking to add to her only Olympic success, a 2012 Silver medal won by 800m sprinter Nijel Amos at the London Summer Olympics.
The 2021 Olympics offers the nation another opportunity a rare but greatly desired podium finish.