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All eyes on Tsotso Ngele tonight

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Coach Major David Bright and goalkeeper Kabelo Dambe are convinced that given enough game time and opportunity, Mogakolodi Tsotso Ngele could prove  to be the game changer in tonight’s encounter between Sundowns and Kaizer Chiefs in the Telkom Knockout final.

Botswana’s lone ranger in South African premier league is expected to feature for his mega rich outfit Mamelodi Sundowns as they meet their feared rivals from Soweto at Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban.

Ngele rose to stardom under this cup when he scored twice in Mbombela after coming on as a substitute for Platinum Stars when they beat Orlando Pirates. After his two late goals scored in the 79th and 88 minutes, big clubs began jostling for his signature with Mamelodi Sundowns becoming his final destination.

In the last season he featured in the final for his former club against Supersport United but they lost 3-2. In that final he scored the second goal after coming in as a substitute. His form in the past competitions has always left many football fans asking for more.

In the recent semi-finals against Free State Stars he opened the scoring floodgates before making two assists in their 6-1 memorable victory. Pitso Mosimane will be looking to the highly technically-gifted Botswana’s bogeyman to replicate his yesteryear’s form that saw Platinum Stars lifting the coveted trophy and breaking the hearts of Pirates supporters.

Against Chiefs, Mosimane is facing his longtime friend whom he had previously employed as his assistant during his reign as Bafana Bafana coach. Steve Kompela is under pressure to win silverware for his glamour club which has broken its old culture of not believing in South African local coaches.

Kompela stumbled in the MTN 8 final when his club was white-washed by the youthful Ajax Cape Town side in September. Another loss would certainly reduce his days at Naturena. Despite Sundowns boasting equally talented stars, Ngele remains the most influential man and could prove to be the difference tonight.

He knows and understands the taste of success in this particular competition already at individual level. He won Telkom Player of the Tournament and a cool R200 000 price in the process. He was the second Motswana to win the coveted prize after Joel Mogorosi had won it with Bloemfontein Celtic after leading it to victory against the same Sundowns in the finals.

Ngele’s former teammate at Platinum Stars Kabelo Dambe who was present in both finals when they won in Mbombela and when they lost against Supersport United, feels that if Ngele could be given enough game time he will punish Kaizer Chiefs. Dambe is now with Township Rollers. “He is a talented player. If given enough playing time against Chiefs he will score. He must not be brought in when the game is already dead. He needs time to read the game and know where to exploit the situation,” he said.

Major David Bright, currently coaching first division outfit Thanda Royal Zulu in South Africa, also shares the sentiments. “It will depend on how Pitso wants to use him. He is very skillful he will score goals if he can play him alongside Hlompho Kekana and Bongani Zungu who will mark and protect him so that he plays behind false No.9,” Bright told Sun Sports from his home base in Richards Bay, Kwazulu Natal.

Tsotso, Botswana’s brightest star, is expected to keep supporters on the edge of their seats with his vast skills. A lot will be itching for a tussle between Tsotso and the stubborn Chiefs defence manned by the towering Eric Mothoho and Ivan Bukenya. Ngele was quoted in South African media saying Chiefs should be very worried because “We want to win titles.”

Should Ngele score and help his team win this cup it will set a new record for his coach who will be the first coach in ABSA premiership to have won all the cups in his coaching history during PSL era while his opponent Kompela will be aiming to win his first-ever cup as a coach.

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makwala iaaf issue ignored

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President of Botswana Athletics Association (BAA) Mooketsi Thari this week revealed that International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) president Sebastian Coe is coming to Botswana for other matters surrounding BAA, not the infamous Isaac Makwala saga that occurred during the 2017 World Championships staged in London.

In fact, BAA has no intention to demand answers or even mention the Makwala issue to the IAAF president. A staunch Thari said the BAA will not even ask for any form of compensation following the Makwala debacle. Thari was addressing members of the press about the on-going preparations ahead of the IAAF president’s arrival in Gaborone this coming Saturday.

Makwala, the world famous local 400m sprinter and the men’s 2018 Commonwealth Games gold medalist was controversially barred by IAAF from running at the 2018 London World Championships over allegations that he might have contracted the contagious Noro Virus bug.

The nation watched with bleeding hearts as reports flooded across borders that Makwala was ruled out of the world 400m final. Makwala endured further heartache after being pulled out of the 200m heats and later went on a spotlight stealing a solo run in rainy weather.

After all the dust seemed to have settled over the mishap, that is when news surfaced that Coe would come to Botswana in 2018. The announcement compelled many to believe that Coe ‘s visit wouldshed light to Batswana an understanding of what exactly happened in London. However, Thari says for them, that is water under the bridge.

“Many think the IAAF president is coming for the Makwala issue, well, that is not the case, he had long promised that he will visit even before the London controversy,” Thari said. “That issue has been resolved and there is nothing more to it.

We dealt with the matter, even if we were to take it to court that would have happened at a later stage and Makwala would have missed his run,” he said.The BAA president went on to say that they did all they could and actually took pride in that they made history by ensuring that IAAF grants Makwala a special 200m qualification run.

The solo run saw Makwala beat the alleged stomach bug and qualified for the 200m final. Thari explained that instead, they need IAAF’s assistance to help develop athletics in Botswana. As one of the best performing codes in Botswana, Thari said it would come in handy if IAAF helps the local association with funding.

“We will show him a plot that we were long allocated but finding it hard to develop. We also need to reinforce grassroots development,” Thari said.

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GU welcomes Zapata at Rollers

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It would have been an intriguing welcome back to Botswana for Rodolfo Zapata if he were to lead the BTC premiership defending Champions Townships Rollers during their week 10 match against Gaborone United this coming Saturday at the national stadium.

However, Zapata who arrived in Botswana this past Saturday can only watch from the stands, as he is yet to be confirmed as head coach by the Rollers management. Rollers recently confirmed that they are in negotiations with the former Gaborone United coach.The passionate Argentine tactician has already met with the Rollers technical side and the players this week.

As of this past Tuesday, Sun Sports learnt that Zapata is yet to put pen to paper. “We are almost done with our negotiations and still processing his work permits. Only the government processes will determine how long he stays out,” said Rollers spokesperson, Bafana Pheto in an interview.

Pheto revealed that Zapata met the team on Tuesday morning during their training session. However, Zapata, played his cards close to his chest and said he will only comment after he signs a contract with Rollers.“I do not have all the details right now and I hope the Rollers management is working on my permits also,” he said.

Nevertheless, it would still be an emotional game for Zapata when he watches a team he used to coach play against a team he is expected to soon lead.Zapata dumped Gaborone United for a Kenyan side AFC Leopards back in April this year. Zapata had signed a two -year deal with the Kenyan side until about four weeks ago when he decided to leave.

Rollers were quick to show interest on the high profiled coach when their coach, Nikola Kavazovic shockingly decided to abandon the formidable side of Mapalastina early this month.Meanwhile Sun Sports has learnt that there might still be a standoff between GU management and Zapata.

Zapata has told this publication that GU has not paid him his dues yet. Nevertheless, GU is reported to still be nursing an open wound following Zapata’s decision to abandon the then sinking Money Machine.

It is alleged that Zapata has a running contract with GU until 2019 and there were certain procedures he had to follow as per the contract, “We cannot comment anything on the Zapata issue because it may have some legal implications.

We will wait for a time to sit down with Zapata and resolve our pending issues because Zapata has not even contacted us yet,” said GU chairman, Boitumelo Nsunge.

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