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Popa star sets sights on SA

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As he blew out the candles on his 24th birthday cake last month, Tumisang Orebonye made a promise to himself.

The Township Rollers striker, who has been in scintillating form this season, vowed he would one day fulfill his dream of playing in the South African Premier Soccer League (PSL).

It is an ambition the Palapye-born goal machine is convinced he will achieve.

“Age is still very much on my side, and I believe in my abilities as a striker. I am optimistic that I can still make it in the PSL; it is only a matter of time before I start firing in SA,” maintained the ultra confident Orebonye in an exclusive interview with Voice Sport this week.

The fiery forward, who crossed the capital divide in 2018, joining Popa in an acrimonious split for Gaborone United, has certainly found his goal-scoring boots this season.

Having clinched the Mascom Top8 Green Boot with four goals, Orebonye is also amongst the league’s top predators, his seven strikes helping the Blues to second place in the table.

Proving that he’s a man for all occasions, Orebonye’s late finish against a stubborn Sua Flamingoes sealed a 1-0 win and ensured Mapalastina progressed to the Orange FA Cup quarter-finals.

Casting his mind back to his younger days, Orebonye – who despite being 24 still boasts the nickname Teenage – revealed his love affair with football blossomed early.

“I started loving football when I was doing Standard One, and played for clubs such as Palapye All Stars, Motlakase then eventually joined a big side Gaborone United.”

Although he eventually fell out with the club in a dispute over unpaid wages, Orebonye remembers his time at the Money Machine with fondness.

“My stay at GU was successful as I was once chosen as the Footballers Union Botswana (FUB) Young Player of the Season accolade. That prompted a move to the mighty Township Rollers,” said Orebonye, who has since gone on to win 27 caps with the national team.

When he signed for Rollers, Orebonye was returning from a long lay-off. He remains incredibly grateful to Popa’s management for the patience and trust they showed in him as he fought for his fitness.

“I joined Rollers when I came back from a five months long injury. So they knew that I was still on a recovery process hence expectations were less despite what I could offer on the day. They did not put pressure on me and I started getting those goals which is what I love the most!”

Fast-forward to today, and with the country starting out on a 28-day lockdown, Orebonye explained he was keeping fit at home and following a rigorous training program set by Rollers Fitness Trainer, China Matlhaku.

We have a training program from home by China. I am currently following it to keep body in shape so that when we return to playing I will be ready!”

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BTA to submit post COVID-19 roadmap

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BTA to submit post COVID-19 roadmap

Botswana Tennis Association (BTA) President Oaitse Thipe has revealed to Voice Sport their intention to resume their calendar of events in an interview on Wednesday.

The president said they are in the process of submitting names for their skeletal staff permits with the sole aim of completing their sporting calendar.

Thipe told Voice Sport that once they shift their gears into motion, they’ll first turn their attention to local tournaments such as Gaborone Club Junior Open and Orapa Open.

“We’ll then move to international tournaments which we anticipate to host this coming October,” he said.

“In addition, the Advanced Course International Tennis Federation (ITF) Level 2 is also in the cards for the end of August,” said Thipe.

The BTA President who came into office last year September said one of their key targets is to increase participation in wheelchair and beach tennis.

“We are expecting a handful of donations such as wheelchairs, rackets and all the necessary beach tennis equipment from ITF this coming June, and that is surely aligned to our mandate,” explained Thipe, further stating that despite some success their nine months in office has not been smooth sailing.

“We’ve successfully hosted a number of courses in which over 16 officials have graduated. We also witnessed the remarkable rise of one of our young talents Denzel (Seetso) flexing his muscle in the continent and becoming the highest ranked African player,” he said proudly.

The president however lamented their lack of money which has hampered their intention to increase coaches across the country, a key component to having more players plying their trade in elite competitions across Europe and the United States of America.

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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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