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Malete to defend the cycle challenge

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The 2017 Mascom Cycle challenge champion, Abeng Malete intends to defend his title during the 2018 edition scheduled for the 16th of September. Speaking to Sun Sports this week, Malete said his body was ready to spin the wheels, “I have been preparing well for the event and I will definitely retain my title,” he said.

Malete noted that his training schedule has been a fully structured and intense one with the ultimate goal to improve his race time. The rising star recorded an impressive 2:43:00 last year but wants to at least beat 2:30:00 this year. He has been competing at the Mascom Cycle Challenge for the past four years and has been a dominant force to reckon with locally. More to that he also won the 2017 Jwaneng Mine GMs challenge and the President Charity Cycle.

Locally, none intimidates the young cyclist of team Swift Cycling Club and if only wishes were horses, he would be plying his trade across the borders. He recently returned from his one -year contract with one club based in South Africa.

“I am still searching for other opportunities out there, I have dominated many races locally and I need to spread my wings further,” Malete said. Meanwhile mobile phone service providers Mascom Wireless recently splashed a whopping P250 000 towards the 2018 event. At the event, Mascom Brand and Communication Manager, Kushata Mosojane promised that they want to continue participation in cycling as a sport and provide a platform for cyclists who are at different levels of professionalism to challenge themselves. She said the intention is to attract over 200 participants this year given the 97 that attended last year.

Nevertheless Malete noted that the organizers of the race, Tsela Riders Cycling Club and the main sponsor, Mascom should ensure that there is improvement in terms of marshals to ensure safety for cyclists during the race. When reached, Tsela Riders Chairman, Charles Vaughan said they would ensure that all goes according to plan saying the intention is to grow from strength to strength. He expressed concern that there has been less road races this year due to lack of sponsors, “We are trying to push cycling awareness hence the race starts and finishes in town at the CBD complex,” he said.

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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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