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Nandos RETURNS

Isaac Pheko

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One of the best attacking midfielders to ever come out of Botswana, Sekhana “Nandos” Koko has retraced his steps back to Mochudi Centre Chiefs. Koko makes a surprise return to Magosi where he is expected to form part of the squad.

The speedy Molepolole native known for his nimble feet and eye for goal is expected to play for the BTC Premiership outfit on a regular basis. In an interview this week, Koko was introspective about his unexpected return to premiership football and the heart-breaking injury that saw him out of action for two years. “I have endured a long terrible and boring injury. I was injured in November 2016 and I had surgery the next month. Since then I started jogging late last year. Unfortunately, I did not get the desired physiotherapy after surgery. According to my doctor, the physiotherapy could have sped up my healing period”.

Quizzed on how long he plans to carry on with playing high-level football, Koko said he will be on the pitch as long as injuries allow him. He further added that he will be there for his beloved Magosi when they need him. Regarding any future plans to coach in the Premier League. the former Zebras midfielder said he is yet to decide on his future in the technical aspect of the game.
“I honestly did not want to retire from football without a proper goodbye to my beloved supporters and all football lovers at large. Unfortunately, my former team Jwaneng Galaxy did not have any room for me so I had to move on. I had Chiefs on my radar as they are my former club.”

Koko explained that his new agreement with his beloved Magosi does not block any room for his elevation should greener pastures emerge. Regarding his new role in the pitch, Koko said: ”It’s too early to tell, in modern football players are not restricted to positions. Players are put where the headcoach sees fit. So, let’s wait and see.”

Furthermore, Koko touched on his unceremonious exit from the reigning champions, Township Rollers. “Even though I still feel Rollers pushed me out I do not harbour any hard feelings towards them. As for Galaxy, all I can say is that they paid for my surgery. It is true that we had different views here and there but I have since moved on.” Against Sharps Shooting stars, their next appointment, Koko conceded that the Old Naledi team gave a good account of themselves when they beat the much-fancied Gaborone United in their first game of the 2018/19 season. “I think Magosi are a work in progress, so it would be a bit unfair to put them on a scale for now. Let’s wait and see how things will turn out.”

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Local boxers ready for regional tourney

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CONFIDENT: Newly unveiled LOC is confident that the regional tourney will be a success

Botswana Boxing Association (BoBA) this past Tuesday officially unveiled a Local Organising Committee (LOC) that has been tasked with preparing for the upcoming Zone 4 championships that are to be held in Botswana.

The team is headed by celebrated boxing legend France Mabiletsa and is expected to host more than seven countries that are expected to descend in Botswana in the next two weeks. Officiating at the event, Botswana National Sport Commission (BNSC) Vice Chairperson Tsoseletso Magang said that BoBA officials should refrain from interfering with the task given to the LOC. She noted that many sporting codes often give the LOC the responsibility of delivering an event only for the code members to bully themselves into the affairs of the LOC and disrupts the preparations.

Magang warned that there is little time left before the tournament, and with that, the LOC will need all the support to ensure they deliver a successful event. She noted that hosting the regional tournament gave Botswana an upper hand of fielding more athletes that will have an opportunity to qualify for the Africa Championships scheduled for later this year.

For his part, Mabiletsa noted that they have already hit the ground running and confident that the event will be a success. The competition will be hosted in Botho College and they are in talks with Ave Maria to accommodate athletes. “Life will be made much easier for athletes if they are accommodated at Ave Maria because it is closer to the competition venue,” he said.

He explained that the zone is made up of 12 countries of Lesotho, Angola, Malawi, South Africa and Zimbabwe among others. However as of this past Tuesday, only seven had confirmed participation and they expect to finalize the logistics by the end of the week.

Meanwhile, a formidable national boxing team of eight men captained by Mmusie Tswiiige (60kg) and three ladies led by Lethabo Modukanele (48kg) will represent the country at the regional tournament.

According to the Head coach Lechedzani ‘Master’ Luza, the team has been on camp for the past three weeks. In his opinion, the team is ready to compete. “Generally, they are not bad, we need to work on a few things such as power and speed on some boxers, the defence department is also not bad,” he said.

Luza noted that Botswana has always established herself as a powerhouse and there is no doubt that majority, if not all team Botswana members will win a medal during competition time. He explained that the competition was one of the many leading to Tokyo 2020 Olympics and will give local boxers an opportunity to qualify for the Olympics.

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Branch does it again

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Local motorcycle racing sensation Ross Branch has continued his stellar form after securing overall second position in the internationally renowned Merzouga Rally. The race came to a conclusion this past weekend and Branch has proven his mettle amongst some of the best rally motorcyclists in the world.

The podium finish is expected to take the Dakar Rally racer to even greater heights in the hugely competitive and expensive sport. It has been barely two months since the talented local rider emerged as a top class racer at the Dakar Rally where he finished 13 and walked away with the fastest rookie of the 10 000 km odyssey.

At Merzouga, things seemed a little better for the rider as the terrain offer sand and rock as opposed to the treacherous dunes in Dakar. Branch who was using a different navigation system in Morocco showed his pace after winning the fourth stage of the race last week Thursday.

Prior to his podium finish Branch said Merzouga was only his second rally and he was willing to learn from some of the top riders in the sport. The KTM 450cc rider said he was now setting his sights on other major races including the 2020 Dakar Rally that has been confirmed for Saudi Arabia.

Since returning from the Dakar, Ross has stayed busy and competed at the cross-country championship in Kwazulu Natal in South Africa, where he finished fourth. The local rider is expected to compete at the upcoming 1000 km Toyota Desert Race, an event he has won more than seven times.

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