The organisers of the Region 5 Youth games Gaborone 2018 are pacing behind time to ensure that construction at the Jamali grounds situated in Tlokweng are completed by the end of today (Wednesday).
The Jamali grounds have been picked for the competition’s football games that will kick start on Thursday. However during the media tour of the competition venues this week, Sun Sports realised that construction was still ongoing at Jamali grounds. The men found on site were busy working on the stands and the field of play was also uneven, “We are working under pressure because we hear these grounds might be used during the games, however we are not sure if we will manage to pull it off by end of this week,” said one of the men spotted working on the stands.
The man, dressed in green overalls, sweat dripping over his chin under the extreme scorching heat, said that it takes about two weeks to erect shades for each section of the stand and so far only three stands had shade. The entire stand on the western side was completely bare. The games Local Organising Committee chairperson Labbeus Peloewetse would later explain that the owner of the grounds insisted that there will be no shade on that particular area. Peloewetse said they have been busy at work and assured that all will be well before the games start. “I want to point out that the rolling out of the venues look and feel is still ongoing but I can assure you that it will be completed by Wednesday,” he said.
Peloewetse handed over the nine competition and twelve training venues that will be used during the youth games to AUSC Region 5 Chief Executive Officer, Stanley Mutoya. For his part, Mutoya noted that he was impressed by what Botswana has done preparing for the games.
He said he has no doubt that the country will deliver exceptionally well, saying the country has satisfied all the requirements ahead of the games. On the unfinished Jamali grounds, Mutoya noted that all that was left was to level the playing field saying they particularly prefer Jamali ground rather than the artificial turf in Lekidi (Botswana Football Association) for health reasons. “We even had COSAFA technical experts here and they have given green light that the facility can be used,” Mutoya said.
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.