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Diamonds in the cup

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*Galaxy and Orapa clash in Mascom Top8

Diamond brothers, Jwaneng Galaxy and Orapa United, put their league aspirations on hold this Sunday as they go in search of Top 8 glory once again.

Having won three of the last four editions, the two mining teams have rich pedigree when it comes to this tournament.

They also boast a rich history against each other, facing off in the 2017 Final, when a thrilling climax to the competition saw Galaxy clinch their maiden title, running out 4-3 winners after extra time.

Galaxy have since added to that triumph, sealing their second Top 8 last year, beating Gaborone United 2-0 in a one-sided final in Francistown.

Having dispatched of the same opponents this time around, the defending champions will be hungry for more success as they seek to become the first club to win the tournament three times.

Indeed, it could be a history-making year for Galaxy as they are also looking to become the first team to retain the cup. However, standing in their way is Orapa United.

REPRESENTING ORAPA UNITED: Tiiso

The country’s form team, the Ostriches, currently top the Premier League and go into Sunday’s first-leg on the back of an impressive 4-0 thrashing of BDF XI.

For Orapa, it is now four years since their title-winning campaign, when a young Madinda Ndlovu-led side sent shockwaves around the country, defeating the mighty Township Rollers 3-1.

The result promised to be a breakthrough moment for the Boys from Boteti.

However, although they have since made two finals – losing to Galaxy and then Rollers in 2018 – Orapa are yet to add to their 2016 success.

Now under the tutelage of another wily tactician, Mogomotsi ‘Teenage’ Mpote, they look well-placed for another shot at glory.

“Our recent run of good results in the league is permanent. Players are starting to understand my style of play, which is showing in our results,” the former Zebras boss told Voice Sport this week.

Keeping his cards close to his chest, Mpote went on to say, “Furthermore, our plan is to translate our good performance to the league cup against Galaxy, who are not really an easy side but we are going to approach the match with an intention to get a victory.”

Despite the first-leg being in Jwaneng, Mpote stressed his team would play attacking football and take the game to their opponents.

“Galaxy are going to be having a 12th player, who are the supporters, but I told my boys that as long we are playing in Botswana, we are home and can achieve any result we want at a given time,” he stressed.

Addressing the media on Wednesday, Mpote’s opposite number, Miguel Da Costa, said they would not be dwelling on last year’s triumph.

JWANENG GALAXY COACH: Miguel Da Costa

“Our approach this season is new, with a fresh mentality, hence we are not going to be carried away by our last year’s Mascom Top 8 triumph.”

Turning his attention to Sunday’s opponents, the Portuguese national said, “We want to beat Orapa United at home even though we have so much respect for them, we are going to go all the way out!”

Meanwhile, the other Mascom Top 8 semi-final pitted two-time winners, Rollers, against BDF XI – a repeat of the 2014 final, which the Army Boys won 5-4 on penalties.

Popa go into the fixture full of confidence having hit Police XI for seven at the weekend. BDF XI, on the other hand, suffered their worst defeat of the season, trounced 4-0 by a rampant Orapa.

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School sports in doubt

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Government owes teachers over P30 million

There’s uncertainty over whether teachers will honour a calendar of events for sports activities scheduled for this first term of the year.

Schools should be gearing for athletics competitions, but there has been no correspondence from the Ministry of Basic Education.

Both Botswana Integrated Sports Association (BISA) and Botswana Primary Schools Sports Association (BOPSSA), have already submitted their calendar of events and are still awaiting a response from the Ministry.

However with an outstanding balance of over P32 million, a grant meant to cover both sports activities held in July 2019, the Ministry finds itself between a rock and a hard place.

Responding to a question posed by Ngami Member of Parliament, Caterpillar Hikuama, Assistant Minister, Nnaniki Makwinja revealed that the Ministry is yet to release funds for the 2019 calendar of events.

Hikuama had asked the Minister whether she was aware that teachers who were engaged in sporting activities in March and July 2019 under the agreement that they will be paid an allowance of P500 per day are yet to be paid.

The MP also wanted to know how this delayed payment will affect their future participation in the core-curricular activities and eventually national sports performance.

In response Makwinja said that those who participated in the athletics competitions in March 2019 have been paid by the associations, a statement that was confirmed by both BISA and BOPSSA.

She further stated that her Ministry is yet to assist the association with grants to cover both sports activities held in July, 2019 which amounts to P32,154,671.00.

“Our Ministry expects to have paid subventions to the associations before the end of July 2020, so that the teachers can be paid. The delay, as you all know, is caused by funding constraints,” said Makwinja.

She further said it is possible that some teachers may choose not to participate in sports this year.

“However, we can assure you that, many of our teachers are very dedicated, passionate and trained sports coaches who will continue to support sport in schools unconditionally.” she said.

It is the above statement that has left most sports teachers seething with anger. They immediately took to social media to condemn what they termed exploitation by government.

In an interview with Voice Sport, BOPSSA President Busani Segweni said they are not sure whether they’ll be any athletics competitions as is the norm in the first term.

“Our calendar of events is ready and we’re only awaiting the Ministry to tell us how we are going to run the event, and how teachers will be paid,” said Segweni.

Segweni said usually the Ministry would state her terms on how teachers would be paid for their efforts and as teachers: “They can take or leave the offer.”

“However most of the time teachers’ll accept the offer as it is and then demand payment later. No one is forcing them to agree with the terms of engagement from the Ministry,” he said.

Likewise, Botswana Integrated Sports Association (BISA) President, Jonas Gaothobogwe said they are also awaiting a signal from the Ministry.

“Teachers are ready to perform their core-curricular activities, but we’re waiting for the ministry who funds all sporting activities,” he said.

Gaothobogwe said he was concerned because the ministry still owes teachers over P22 million in unpaid allowances, and is yet to pay the 2019 subvention for sports activities.

“This makes funding the 2020 activities a doubt,” he said.

The BISA president said not having schools sports activities will have a negative impact on national teams performance.

“Remember in 2018 the Ministry failed to fund our trip for the Confederation of Southern African Schools Sports Associations (COSASSA) Games in Windhoek Namibia. We also missed out on the same games in Zambia last year. Should this happen for the third year running it’d be catastrophic for our sport,” he said.

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Back with a bang

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“BNSC and BNOC should merge”~ Sebego

Newly appointed Botswana National Sports Commission (BNSC) Vice Chairperson, Tebogo-LebotseSebego wants, both BNSC and BNOC (Botswana National Olympic Committee) to merge.

In an interview with Voice Sport on Wednesday, the newly appointed sports administrator said the merger of the two bodies would serve sports better.

“There would be better coordination and more managed collaboration from grassroots to elite. So on the face of that view, I’m inclined to support a one sport body institution,” said Sebego.

An experienced administrator and a former national team player who served netball at various levels for 35 years, Sebego brought the curtains down on her illustrious career last year.

She resigned as the Botswana Netball Association (BONA) President in 2017 after 10 years at the helm, and also stepped down as Africa Netball President last year after nine years.

The recipient of the Presidential Certificate of Honour and the AUSC Region 5 Meritorious Service Award, Sebego took over from Tsoseletso Magang who temporarily held the position until the former’s appointment this Monday.

Initially, Sebego was appointed by Minister of Youth Empowerment, Sport and Culture Development Tumiso Rakgare as an expert in Communications and Sports Administration in December.

It was during her presidency that Botswana hosted the Netball World Youth Cup in 2017 (NWYC2017), the first International Netball Federation World Cup in Africa.

Speaking to Voice Sport on Wednesday afternoon, Sebego said she was excited with the appointment and wished to sincerely thank her colleagues in the Board for their vote of confidence.

“It’s an honor to get a seat at the table where crucial decisions to craft the future of Botswana sport will be formulated,” said a visibly elated Sebego.

The selfless administrator told Voice Sport that the only way for athletes to excel is to proactively manage and nurture an ecosystem that supports excellence holistically.

“When the system from technical preparations to mental health are intentional, we should see better results, Sebego said with some conviction.

“This is an area I would like to see better managed. Having sat on an international board of a sports body allows me to share my acquired skills and experience on the duty of care the Board has towards sports,” she said.

On how she feels about her critics who see her appointment as recycling of sports personnel, Sebego
said it would be unrealistic to expect everyone to find her worthy of the BNSC appointment.

“Views are relative and influenced by different interpretations to issues based on people’s own realities,” fired Sebego.

“In my reality, I gave netball the best of my abilities at most times, I’ve no life shattering regrets on how the sport was positioned when I was President,” Sebego concluded calmly.

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BSSA ready for CANA Zone IV tourney

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Botswana Swimming Sports Association (BSSA) which was tasked with the hosting of the 2020 CANA Zone IV tournament has declared their readiness to pull off a successful event.

CANA Zone IV Championships are a biennial tournament organised by African Swimming Confederation.

The tournament which was hosted by South Africa in 2016 will now be in Gaborone from 20th to 23rd February at the University of Botswana swimming pool.

At least 320 athletes and team officials from 13 countries are expected to descend in to the country for the biggest swimming event in the region.

In an interview with Voice Sport on Wednesday afternoon, Local Organising Committee (LOC) Chairperson, Kgaotsang Mathews said preparations for the tournament are at an advanced stage.

“We are more than ready to host this showdown, logistics such as transport for swimmers from points of entry to hotel and vise versa is ready. This was made easy because they’ll be housed at Cresta Lodge,” she said.

African nations that are expected to grace this occasion are Angola, Zimbabwe, Eswatini, Zambia, South Africa, Malawi, Madacasgar, Mozambique, Seychelles, Mauritius, Uganda ,Tanzania and the host country Botswana.

The competing age groups for this tournament are U12, U13/14, U15/16, U17 to 24, Masters 25 to 44 and 45 years and over.

For her part, Team Botswana Manager Montle Jack broke down the recent Stanbic and Wimpy sponsorship.

She said both Wimpy and Stanbic Bank have contributed a total sum of P450 000 which will be used to dress athletes, and also for the welfare of swimmers who’re expected to do well at the upcoming swimming tournament.

Other sponsors for this sports showpiece include Cresta Hotels, Coca Cola, Spar Botswana, Haskins, Evo Branding and Nashua Botswana.

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