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Trouble brewing at BOKA

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Things are expected to get awry at the Botswana Karate Association (BOKA). Information reaching Sun Sports is that the highly trained combat sport athletes at BOKA are threatening to sabotage and possibly hurt one another in order to make it into the national team.

Following a successful campaign at the recent UFAK championship campain, the national Karate team will be heading to the eagerly anticipated 2017Africa Union Sports Council (AUSC) Region 5 tournament. However, BOKA recently announced that only 40 athletes shall be travelling to Maputo, Mozambique later this month for the competition.

This means a significant number of athletes will be cut from the national team with about 25 athletes being left behind. The karate association was expected to select a team last weekend; but it soon became clear that the issue of cutting the team had evoked negative energy in the camp. This political development saw BOKA failing to come up with a final list of athletes to represent the country last Saturday.

Majority of the athletes were not entirely happy with the decision and openly aired their grievances with Sun Sports. Some athletes even went as far as threatening to deliberately put their opponents out of action.

“This is the best national team ever, we wonder who will be left behind, nobody wants to remain behind and the best way is to deliberately injure those that are competing in the same categories with us. When they will be busy nursing injuries, we will be home and dry,” said one fuming athlete. “Everybody who was there was number one in their categories.

I cannot imagine how this will affect us, especially for our developing stars,” said another Karateka Moreover, frustrated athletes alleged BOKA management intends on sending more than 20 officials to Mozambique at their expense, which further caused divisions within the association.

In a brief interview recently, crowned Africa Karate Champion also team Captain Ofentse Bakwadi said it was unfortunate that the team will be cut but given the budget, it is impossible to send the whole team to Maputo. He suggested that the association should come up with a more systematic way of resolving the matter.

He decried that Botswana National Sports Commission (BNSC) was not doing enough to support Karate as one of the performing sport codes locally. Spokesperson of the Association Isaiah Ramontshonyane said the decision to have only 40 athletes at the tournament is final and they expect coaches to provide them with the final list.

Ramontshonyane said they are working on a very tight budget amounting to P350 000 and have to be realistic and very strategic on how to utilise the money. He added that funds permitting, they would take the whole team to Region 5.

“Athletes have to understand that the team will be travelling with coaches, medics and other officials such Million Masumbika as the AUSC official and Tshepo Bathai who is the BOKA President. These are some of the expenses that we need to consider,” he explained.

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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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