Botswana’s Woman Fide Master (WFM) Besa Masaiti, 15, is in Lasi Romania to represent the country at the 2017 World Schools Chess Championships that began on 23rd April and will end 1st May 2017.
She is the only African participating in the Under 15 section and is currently ranked 15th in the tournament. She is facing stiff competition from 27 European players competing in the same category. Botswana Chess Federation (BCF) spokesperson Keenese Katisenge said Masaiti did not begin her tournament on a good note, as she lost her first match to the highly-ranked South America Champion, Aleyla Hilario of Peru Federation.
However, Katisenge says they are still expecting a lot from Masaiti and Botswana should remain confident that she will up her game as the tournament unfolds. Masaiti qualified for the event in 2016 after winning the Under 15 girls’ section of the African Schools Chess Championships in Lusaka, Zambia in 2016. Masaiti trains under the watchful eye of her doting father and coach Charles Masaiti.
A total of P21 000 was raised by well- wishers and family members for the chess prodigy to compete in the European tournament. In a brief interview yesterday, her coach expressed optimism that the athlete will bounce back. “This is a high-level competition, it is intimidating but experience, lessons and exposure to be gained will make a turnaround,’’ he said.
He said there are over 500 students from all over the world accompanied by close to 600 parents and officials in the competition. There are only five Africans at the tournament, three from Zimbabwe and one from South Africa; he added that countries from Europe take chess very seriously with parents emotionally attached to the tournament.
Masaiti is expected to play a total of nine games. She departs Romania on May 2. Competing in Romania has added her name to the list of elite local chess players that have been privileged enough to compete at World Schools Championships.
She is also one of the first to earn the right to play and represent Botswana internationally under the Botswana Primary School Sport Association (BOPSSA). In 2016, she dominated at the ‘Re Ba Bona Ha’ Youth Chess Championships for Under 14 girls.
She also did well in Mater Spei Chess Festival, the Airfficiency Chess Championships and the En-peasant Chess Club Youth Championships. Masaiti has been clinging to the ‘Re Ba Bona Ha’ championship title for nearly three years in a row. The past two years have seen her reaching the top ten in all women sections of open chess tournaments.
New GU Stadium Excites Mochudi based soccer rivals
Officials at Mochudi village’s biggest soccer clubs Mochudi Centre Chiefs and Mochudi Rovers are excited at the news that their district will soon have a state of the art football stadium after property and construction magnate Nicholas Zackhem announced the erection of the facility for Gaborone United.
Zackhem, owner and director of Zac Construction, revealed recently to this publication that a football stadium would be built in Bokaa village at a cost of P70 million, with the hope that all phases will be completed by 2025.
Edwin Mothulatshipi, Chairman of Centre Chiefs, as well as Mochudi Rovers’ Chairman Sugar Molefhe both spoke to The Midweek Sun on what the construction of the stadium means for their respective clubs. Both admit they would jump at the opportunity to use the facility for their official matches, and based on what Gaborone United financier Zackhem has shared with The Midweek Sun, it will not be difficult for all the other clubs based around the area to use the facility. TO READ THE COMPLETE STORY, BUY THIS WEEK’S EDITION (11 August 2021) OF THE MIDWEEK SUN AT A STORE NEAR YOU.
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.”