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Stopping shots for Notwane



Keeper’s heroics provides light amid Toronto’s darkness

While much of the attention has been on Notwane FC’s lack of firepower up front – they have now failed to score in six consecutive games – 28-year-old Mabitso Rapowa has been a busy man in Toronto’s goal.

The well-travelled shot-stopper was at his brilliant best on Saturday, pulling off a number of world class saves to hold Gaborone United to a goalless draw and earn Notwane their first point of the season.

Rapowa’s heroics marked the latest eye-catching performance from a keeper who, up until this season, had spent most of his career in the lower leagues of Botswana football.

And whilst Notwane’s struggles this season are well documented – they currently sit rock bottom of the Premier League on -5 points – Rapowa has undoubtedly been the club’s stand out player.

To put the Thamaga native’s form into context, he has conceded the same number of goals (seven in six matches) as second-placed Township Rollers.

Speaking to Voice Sport immediately after the Gaborone derby, Rapowa admitted his journey to the top has been a tough one.

Having helped Notwane gain promotion to the Premier League in 2018, he was released by the club and spent last season with Gilport Lions in the First Division South.

However, Toronto realised the error of their ways and re-signed the glove-man at the start of the season.

“My football career was not as smooth as one may think because I was part of the team that helped Notwane FC to get promoted to the elite league recently but somehow I was released. But I returned with a very strong character to finally be in the team and play regularly in the highest level of domestic football in the country,” said the keeper, who counts Thamaga Swallows, Thamaga Shooting Stars, Sua Flamingoes and Black Forest amongst his former clubs.

Quizzed about his ambitions as a player and his role model, Rapowa replied immediately, “I grew up watching the German and Barcelona goalkeeper, Marc Andre Ter Stegen – I want to be like him!

“According to me, he is one of the best shot-stoppers in the world. Moreover, it is every player’s dream to represent his country at national level despite difficult competition that I face from other goalkeepers in the country!”

Turning his attention to Notwane’s current predicament, Rapowa stressed they were hard at work on the training ground in a bid to end their goal drought, which now stretches to nine hours of football.

“This situation we are in is bad and it has really affected us as players. But we are working really hard to find our goal scoring boots. That has simply been our main focus, every training session we work on scoring goals and I hope things work out just fine for us because time is not on our side as well. We need to start firing those goals and win matches to get out of the imminent relegation zone!”

As Notwane go on the hunt for goals in the coming weeks, Rapowa will be doing his best to keep them out.

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Masitaoka close in on Orange FA Cup Glory



Molepolole based outfit Masitaoka Football Club (FC) continued their remarkable form when they brushed aside a sheepish Sankoyo Bush Bucks 2-1 in an Orange FA Cup’s last 32 encounter this past weekend in Molepolole.

Having rested most of his key players Masitaoka mentor, Nelson Olebile, fielded a completely different side that excluded in-form players such as Christopher Lemme, Emmanuel Ditodi and Monageng Thaele as the coach strategically reserved them for their next league assignment.

In the midst of a drizzling rain at Molepolole Sports Complex on Saturday, the match started slowly with both sides failing to create goal scoring opportunities, but ‘Majatlhaga’ as the team ‘B’ squad is affectionately referred to, grew in confidence as the match reached the half hour mark.

Nevertheless, Masitaoka’s Nigerian forward livewire, Tolani Olaoye, broke the deadlock on the 40th minute with a superb volley before Topo Piet extended the lead making it 2-0 just before recess.

On the second-half, Ngurungu as Sankoyo are affectionately known, introduced their 24-year-old wonder-kid, Aobakwe Shango who instantly became a thorn in Masitaoka’s defence.

It did not take him long to pull one goal from behind with a simple tap-in to inspire confidence in his side.

Moreover, Sankoyo began pressing hard against Masitaoka as they were in search of an equaliser, but Masitaoka’s formidable defence kept their opponents at bay.

In a post match interview with Voice Sport, Masitaoka FC mentor Olebile said he was happy for his second string team. “I am delighted about how the boys played, considering the fact that they are a second string team. I am proud that we have gone through, but credit must go to Sankoyo, they really put up a good fight,” he said.

On the other hand, Bush Bucks gaffer Anthony Timothy said his side dominated the match, “We were in charge of the whole play, they only had two chances and converted both of them while we were wasteful with the numerous chances we created. I believe we could have won this match, had we taken our chances,” he said.

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School sports in doubt



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



“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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