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The Joel in the Crown

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Local development structures lacking

Honestly, I believe we are not doing enough as a nation to develop young talent and that is a major concern.I think we should invest thoroughly in our youth structures because that is where we can get the crème de la crème. Moreover, unearthing talent from grassroots is crucialas we will be building great players for the future.

We used to have so many competitions at primary schools where most of us developed our skills. It was an important stepping-stone in our careers! But these days it is no longer the case and that constantly affects the development of players in the country.

Hard work key to success

I believe we have talented players in Botswana but football has changed drastically. It is no longer solely about the talent one has. Hard work is vital for a player to make it. Without hard work and dedication, forget about becoming a footballer, no matter how talented you are!

Local players based abroad

The fact that we have players who are plying their trade outside the country is an added advantage. They are bound to help our national team going forward because they are exposed to high intensity football on a weekly basis hence building them into strong characters that can compete with other nations.

Bench warming in foreign lands

It can be incredibly frustrating when you’re not getting much game time, especially for local players based outside the country. It needs someone to have a strong mentality for him to breakthrough into any starting berth abroad.

However, you cannot know why it only happens to us (Batswana). The expectations are always high hence youneed to deliver from the onset – and I’m talking from experience! South African coaches believe in hard work, so if you do not work hard while you are a foreigner you are destined for failure.

However, a typical example would be our boy MphoKgaswane, who was doing very well. I mean he was an integral part of Baroka FC’s recent rise but come the end of the season he was released! My point is, you can never know what is really needed in football.

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Makhwengwe suspended

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Makwengwe’s suspension is really unfortunate. We never saw that coming as players and, at this juncture, we have not been given a detailed report as to what happened.

However, that should not stop us – as a team – from working hard so that we achieve our goals because we are professionals.

It is difficult as he was a father figure to us but we are going to keep winning for him.

Fit and raring to go

I did not play over the weekend when we hammered Notwane FC by two goals to nil but it was a really pleasant feeling to see the boys playing their hearts out and getting maximum points.

Notwane FC and Gaborone United in their last game.

Moreover, I stopped training on Wednesday to go for a follow-up check-up at Bokamoso Hospital and so far, so good.

I cannot wait to be back in action again, helping the team.

MASCOM TOP 8 SEMI-FINALS

Good luck to the last four teams left in the competition – Rollers, Galaxy, Orapa and BDF XI – who will battle it out in the first leg semis this weekend.

We did not make the cut as we were eliminated on penalties against Galaxy. It is unfortunate but it is part of football.

BLOCKER: Mankanku of Gaborone United defending the ball from Baruti of Jwaneng Galaxy

However, we are going to use this break to prepare ourselves for the next match.

Liverpool’s league dominance

Liverpool’s consistency has been remarkable in the year’s Premier League campaign and they are already on the verge of being crowned the champions even though there are still many games to go.

If they do not win it from here, they will only have themselves to blame.

The type of football they displayed this season was results-oriented.

It has also been very good to watch!

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Diamonds in the cup

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*Galaxy and Orapa clash in Mascom Top8

Diamond brothers, Jwaneng Galaxy and Orapa United, put their league aspirations on hold this Sunday as they go in search of Top 8 glory once again.

Having won three of the last four editions, the two mining teams have rich pedigree when it comes to this tournament.

They also boast a rich history against each other, facing off in the 2017 Final, when a thrilling climax to the competition saw Galaxy clinch their maiden title, running out 4-3 winners after extra time.

Galaxy have since added to that triumph, sealing their second Top 8 last year, beating Gaborone United 2-0 in a one-sided final in Francistown.

Having dispatched of the same opponents this time around, the defending champions will be hungry for more success as they seek to become the first club to win the tournament three times.

Indeed, it could be a history-making year for Galaxy as they are also looking to become the first team to retain the cup. However, standing in their way is Orapa United.

REPRESENTING ORAPA UNITED: Tiiso

The country’s form team, the Ostriches, currently top the Premier League and go into Sunday’s first-leg on the back of an impressive 4-0 thrashing of BDF XI.

For Orapa, it is now four years since their title-winning campaign, when a young Madinda Ndlovu-led side sent shockwaves around the country, defeating the mighty Township Rollers 3-1.

The result promised to be a breakthrough moment for the Boys from Boteti.

However, although they have since made two finals – losing to Galaxy and then Rollers in 2018 – Orapa are yet to add to their 2016 success.

Now under the tutelage of another wily tactician, Mogomotsi ‘Teenage’ Mpote, they look well-placed for another shot at glory.

“Our recent run of good results in the league is permanent. Players are starting to understand my style of play, which is showing in our results,” the former Zebras boss told Voice Sport this week.

Keeping his cards close to his chest, Mpote went on to say, “Furthermore, our plan is to translate our good performance to the league cup against Galaxy, who are not really an easy side but we are going to approach the match with an intention to get a victory.”

Despite the first-leg being in Jwaneng, Mpote stressed his team would play attacking football and take the game to their opponents.

“Galaxy are going to be having a 12th player, who are the supporters, but I told my boys that as long we are playing in Botswana, we are home and can achieve any result we want at a given time,” he stressed.

Addressing the media on Wednesday, Mpote’s opposite number, Miguel Da Costa, said they would not be dwelling on last year’s triumph.

JWANENG GALAXY COACH: Miguel Da Costa

“Our approach this season is new, with a fresh mentality, hence we are not going to be carried away by our last year’s Mascom Top 8 triumph.”

Turning his attention to Sunday’s opponents, the Portuguese national said, “We want to beat Orapa United at home even though we have so much respect for them, we are going to go all the way out!”

Meanwhile, the other Mascom Top 8 semi-final pitted two-time winners, Rollers, against BDF XI – a repeat of the 2014 final, which the Army Boys won 5-4 on penalties.

Popa go into the fixture full of confidence having hit Police XI for seven at the weekend. BDF XI, on the other hand, suffered their worst defeat of the season, trounced 4-0 by a rampant Orapa.

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Chess season gathers momentum

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AIRFICIENCY INDIVIDUAL CHAMPIONSHIPS THIS WEEKEND

Sanctioned by the sport’s global governing body, International Chess Federation (FIDE), the two-day competition is one of the biggest in the local chess calendar.

In a brief interview with Voice Sport, Botswana Chess Federation (BCF) spokesperson Kutlwano Tatolo revealed a bumper turnout is anticipated.

“Because it is the first tournament of the year, we are expecting in the region of 300 players from across the country to compete at this particular tourney,” the PR Officer declared.

The Championships are divided into two sections: the FIDE Rated Open Section, which is open to both male and female players, and the FIDE Rated Ladies Section, which is restricted to women.

First prize in the Open Section pays out P3, 000 while the runner-up will pocket P2, 000 and third gets P1, 000. The next three positions are worth P700, P500 and P300 respectively.

As for the ladies section, the winner will walk away with P2, 000 while second place gets P1, 000. There is also P700, P500 and P300 on offer for position three to five.

One of Botswana’s leading lights in the sport, Candidate Master Thuso Mosutha boldly declared he has unfinished business when it comes to the Airficiency Championships.

“I have played in this particular tournament a couple of times and I have only been within the top 5. However, my aim this year is to at least finish above the top 3, that is when I can know that I did well,” the confident 25-year-old told Voice Sport.

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