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Gunners playmaker aspires for greatness

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BIG DREAM: Sitang wants recognition

Extension Gunners impressive winger-cum playmaker Ogomoditswe Sitang (27) aspires to be the best player in the country and believes he has to work extra hard to realise his dream.

Sitang expressed this after their remarkable 2-0 win over Black Forest in a Botswana Telecommunications (BTC) Premier League clash, where he was amongst the goal scorers on the day at Lobatse Sports Complex this past Saturday.

Gunners who seem to be slowly finding their footing with a couple of decent games lately, and now perched at the 7th spot on the BTC Premiership log, are hopeful to at least stay inside the Top 8 by the end of the 2018/19 league campaign to ensure their participation in the Mascom Top 8 tournament.

Sitang, who once passed through Uniao Flamengo Santos and Police XI ranks told Sun Sport that he is taking one game at a time. “I do not want to put pressure on myself but I want to eventually be able to play for any big team for financial stability and general growth as a player,” said Sitang.

Quizzed about his wishes to play for the national team one day, he said; “It is every player’s dream to represent his country at some point but it needs a high level of determination and hard work in every game we play so that we stand a better chance of being selected to the national team,” he said.

On the other hand, the former Mochudi Centre Chiefs and Botswana skilful midfielder, now interim coach at Gunners Pontsho ‘Piro’ Moloi said blending experience and youthful players is slowly paying off though it is still early.

“It is still early to get excited but I think we are on the right track, surely, we will improve as the league progresses. The youth are learning a lot from the experienced players and I believe we are playing beautiful football that has been absent in our shores for years, however there is room for improvement,” said Moloi.

Nevertheless, Moloi looked to be unsure of his future at Gunners, “I cannot say I will take over the reigns as full time Gunners coach yet, I only coached a few matches and I must not get excited. We will see what will happen as time goes on,” he explained.

Meanwhile, the relegation bound Black Forest gaffer Reetsang Letlotlo said his side’s struggles are caused by lack of more experienced players, “Most of my players are still new in the elite league hence it becomes difficult for them to deal with pressure, but I am working on that; even though the time is not on our side, we need to start collecting points,” 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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