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Dismissed or demoted!

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An ugly altercation has recently transpired between Mochudi Centre Chiefs (MCC)’s care taker coach, Itumeleng Duiker and the management of the team.

Just last week, allegations surfaced that Duiker was dismissed from work but MCC management wasted no time and refuted the claims. Duiker has however, when approached this week, accused MCC management of lying to the nation.“I hear they are denying but I can assure you that they informally broke the news to me last week. I have actually been away since Wednesday. My relationship with the team Manager, Zaahid Jalal had reached a boiling point,” Duiker said this week.

Duiker lamented that Jalal was always stepping on his toes and even going to the extent of deciding his first eleven. He claims that Jalal fired and signed new players without even consulting him. Duiker felt disrespected and found it hard to play the game that he, as coach, wanted. “I told him that I will not operate according to his terms, I am open for suggestions but the final word should be mine because they have my name out there as coach. When we are not performing, I get the entire lashing from supporters, not him,” a seething Duiker said.

Nevertheless, Duiker said the reason why there is confusion is because Jalal took the decision to unilaterally cut him off and other team officials are not happy. It is even tricky because he was not given a dismissal letter. He shares that he had nothing but love for MCC, having found it in a sorry state and was trying to rebuild the players’ confidence. Evidently enough, when the league resumed from the festive break, MCC had seemed to have revamped, going five games without a loss and moving from bottom placed to their current 14th position. “Many had given up on the team, even Jalal when I arrived he was in charge of the gate takings. Now he has returned and barking instructions left right and centre, only because he saw light at the end of the tunnel,” he said.

Duiker is also accusing MCC of playing hide and seek with his dues. The seemingly frustrated coach said that Jalal and club Chairman Raymond Tsheko were supposed to meet him last week but as of this past Monday, they were giving him excuses.“He is lying, we were supposed to meet him on Thursday yes, but because of other commitments the meeting did not materialize but I have told him that we will meet this week,” Tsheko said.

Tsheko explained that they have not dismissed Duiker instead his role as care -taker coach has lapsed. “We only told him that the management has taken a decision to retain him as an assistant and not hire him as coach because a new coach will soon take over, there is no dismissal letter,” Tsheko defended.

The Chairman of the Kgatleng based team said that Duiker could not continue giving instructions to the team because as per employment act, he only has to act on the instructions given to him by his boss, being the team head coach to be appointed. Quizzed why MCC was quick to remove Duiker from his position even though they have not come out to name a new coach yet, Tsheko answered to say their decision was well calculated and was not haphazard, “I beg that we be respected on our decision because there is reason to it, even supporters should rest assured that we acted on the great benefit of the team,” he said. He said that if things go well they will name their new head coach this week.

Meanwhile, when reached Jalal said he does not want to comment on his alleged bittersweet relationship with Duiker. However, he maintained that Duiker has not been dismissed and he is still their assistant coach.

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Volleyball coach explains selection of national team

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Botswana Volleyball Federation (BVF) national team coach Kabo Ntshinogang says winning a league performance award does not guarantee national team call up.

Ntshinogang was responding to complaints made by some players recently that the national team squad is decided on favoritism and not merit. To their surprise, some players that were honored for exceptional play in the 2018 Mascom league were missing from the preliminary national team list that was released by the federation recently. The national team is preparing for the All Africa games qualifiers to be held in Mozambique later this month.

“Yes it is true, not all who were honored by Mascom last year made it into the team. Winning an award does not book a seat in the national team, a lot of things go into being selected as national team material,” Ntshinogang said this week.

The coach in charge of the ladies’ team explained that in some instances, a player can score many points in one particular game while a more talented player might have been absent on the day.
That, he said could make other talented players fail to collect points and catch up, as every game is different.

“We use the league to gauge performance however, we can never all agree on who is best suited a place in the national team. Difference in opinions will always come in and perhaps provide a healthy debate,” the coach said.

Ntshinogang added that if he indeed used favoritism to pick his team then his side of Mafolofolo Club would be dominating the list. Nevertheless, Kutlwano players are the ones with a large number of players at national team level. On the men side, assistant coach Kealeboga Mmekwane said that contrary to negative reports he came across, Kesaobaka Lenkopane of BDF XI, who was the 2018 league best setter has been invited to training but has not showed up yet.

“He was omitted from the list yes but we have since contacted his coach that the player should join the national team during training,” he said. Mmekwane continued to note that another omitted name was Meffery Chindumbo who is a foreigner and could not be called for national team duty. He revealed that they look into matters such as height, skill and the defence ability when they select their preferred team.

He explained that it was hard picking names and they were forced to rely on past experiences. “There is no league and we had to think hard to come up with a competitive team,” he said. For their first training, Mmekwane noted that the players are all a bit rusty as they are returning from a long break, saying some have even gained weight. He however expressed confidence that they will qualify for the games as they have over the years established themselves as a powerhouse in the region.

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Marape increases Botswana’s medal tally

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Women Fide Master (WFM) Naledi Marape dazzled at the just ended Zone 4.3 championships held in Madagascar. She brought home a bronze medal.

The 2019 edition was the young Marape’s second zonal competition having finished on 5th position in Mozambique last year. Nevertheless, she emerged all hell bent to leave an impressive mark in Madagascar as she defeated highly ranked players to increase Botswana ‘s medal tally.

Marape emulated winning ways of Women International Master (WIM) Onkemetse Francis who finished in second position, grabbing a silver medal. Francis returned to the Chessboard following a short break from the game, itching to defend her 2018 bronze medal. She would however go up the ranks and give way for the developing star that is Marape.

It seems Marape drew inspiration from the experienced side of Francis and rightly put her foot down. The Botswana Chess Federation (BCF) spokesperson Kutlwano Tatolo explained that Marape is actually chasing her first Olympiad appearance next year.

“She has been doing well and one of the best youth players, however, competition is very stiff and she will need to work extra hard to improve her game,” she said. Tatolo described Marape as a player still full of energy and thirsty for success saying her level of growth in the game was promising.

However, Marape began the year on a low note and actually lost out on forming part of the ten Metropolitan Championships ladies’ finalists, thus the urge to keep busy drove her to international excellence.

The BCF had sent only one female representative to Madagascar however, Marape and another youth side in Women Candidate Master (WCM) Natalie Banda sponsored themselves to attend the zonal competition. Banda, who was making a debut at the tournament, finished in an impressive 8th position and she was given a trophy for being the youngest participant at the tournament.

Meanwhile, Fide Master (FM) Phemelo Khetho who recently won the Metropolitan championship failed to defend his 2018 silver medal in the open section but instead dropped to position 13.
His counterpart International Master (IM) Providence Oatlhotse, finished on the 6th place.

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