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ZEBRAS ONE HOOF INTO THE FINALS

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After miraculously booking a place in the semifinals of the COSAFA Cup and with the dream to become regional champions now takimg shape, the Zebras will fight tooth and nail to book a place into the finals of the regional showpiece when they take on Lesotho today.

The Zebras are scheduled to play Lesotho this Wednesday afternoon in a Semi Final battle of the ongoing 2019 COSAFA Cup staged in Durban, South Africa. They advanced to the semi- finals following a 5-4 thrashing of the hosts, Bafana Bafana, in a penalty shoot out this past Sunday. It took determination and bravery to win against Bafana Bafana given the dominance, South Africa, held over Botswana in the past few years and over time. Zebras Interim Coach, Mogomotsi Mpote when speaking to Sun Sport this past Tuesday indicated that his squad worked effortlessly to reach the Semi- finals.Coach Mpote has declared that his sole goal is to leave the tournament as a champion together with his troops.

Lesotho has recently gathered strength, proving to be a sprouting giant and they can cause a major upset if Mpote doesn’t get his tactics right. They might cause an upset as they have recently turned themselves into a giant slayer. Ahead of today’s game, Mpote explained that he was still profiling the Lesotho team and it will not be an easy game given that Lesotho will be playing with a full heavy squad that nearly qualified for AFCON 2019.

“I am confident that we will play Lesotho with a positive mind of proceeding to the finals, the boys are in high spirits, a win against South Africa was a much needed booster,” he said. Mpote is expected to field a strong side with Joel Mogorosi leading the Frontline while Mosha Gaolaolwe marshal the backline, Mosha is expected to command Fortunate Thularo, Thabo Leinanyane and Thatayaone Dithokwa.

Most of the time Leinanyane will be expected to cautiously go forward and deliver his crosses to the aerial strength of Joel Mogorosi. On form Segolame Boy and Thero Setsile will be pivotal for the Zebras, their skill and pace is expected to bear fruits when the two go forward in search of goals, their creativity is expected to spark the wide areas of the field.Lebogang Ditsele needs to be on top of his game as he is set to link up play, serving as a connection between the defense and midfield. He will be expected to do the dirty work while Mothusi Cooper will be unleashed to go forward.

As in the previous game, Zebras are expected to move the ball with pace although their play could prove to be predictable. However, if it turns out so, Mpote has in his line up, Tumisang Orebonye who can go on and unsettle the defense thus creating space for gifted attackers like Segolame Boy, Gilbert Baruti and Thero Setsile.

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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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