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Highlanders penalise Broadhurst

*Mahalapye side squeak into Orange FA Cup quarter-finals

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Premier League outfit MR Highlanders held their nerve to seal a penalty shoot-out victory over Broadhurst United (BU) and secure an Orange FA Cup quarter-final meeting with Township Rollers.

Sunday’s 3-2 scoreline was the Mahalapye-based side’s second consecutive ‘12-yard’ triumph over lower league opposition having also seen off Mochudi Centre Chiefs via the penalty spot in the last round.

The excitement of penalties followed a dreary 90 minutes, with little goalmouth action to entertain the healthy crowd that flocked to the Maruapula SSG Ground.

Despite being separated by 16 places in the football league tier, there was little to choose between the two teams, with much of the match bogged down in the midfield.

The First Division South side have conceded just 11 goals in 18 league outings and their well-organised defence proved more than a match for Highlanders’ lacklustre strike force.

However, goals have also been hard to come by for BU this season and, apart from the impressive Katlego Makhala’s long-range shot that fizzed just over the bar midway through the first-half, they rarely threatened.

Although they improved in the second-half, Highlanders were unable to convert their possession into chances and, somewhat inevitably, the encounter finished goalless.

It meant the tie was settled by the lottery of penalties, with the goal-shy BU missing three of their spot kicks (one was saved by Michael Pepukani while two missed the target) to go crashing out of the cup.

Speaking to Voice Sport after the game, Highlanders’ relieved Assistant Coach, Kabo Dintwa admitted his side did not play to their full potential.

“I am happy that we managed to reach the quarter-finals stage even though we failed to settle the match in 90 minutes. I feel we could have done better on the day,” he said.

On the other hand, BU Coach, Nonofang Motswaisi was left to rue what might have been.

“I think we could have won this match had we taken our chances. Furthermore, we started really slowly as we were desperate not to concede an early goal. But in the second-half we introduced pacey players such as Onalenna Solomon to try and take the match to them and it almost paid dividends,” reflected Motswaisi, adding he was proud of his players.

Next up for Highlanders is a trip to last year’s beaten finalist’s Rollers.

Popa left it late against Sua Flamingoes, Tumisang Orebonye’s 90th minute strike proving the difference between the two sides.

ORANGE FA CUP QUARTER-FINAL DRAW

Calender Stars v Masitaoka

Jwaneng Galaxy v Notwane

Police XI v Gaborone United

Township Rollers v MR Highlanders

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Daggers drawn for BFA top post

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Daggers drawn for BFA top post

Uncertainty over the looming Botswana Football Association (BFA) elective congress was finally cleared this week when the Electoral Committee announced 8th of August as a date for the d-day.

The BFA elections were left in limbo since the outbreak of Covid-19 and the subsequent suspension of all football matters.

Briefing the media this week, board chairperson Moemedi Leina said since the elections will be held in the middle of a State of Emergency the elections board will be guided by the Covid 19 Task Force.

He said citizens aged between 30 and 75 years and without any criminal record can begin submitting their names for possible election starting on the 1st to the 12th of June.

Battle for the BFA’s top post promises to be a bare knuckled contest, with four prominent figures already looking set to throw their names into the hat.

Incumbent, Maclean Letshwiti will face stiff competition from former BFA president Tebogo Sebego, politician Boyce Sebetela and former BFA Chief Executive Officer Ookeditse Malesu.

The four potential candidates are already canvasing for votes across regions, and attempting to sway delegates to their sides.

While few have publicly stated their intention to stand for elections, Francistown Regional Football Association Chairperson Maokaneng Bontshetse has long declared his candidature for the Vice President 2 position.

Bontshetse, a shrewd sports administrator is one of the longest serving football servants in the country.

He prides himself as the founder of the Zebras Supporters Club.

Letina has however advised potential candidates that there are certain requirements they must meet in order to be eligible.

He said candidates should be active in football structures and not be insolvent.

“We’re also not going to allow people from other sports codes. The committee will vet from June 22-29 and publish candidates’ names on June 30,” he said.

Letina further said they will then allow for appeals or queries for the next two weeks before publishing the final list on 23rd July.

“During the appeals period, we’ll simultaneously compile and prepare a voters roll. This year there will be no elections in the regions after the General Assembly resolved that regional committees will run for four years, which means their terms ends in 2022,” said Letina.

Meanwhile the association Chief Executive Officer Mfolo Mfolo said their medical team is working round the clock to prepare for the return of football action.

Last week Ministry of Sports approved the resumption of football activities operations for the premier league and first division games from the 1st of June.

Mfolo said the medical team is to submit the final guidelines to the BFA National Executive Committee so that teams can start competitive football.

He said there are certain Covid-19 regulations they need to adhere to.

The league is left with 13 games to complete the season.

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Montsho left in limbo

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Montsho left in limbo

Aging star’s dream end fading

Having carried the baton for Botswana athletics for over 16 years, the country’s greatest ever female runner, Amantle Montsho targeted a fairytale ending to her career at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

And then Covid-19 came along and ruined it all.

Rescheduled to August 2021 in light of the deadly pandemic, the Games could prove a year too far for the aging 400m star.

Montsho would be 38 by then and although her heart is willing and her body healthy, 15 months is a long way away.

It is a cruel blow for the Maun born athlete, who had worked incredibly hard to get back into the shape required for Olympic qualification – a feat she managed at a University of Botswana Athletics Club meet back in March.

“My target was an Olympic medal. I had trained very hard to win a medal. This was supposed to be my last competition. I believe I have done my part in sports and it is time to quit!” said Montsho, whose 2011 triumph in Daegu, South Korea, remains Botswana’s only Gold medal at the World Championships – a title she narrowly missed out on retaining two years later in Moscow, piped to the finish line by Great Britain’s Christine Ohuruogu by less than a hundredth of a second!

Indeed, for the two-time Commonwealth Champion an Olympic medal remains the only thing missing from her resume. Agonisingly, 0.03 seconds was all that stood between Montsho and a Bronze medal at the London 2012 Games.

Suspended for the last Olympics, Tokyo was to be Montsho’s fourth games – a record for a Motswana athlete – and a last shot at Olympic glory.

Speaking to Voice Sport on Tuesday, she ruefully admits that might not be possible.

“I still have to talk to my coach and see if I will compete next year since I have qualified. It has not been easy during lockdown; at least now we have hope since the Minister of Sports has announced resumption of individual sports,” said the frustrated sportswoman, who is famous for keeping her emotions to herself.

With her future once again cast in doubt – she had set her heart on retiring last year only for the Botswana Athletics Association to convince her to continue – it would be a sad, unfitting end to a career that has brought much pride to the country’s sport loving citizens.

However, as her opponents have discovered many times in the past, you write Botswana’s diamond off at your peril!

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