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Table tennis youngsters gets national team nod

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Botswana Table Tennis Association (BTTA), held its third round of the national team selection matches where young players impressed and made the cut to the final squad which is expected to compete at the July 2020 Region 5 Games in Zimbabwe.

On the male section, an impressive 17 year old Sean Dekop of Nhabe Table Tennis Club won five of his seven matches, nudging Tshenolo Mooketsi, 21, on head to head count after defeating him in their mouth-watering tie.

This was enough for the two talented players to get the nod to represent the country at the upcoming Region 5 Games.

On the ladies’ side it was the duo of Olorato Ramagapu and Tshepiso Rebatenne who made the cut, leaving only two spots to be filled.

In an interview with Voice Sport this week, Mooketsi said the matches were really hard for him, “It was not an easy route to the national team. I faced seven tough opponents losing two matches in the process,” he said.

“I came back strong to win four games in a row, thanks to the motivation I got from my coaches who kept telling me that I could do it,” said the BDF Table Tennis Club player.

Voice Sport also caught up with the man of the moment, Dekop who said defeating one of the best table tennis players in Mooketsi was a big achievement for him, “I’m really happy to have finally made it to the senior national team and doing it in style as I defeated the number one ranked player along the way,” said a beaming Dekop.

“I however won’t be carried away by this victory. It’s still a learning curve, and I will not be big-headed but will focus on learning,” Dekop said.

With just two spots remaining, competition is expected to intensify in the fourth and final round of the selection matches, with more veteran players hoping to make the cut.

Smash Maniacs Table Tennis Club player and one of Botswana’s most decorated athlete Boitshwarelo Butale, 37, is still hopeful of making it into the squad.

“I’d be happy if I can be one of the players in the national team but if I don’t, the young girls such as Oratile Kedisaletse and Game Kebodiwang just to mention a few can do the job because they have been impressive, and the future is bright for the sport,” she said.

Meanwhile, the young Oratile Kedisaletse,20, from Nhabe Table Tennis Club said she is aware of the challenge she’ll be up against in the final round.

“I know what to expect from the likes of Butale and others but I believe I will proceed to the national team. I’ve been working really hard,” said the confident youngster.

Kedisaletse and others’s dreams to make the national team will however have to wait a little longer as BTTA has suspended all their sporting activities in an effort to mitigate the risk of COVID-19.

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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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