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Masitaoka FC dreaming big

Table-topping Molepolole outfit eye history

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An unlikely story is brewing in the Debswana First Division South.

With nine games left in the season, Masitaoka FC find themselves top of the league and on the verge of history.

Searching for a first-ever promotion to the Premier League, the Molepolole-based minnows continued their fine form at the weekend with a 3-0 thrashing of Mochudi Rovers.

That result, combined with Mogoditshane Fighter’s shock 2-1 loss to Red Sparks, was enough for ‘Maja Tlhaga’ to open up a two-point gap at the summit.

In a league where goals have been notoriously hard to come by – with 18 in 13 matches Fighters are the division’s top scorers – much of Masitaoka’s success is down to their miserly defence.

Having conceded just seven goals so far this season, Nelson Olebile’s troops boast the league’s best defensive record.

This week they travel to Mmopane to face fifth-placed Holy Ghost, who are led by seasoned gaffer and former national team coach, Major David Bright.

The church-backed side appeared to be mounting a title bid of their own at the start of the season but have since faded away. Now ten points adrift of Masitaoka, unless Bright can work a miracle, they look set for another season in the second tier.

Giving his views on the state of the league, local pundit Monty Gagomokwa was full of praise for the leaders but stressed there was still much to play for.

“I still think the league is open, anything can happen but Masitaoka have been impressive without a doubt. They managed to snatch a few talented players in the market whom I believe are bound to carry the team forward.”

Gagomokwa predicts the league is set for a four-horse race, stressing that both Union Flamengo Santos and Mochudi Centre Chiefs could still push for promotion.

Currently seven points behind Masitaoka, Gagomokwa feels both Santos and Chiefs have the firepower to bridge the gap.

“Santos plays with a pool of youngsters who have energy to run at their opponents. However, experience will be needed at some point if they are to go through!”

Turning his attention to Chiefs, the pundit said the four-time BPL champions could still pull-off an automatic return to the elite league.

“I believe they can still salvage something out of this competitive First Division league season as they are now being guided by Elias Chimemba who I believe is capable of defying the odds.”

However, he highlighted the loss of influential captain Jomo Moatlhaping, who signed for Police XI this month, as a ‘terrible setback’ for Magosi.

“He was the one who led those boys. His departure is going to affect them greatly!”

Similarly, he warned that Fighters’ decision to part ways with coach Otlaadisa Mohambi could backfire.

“I have watched Mogoditshane Fighters for the past four seasons. They are a team that start the campaign well and lose form along the way. Now they have brought in a new coach Thaloba Nthaga who has an impressive record of promoting teams. However, the question remains as to whether it was a good move because Mohambi had a fantastic first round of the season.”

WEEKEND FIXTURES

(All kick-off times 1600hrs, Saturday 1 January)

Holy Ghost v Masitaoka FC
Mochudi Centre Chiefs v Red Sparks
Mochudi Rovers v Ncojane Young Stars
Jwaneng Fighters v Matebejana FC
FC Santos v Broadhurst United
Mogoditshane Fighters v Black Forest

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Sports

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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