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Branch gets 7th TDR win

Isaac Pheko

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The 1000 Toyota Desert Race (TDR) has become one of the most obvious sporting events to predict. If you are a betting man or woman, then you will definitely go with the Gineil De Villiers in the production car category and when it comes to two-wheeler bikes it will definitely be Ross Branch.

Local rider Ross Branch cemented his legend in Jwaneng this past weekend when he   won the Desert Race for the seventh time. Ross crossed the start finish line soon after the dominant Toyota Gazoo Racing Hilux piloted by De Villiers. Branch arrived to jubilant cheers and pomp as he popped a wheel to celebrate his 7th TDR victory.

Throughout the years Branch has been a perfect example of man and machine working in perfect harmony as he dominated the TDR. “It was a very long race and it was extremely hard because of the cars that made routes yesterday. The bike was well set up but this morning I had a close call with a car driven by one of the spectators. It was fun I had a lot of time in the saddle today which is good preparation for the 2019 Dakar Rally,” Branch said.

“This is a step in the right direction and look forward to Dakar.” In a post-race interview, Branch said he has competed the Desert Race in his home town Jwaneng and he is now   hoping to achieve a good result at the Dakar scheduled for Peru in South America. The KTM rider said   preparations for the Dakar are underway and he intended to do a lot of riding in the sandy terrain of Jwaneng, which   gives him an advantage. “I want to spend a lot of time in the bike because I know the area and the sand is good for practice.

I have been working hard this year, the gaps between competing riders are small these days because my rivals are improving so I have to be   focused on the race and ensure I don’t get lost and watch out for different obstacles,” he said.

“I have now won seven times in the Desert Race including three wins in Jwaneng.”Despite having a close call with a vehicle driven by   spectators, Branch said local fans   are fantastic and he has seen spectators along the full 500 kms in the race. You see friends from Jwaneng and back home in Gaborone. “When I am a bit down and tired, they are screaming my name it’s a real motivator.” Branch said the spectators did not come on the track and they are well behaved.

“Even after Dakar I will continue to race the TDR, I will never stop racing here as long as I have a contract with Comfort his part the KTM race team mechanic Kevin Tyrer said there is a lot to the Desert Race and Branch is a home town boy. “For the KTM team the race was extremely   smooth, we had a few issues but it was an easy race   for us.

The motivation on the team comes from winning and beating other manufacturers. Regarding the Dakar Tyrer said the race is what people dream of and the cost factor   of competing there is extravagant to have the Dakar on your mind means you should be extremely committed. “Last year you had Vincent Crosbie who went there and he did well.”

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Makwengwe promises fire and fury

Isaac Pheko

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ON A MISSION: Makwengwe

Gaborone United (GU)headcoach Philimon Makwengwe has sent a chilling message to his future opponents following a 0-1 loss to reigning BTC Premiership champions Township Rollers this past weekend.

A buoyant Makwengwe who is searching for at least two hungry strikers at GU declared that there will be nothing but misery in store for his future opponents. Following the closely contested Gaborone derby Makwengwe said:

“I have to improve in attack, I am not scoring goals, and I need to change my position on the log. I know the buzz was around the Gaborone Derby but that was never my concern. My team is currently in the red and I needed the points. I have to get out of the red and attacking my opponents is necessary”.

The unrelenting coach made it clear that Moyagoleele should not perform below their showing against Rollers last weekend. Makwengwe said the Money Machine will need to be “attack minded” in their next fixtures.

“What people should know is that Township Rollers have beaten me three times. They beat me twice back in 2012 during the Mascom Top 8. That was not the last time as they defeated me again at Prisons Airwick means this is now the fourth time.

The local tactician said losses to the Mma-Masire outfit should be a wake-up call for him. Nevertheless, Makwengwe said Rollers are the champions and one of the best teams not only in the country but the rest of the region.

“This is a team that gives a good brand of Botswana football. I am a champion myself, I am not a loser but I cannot beat Rollers alone.” Regarding the rest of the first round, Makwengwe said they will hit the ground running, I have no time to lament on negatives, I will not bemoan so many things.

My next opponents should stand in line and prepare to become victims.” The experienced coach said GU are a big brand and they should move away from where they are in the log standings. Losing 0-1 to a team like Rollers shows that we have to work on consistency.

The coach conceded the fact that he needs to make changes in his squad. I need about eight players including a fast winger on the left, I need a striker or two and these should be real strikers not people who play upfront.

Makwengwe said the current strikers at the team include a local who is a work in progress and a foreigner who is not giving enough to the team.“People want me to hide and I cannot, when you come into this country and you brush aside a local and even the labour law says you have to be better than them(locals), I bet in any profession.

If you want to play a striker for me, work harder.” The coach said he does not have an outright striker, which leaves a gap in the team. “A striker is somebody who pushes and is busy. If he doesn’t score himself, he has to use other players. It doesn’t matter if he is alone against four.”

Makwengwe said he needs two strikers to avoid changing the team too much. “In January, I am going into the market and I am going to buy. My next game is against Miscelleneous and they are coming down. I will have no mercy. Whoever comes I will have no mercy.”

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Old rivals faceoff

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BITTER RIVALS: Notwane Head coach Pio Paul

Notwane Football Club (Sechaba) and Mochudi Centre Chiefs (Magosi), are to battle it out in a potentially massive encounter as both clubs are coming from draws in their previous matches against Prisons IX and Black Forest respectively.

The clash is scheduled to take place at 4pm this Saturday at Molepolole Sports Complex.Sechaba, as Notwane is affectionately known were relegated back in 2015 while Magosi has been going through a financial crisis that hit the club recently.

Having played 9 games a piece, Notwane FC, currently on the 9th position in the BTC Premiership league log standings have won two, drew four and lost three games whereas Centre Chiefs who are occupying the 12th spot have won one, drew five and lost three games.

In a brief interview with Sun Sport this week, Notwane FC Public Relations Officer (PRO) Mogomotsi ‘Ace’ Orapeleng said, “We are going all out to win this fixture, taking nothing away from Centre Chiefs, we are not going to read much into what they have been going through lately hence our approach to the match will be of ‘great’ respect.

This past weekend we dropped a massive two points which could have made a difference against Prisons IX thus making us more desperate to collect three (3) points in this coming clash with Centre Chiefs,” he said.

Questioned about the anxiety brought by this particular contest he said: “Notwane FC and Mochudi Centre Chiefs are big brands of Botswana football, we are aware of the fact that the personnel have changed; new players, management and even sponsors but the ultimate truth is that these two have great following and most people are anxious to see how the events will turn out on the weekend,” said Orapeleng.

For his part, Mochudi Centre Chiefs Vice-Chairman, Clifford Mogomotsi confirmed their aim is to try and improve their position in the league log standings, “In every match we play, our approach is to always expand our position on the log, regardless of which team we play against. Notwane FC is a fantastic team but we are going to fight until the end to win the match,” said Mogomotsi.

Mogomotsi further pointed out that playing against Notwane FC has always been exulting, “Notwane FC has always given us entertaining football as we almost play a similar style of play,” said the Vice-Chairman.

On the possibility of losing points through the impending verdict after failure to honour their game against Miscellaneous a fortnight ago: “Our date with Botswana Premier League (BPL) Disciplinary Committee (DC) has been set, and we are awaiting that,” he explained.

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