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Sizzling for The Reds

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YOUNG STRIKER MAKES GU STRIDES

Last week Voice Sport ran a special feature on Gaborone United’s caretaker coach Pontsho ‘Piro’ Moloi, focusing on the 38-year-old’s perfect start to life in the GU hot seat.

Having guided the Money Machine to six wins in his six games in charge, Moloi’s managerial reputation is rising fast.

Another to enjoy a successful ‘GU baptism’ – albeit slightly less high profile – is the club’s lanky new addition Misani Thupa.

The speedy 22-year-old striker, signed from Extension Gunners in dramatic fashion on the last day of the January transfer window, has hit the ground running with Moyagoleele.

In his four appearances to date, most of them from off the bench, Thupa has bagged a goal and two assists as well as impressing with his work rate and clever movement.

A lifelong Gunners fan, Thupa fulfilled a boyhood fantasy last year when he joined the Lobatse side, scoring six times in his six months with Mapantsola.

“Playing for Gunners was a dream come true because they gave me an opportunity to play in the elite league when I almost thought of quitting the sport. I started playing football at a very young age and my skills was crafted by Re Ba Bona Ha in Gaborone Phase 4, spent nine good years there. Eventually, the team registered in the league and I played for four years before ultimately joining Gunners,” the talented forward told Voice Sport in an exclusive interview this week.

However, signing for Gunners was just the start. Thupa then had to fight for a place in the first team.

“It was really hard for me to gain a starting berth. Eventually, I made a deal with the coach, Stanley Mwaanga, that if he gives me a chance to play I would score and it came to pass. Furthermore, that is what motivated me to keep working hard to stay in the starting 11 and bag those six crucial goals in my Gunners career,” he said, his eye lighting up with obvious pride at the memory.

Quizzed on what prompted his move to GU, Thupa responded immediately, “There was a lot going on at Gunners, including financial strains. That upset my parents because I was risking my livelihood. They demanded I leave football altogether and forced me to terminate my contract with Gunners. I was heartbroken.”

Fortunately, salvation was to come swiftly.

“I was ready to give up football, but GU re-surfaced on the last day of the transfer window asking for my services. I jumped at the opportunity to play what I love the most!”

Two months into his GU adventure and, despite his impressive start and unwavering confidence in his own abilities, Thupa is not getting carried away. The raw young striker is far from the finished article and knows there is still a long way to go but he is hungry for more.

“I have always dreamed of myself playing in one of big leagues one day and being at GU will help me achieve that. My plan is to work hard and cement my place in the starting 11.”

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BFA welcomes COVID-19 stipend

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BFA welcomes COVID-19 stipend

On Monday Minister of Youth Empowerment, Sport and Culture Development (MYSC), Tumiso Rakgare revealed the government’s plan to help the elite and second-tier leagues with player’s salary subsidies respectively.

Minister Rakgare stated that 25 players of all the 16 teams in the BTC premiership will be paid P2, 500 whilst first division players will each receive P1, 500 for the months of April. May and June.

Teams were expected to submit the required documentation for verification and due processes this week.

The Minister said it was inevitable for government to intervene as sports was the first discipline to be affected by Covid-19, citing the Mares Under 17 trip to Morocco that never materialized.

The Mares were scheduled to face their Moroccan counterparts for a return leg of the FIFA World Cup qualifier in March.

He further revealed that the subsidy is part of the P70 million set aside by the ministry to cushion the impact of Covid-19.

BFA welcomes COVID-19 stipend
SPORTS MINISTER: Rakgare

“The subsidy is only for Batswana players, technical and office staff and monies will be directly deposited to player’s bank accounts to avoid situations where teams might use such funds for their daily expenses,” he said.

He further revealed that referees will be assisted through the FIFA relief fund as agreed with BFA.

Letshwiti hailed the intervention, which he said will cushion the effects of the pandemic on the socio- economic lifestyles of players and technical members involved in running of the clubs.

“This will also go a long way in giving club leaders a reprieve during this challenging time,” he said.

The BFA President said club leaders and owners are custodians of football events and this financial assistance is critical in sustaining players and eventually the clubs they represent.

“The BFA is truly humbled by this noble gesture of unity. We have since availed P40,000 to BPL clubs as a reprieve to help clubs mitigate these devastating consequences,” he saud.

He further said, together with their partners, including government, they continue to discuss sustainable means to get football out of the woods.

“We truly are encouraged by the posture adopted by Honorable Minister Rakgare in finding the most reasonable and practical solution to the problems football faces in the country,” Letshwiti said.

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Teranga lions’ world cup legend retires

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Teranga lions’ world cup legend retires

Montpellier’s veteran former Senegal attacker Souleymane Camara has retired after 13 seasons with the side, club president Laurent Nicollin said on Monday.

Camara, 37, played a record 423 times for the outfit where he won the Ligue 1 title in 2012 and made the last of his 35 international appearances in the same year.

“We spoke on Friday and the decision was taken,” Nicollin told A French newspaper.

“He’s now thinking about what he’ll do next. We’ve given him some time to know what he wants to do, if he wants to coach here. We’ve left the door open,” he added.

Camara started his career with Monaco in 2001 before a loan spell at Guingamp and joining Nice four years later.

He was part of the Senegal squad which beat the then holders France en route to the historic 2002 World Cup quarter-finals.

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