It’s races week for this year’s edition of the 1000km Toyota Desert Race(TDR). For motorsport aficionados, casual racing fans and camping enthusiasts it basically means braving the frosty June winter and making the annual sojourn to Jwaneng mining town in the South Western part of the country this weekend.
Once in Jwaneng, the TDR will reward both local and international spectators with a thrilling spectacle as high-octane racing machines will be literally kicking up dust and flying by mere four metres away from the zealous crowd. For spectators the thrill of being so near the action is part of the adrenalin rush and the mystique that come with the TDR.
The event, which draws crowds of up to 200 000 to Jwaneng and surrounding villages, starts with a prologue on Friday before the two stages on Saturday and Sunday where both man and machine are expected to endure Botswana’s torrid and unforgiving terrain. As usual there will be three classes including the FIA production class, which features the fastest and most powerful vehicles. There is the Special Vehicle category popularly known as Sand Master and the popular bike category (featuring two wheelers and quads).
However, it is not only the racing and the drama that makes the TDR popular, local spectators throng Jwaneng for the spectacle; the splendour, the colour, the petrol fumes and the gloriousV8 exhaust sound that reverberates throughout the desert terrain. Besides being the single biggest sporting event hosted in Botswana, there is simply nothing like the TDR. The marathon race forms part of the popular South African Cross-Country Series (SACCS) championship, which features six rounds in different parts of the neighbouring country.
The TDR is the third round of the SACCS and the jewel in the crown of the popular championship. This race comes with double points towards the championship series and every driver and riders find both team and personal glory in winning the event. Since 2011, the Toyota Gazoo Racing (TGR) has dominated the event.
Toyota South Africa are the event sponsors and their domination comes as no surprise. The TGR are part of Toyota’s world class racing program that includes campaigns in the 10 000km Dakar Rally and the popular World Endurance Championship (WEC) that includes the Leman 24-hour race. On paper Toyota have no challengers in the race their closest rivals include the Elf Renault Duster Team and new entrants, Nissan Red-Lined team. Once again are expected to win the race in dominant fashion.
A win at the TDR in all categories almost guarantees a sport in the 2019 Dakar Rally scheduled for Peru. Botswana’s best hopes will be pinned on locally brewed rider Ross Branch. The multiple TDR two-wheeler bike rider has plans to compete in the 2019 Dakar Rally and winning on Sunday will give him and his KTM team a major boost in the arm towards their Dakar campaign.
This year will be the fourth time the TDR is hosted in Jwaneng. The race comes with major economic benefits to the Jwaneng community in terms of retail, hospitality and petroleum.
Heelang, hands off journalists!
In our last edition, we touched on athletes who need to be media savvy, however it appears the vaccine needs to be administered on sports leaders too.
There is a highly contagious disease spreading rapidly in the sports space with those in power having a wrong perception of owning the media or somehow entitled to publicity. Such people want to literally dictate what should be broadcast or published, fa ba bata go go nyantshetsa o utwa gotwe, write and send back so I crosscheck.
That equals disrespecting and undermining a journalist to the lowest level; it is more like wanting to teach a scribe how to do their work. If you are in a wrong profession at your respected workplace, please kindly send in your Curriculum Vitae (CV) to newsrooms, you might land that Editor- In Chief position. Then there are those who will make scribes feel like they signed a death warrant, why did you not cover my event? You are not reliable; you are only good at chasing certain individuals. Heelang! Stop crucifying journalists, they do not owe anyone anything and realistically speaking cannot cover everything to please all.
Oops and there are those who never want anything bad or controversial associated with their name. They start off as bosom buddies, discussing ‘non offensive’ issues and once in a while a compliment thrown their way. Once the dark days come knocking and gears are changed, suddenly the same journalist ke moloi wa meno a 4 mo ganong. Really now? So, all along the witch was not visible and now that the tables have turned and it hurts like never before, things have become clearer? Perhaps, you forget what the real job of a scribe is? You cannot befriend a journalist my friends, if you do, then something is seriously wrong! Expect the good together with the bitter taste of unwanted publicity.
There is also a time when the scribes are labelled bomma dijo le bo Rradijo. To an extent that you even emphasize that there will be food at your events, so the more the merrier! I agree, generally only a few can say NO to free food but it becomes a bit untidy when you put a food price tag to your events. Ga re gane, there are some colleagues with a huge appetite and they are not even shy about it but isn’t it that there are people like that all over.
Le re tshabisa go ja, please! Another trend, initially good but now disturbing is that of organisations spoiling some rotten journalists by travelling with them to certain places, all expenses fully paid for. This includes food, accommodation and transportation. Things then become cozy when a drink or two is thrown in, nice but at what expense? Is it out of good will or tantamount to bribery?
Some associations tend to confuse it all with rubbing off bad publicity. Kgantele e nna, ao laitaka, o lebala o robetse ko Cresta Hotel ke go reketse biri? A guilty conscience then kicks in and stories are shelved. It is only a few that manage to look beyond the fancy trips and royal treatment and uphold journalism principles. Better you spoil journalists but without undue expectations, accept both the bad and the good coming your way.
Abidal punches ticket to TS Galaxy
Township Rollers’s defensive Midfielder Gape ‘Abidal’ Mohutsiwa has confirmed that he will be plying his trade at South African based TS Galaxy next season.
This follows rife speculation that Mohutsiwa’s deal with Galaxy might have somehow fallen off. The strong suspicions came about last week when the national first division side communicated the team’s new signings. Local based players of Mosha Gaolaolwe, Thero Setsile and Ezekiel Morake were mentioned in the list and Mohutsiwa’s name was suspiciously omitted. As if that was not enough, the team went on to show off pictures of the trio signing contracts with the team management but still no mention of Mohutsiwa.
Speaking to Sun Sport this week, Mohutsiwa explained that he had seen the communication but made nothing from it. “I am still going because even my work permit is ready, all is well and there is no need to panic,” he said.
The 22-year-old pointed out that TS Galaxy had informed that they will communicate dates to join them in South Africa. He is expecting their call anytime after completing the season this coming weekend.
“I also saw those pictures with the management and its is not like they signed the contracts last week. I suspect that they were just appreciating the performance made by my fellow colleagues Morake and Setsile during the COSAFA championships staged in Durban South Africa,” said Mohutsiwa.
The young Abidal as he is well known is convinced that the TS Galaxy management was just ‘boasting’ about the kind of talent they are bringing to their team. “I did not perform to the best of my ability during COSAFA championships but I cannot say they were neglecting me, I am actually fine with it,” he said.
Mohutsiwa added that as young as he is, he believes that he has a lot to offer and the intention is not to return home in a year or so. He has been signed for three years and the expectation is that he completes his term and perhaps find other lucrative deals out there.
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