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Coach upbeat ahead of Zambia clash

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FIGHT CHANCE…The national football team is in action Source:The Midweek Sun

Botswana national  women’s  football team has experienced a see-saw start at the ongoing Confederation of University and Colleges Sports Association (CUCSA) games.

The local women lost their first game 3-0 against South Africa on Monday, but that did not discourage their quest for a healthier position. On Tuesday local team dusted itself off the next day to claim a 1-0 victory against a well-decorated Zimbabwe side at Lekidi Football grounds.

Although their position will be determined by the results between South Africa and Zimbabwe, the girls have to be ready for battle in their next game against Zambia tomorrow (Thursday).

After their hard-earned 1-0 victory against Zimbabwe, the girls will enter another fray against Zambia where they will bring all the arrows in the quiver, Assistant Coach Malete said in a recent interview.

“We have to take every game as it comes but we need to give this one against Zambia special attention. We need to improve our position from the last tournament.” Malete is of the view that his girls are combatants who don’t waiver to pressure and they can carry the ball. He believes they will come down on their opponents like a ton of bricks.

“We showed character during our game against Zimbabwe but I instructed them to keep building patiently, a goal will come our way,” he said, after they rescued three points at the end. However, Malete said the girls are psychologically and physically prepared for the pulsating game against Zambia.

“We will come with a better game plan as we did against Zimbabwe who we had a chance to see in action, we also saw Zambia so we know how to plan for them too,” the tactical coach said.  Botswana faces a wounded Zambia side who lost 4-0 to Zimbabwe, who also guise as a toothless dog considering their start to the tournament. Botswana vs Zambia will kick off at 1100 hrs at UB stadium on Thursday June 21.

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Local hockey body to incur massive financial loss post Covid-19

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Botswana Hockey Association (BHA) President Unaswi Matebu has confessed that her Association will suffer major financial losses post the Covid 19 pandemic that has left the sport fraternity at a standstill.

Matebu recently told this publication that the current situation does not only have tremendous effects on their schedule, but also there will be financial implications more especially that the association does not have full time sponsors.

“We had to cancel most of our calendar activities such as tournaments, national team trainings, Board meetings, and club activities since mid-March this year, all of which have cost us money to prepare for,” Matebu remarked in an interview.

Additionally she said the planning phase for their 5-year Development Plan which was supposed to be launched in June will have to be postponed. Also there are national competitions that were postponed till further notice despite them having already set up teams and having already started preparing.

“Our Indoor Hockey Senior National teams had already started preparations for the Africa Cup of Nations – a World Cup qualifier – that was supposed to be held in June, 2020, in South Africa. Our Field Hockey Senior National teams had already begun preparations for the Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers that were supposed to be held in August, 2020 in Zimbabwe,” she added.

Moreover, it was going to be an excessively detailed and decorated year  for local hockey governing body, with the Youth National teams having  already began preparations for the Africa Youth Championships that were billed for September, 2020, in Ghana.

“Player conditioning has obviously been affected because athletes are currently not training as planned and what we had achieved so far might go to waste. We are only hoping that the Continental and World Hockey governing bodies will give us enough time to prepare for these competitions post the pandemic.”

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BFA will not declare the season null and void – yet

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Amidst wide spreading fears that Botswana’s top flight league might be canceled and considered null and void because of the crippling Covid-19 pandemic, the Botswana Football Association (BFA) has yet to make a determination on the matter and has in fact ruled out scrapping off the season altogether.

Local football observers and pundits alike have already started talking of the possibilities after similar considerations of nullifying their seasons were made in the leagues of other countries especially in Europe.  No football activity has taken place in the country since social distancing measures were imposed to avoid the spread of the corona virus.

Local football pundit Fabian Zulu is one of those who believe there is a likelihood the football season will be nullified. “If the current situation persists, then there is a high possibility of declaring the league null and void. This situation wasn’t planned, no one knew that by now we would be facing this kind of situation; so the possibility is very high.

However, in an interview this week, BFA spokesperson Tumo Mpatane said the association has not considered canceling and nullifying the season as an option yet, adding that “currently we are observing a period of extreme social distancing, the ministry  of health and wellness will obviously give advice on the possibility of getting back to football.”

Consequently the BFA still awaits the Ministry to declare that the risks of spreading the virus are reduced and come up with a contingency plan. “If the ministry says there is a reduced health risk we will play out the season; if they advise against it we will then see what steps to take. The health of our players is more important and we will be guided by the responsive authorities,” Mpatane remarked.

However, suspension or cancellation of the leagues across the world seems inevitable even as some European leagues, more specifically the English Premier League, are now contemplating a behind-closed-doors campaign to finish off the remaining matches.

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