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.”
Local hockey body to incur massive financial loss post Covid-19
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.”
BFA will not declare the season null and void – yet
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.