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FUROR OVER BPL FIXTURES

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The BTC Premiership league was this Tuesday thrown into chaos over a fixture between reigning champions Township Rollers and Serowe’s Miscellaneous scheduled for Gaborone.

By Tuesday evening, Miscellaneous Football Club (FC) were still over 370km away in Serowe ahead of their scheduled game against Township Rollers in the Capital city at 1900hrs. By press time, Miscellaneous had confirmed that they would not be honoring their game against Rollers, decrying lack of funds to finance the cross-country trip to Gaborone. The Serowe outfit argued that the fixture was on short notice, which was unfair on their part. According to the Club spokesperson Edwin Ntau, they could not acquire funds for the doomed trip. “If we do arrive in Gaborone on Tuesday evening, that game will be a disaster because we are not ready for it. Botswana Premier League (BPL) is not serious and insulting the sponsor, “a seething Ntau said before cancelling the trip.

Earlier on Tuesday Miscellaneous expressed unhappiness with the Botswana Premier League (BPL) over the change of fixtures last week Thursday. Initially, Miscellaneous says it was to play Notwane in Serowe but to their greatest shock they were suddenly pitted against the defending champions, Rollers in Gaborone. They had now lost home ground advantage and had to travel all the way to Gaborone for the difficult encounter. Ntau questioned the judgement fairness of the BPL following the surprising turn of events.

Ntau claims that they saw the amendments of fixtures communicated on social media and when they questioned BPL CEO, Thabo Ntshinogang and his team, they were assured that they will play Notwane at Serowe Sports Complex. “We were shocked that on Monday the same fixtures of us playing Rollers were still circulating around and when we wrote to BPL, we were told to honour the Tuesday game or there would be consequences,” Ntau said.

Playing Rollers in Gaborone would have meant Miscelleneous played three away games in a row, a sequence of events that would definitely hurt their pockets.Rollers on the other hand, through the club spokesperson, Bafana Pheto said they were equally shocked and not at all happy with BPL. “When we plan, we plan for a certain team and it does not help that nobody is telling us what necessitated the need to change the fixtures,” a baffled Pheto said this week.

It is not clear why the Gaborone United and Rollers game had to be changed from all the games that had to be played in week 23. “Why us, what reasons are there to change the game, we were supposed to play Miscellaneous in Week 30, why drag it to week 23,” he questioned.

Notwane FC chairman, Phillip Tiroyamodimo also said that they wrote back to BPL questioning why they had to change the team they were supposed to play and not only the dates as with other teams but BPL has not bothered to respond. For his part, Boitumelo Nsunge, Chairman of Gaborone United said that they returned from the Mascom Top 8 finals knowing well that they are playing Rollers and were surprised to be given a letter this past Monday instructing them to play Notwane on Thursday.

When responding to the matter, Ntshinogang said that according to their ‘amended’ fixtures, Gaborone United and Township Rollers were not scheduled in week 23. With that, they had to slot them in week 23 given that the senior national team has to prepare for the CAF African Championship of Nations (CHAN) tournament to be played next weekend. With that, there will be no league games played this coming weekend.

However, it remains unclear as to why all the four teams appear to have a copy of fixtures totally different from that of BPL. While Ntshinogang said GU and Rollers had no schedule in week 23, majority believe that GU was to play Rollers and Miscellaneous against Notwane. Ntshinogang went on to say that all clubs were informed of the changes last week Thursday and they expect Miscellaneous to honour the Tuesday game.

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Local boxers ready for regional tourney

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CONFIDENT: Newly unveiled LOC is confident that the regional tourney will be a success

Botswana Boxing Association (BoBA) this past Tuesday officially unveiled a Local Organising Committee (LOC) that has been tasked with preparing for the upcoming Zone 4 championships that are to be held in Botswana.

The team is headed by celebrated boxing legend France Mabiletsa and is expected to host more than seven countries that are expected to descend in Botswana in the next two weeks. Officiating at the event, Botswana National Sport Commission (BNSC) Vice Chairperson Tsoseletso Magang said that BoBA officials should refrain from interfering with the task given to the LOC. She noted that many sporting codes often give the LOC the responsibility of delivering an event only for the code members to bully themselves into the affairs of the LOC and disrupts the preparations.

Magang warned that there is little time left before the tournament, and with that, the LOC will need all the support to ensure they deliver a successful event. She noted that hosting the regional tournament gave Botswana an upper hand of fielding more athletes that will have an opportunity to qualify for the Africa Championships scheduled for later this year.

For his part, Mabiletsa noted that they have already hit the ground running and confident that the event will be a success. The competition will be hosted in Botho College and they are in talks with Ave Maria to accommodate athletes. “Life will be made much easier for athletes if they are accommodated at Ave Maria because it is closer to the competition venue,” he said.

He explained that the zone is made up of 12 countries of Lesotho, Angola, Malawi, South Africa and Zimbabwe among others. However as of this past Tuesday, only seven had confirmed participation and they expect to finalize the logistics by the end of the week.

Meanwhile, a formidable national boxing team of eight men captained by Mmusie Tswiiige (60kg) and three ladies led by Lethabo Modukanele (48kg) will represent the country at the regional tournament.

According to the Head coach Lechedzani ‘Master’ Luza, the team has been on camp for the past three weeks. In his opinion, the team is ready to compete. “Generally, they are not bad, we need to work on a few things such as power and speed on some boxers, the defence department is also not bad,” he said.

Luza noted that Botswana has always established herself as a powerhouse and there is no doubt that majority, if not all team Botswana members will win a medal during competition time. He explained that the competition was one of the many leading to Tokyo 2020 Olympics and will give local boxers an opportunity to qualify for the Olympics.

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Branch does it again

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Local motorcycle racing sensation Ross Branch has continued his stellar form after securing overall second position in the internationally renowned Merzouga Rally. The race came to a conclusion this past weekend and Branch has proven his mettle amongst some of the best rally motorcyclists in the world.

The podium finish is expected to take the Dakar Rally racer to even greater heights in the hugely competitive and expensive sport. It has been barely two months since the talented local rider emerged as a top class racer at the Dakar Rally where he finished 13 and walked away with the fastest rookie of the 10 000 km odyssey.

At Merzouga, things seemed a little better for the rider as the terrain offer sand and rock as opposed to the treacherous dunes in Dakar. Branch who was using a different navigation system in Morocco showed his pace after winning the fourth stage of the race last week Thursday.

Prior to his podium finish Branch said Merzouga was only his second rally and he was willing to learn from some of the top riders in the sport. The KTM 450cc rider said he was now setting his sights on other major races including the 2020 Dakar Rally that has been confirmed for Saudi Arabia.

Since returning from the Dakar, Ross has stayed busy and competed at the cross-country championship in Kwazulu Natal in South Africa, where he finished fourth. The local rider is expected to compete at the upcoming 1000 km Toyota Desert Race, an event he has won more than seven times.

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