Olebile Kepaletswe is one mastermind behind Botswana Basketball and he aspires to see the sport reaching greater heights in the country. The passionate coach has been part of the Botswana Basketball Association (BBA) since 2004. Through his industry Kepaletswe has helped to form and nurture a total number of 20 basketball teams in the North Central district.
The basketball coach boasts of an impressive resume that includes FIBA Level 1 certificate, Zonal Coordinator (North Central), and refresher courses in coaching and officiating as well as coaching Central during Botswana Games amongst others. Some of Kepaletswe’s accolades include seven gold medals, two silver medals for girls’ team, one silver medal and two silver medals with the boys’ team at Boineelo Junior School between 2007 and 2016. Kepaletswe’s passion for the hoop game was ignited after he established the Tshwaragano CJSS basketball. Shortly after its formation the team qualified for the nationals. Nevertheless, Kepaletswe who is a teacher by profession, said there are some people in the sports industry who do not recognise Basketball as a serious sport. “Generally Botswana call it ball ya ma cat and perceive it to be expensive in terms of sneakers, therefore that somehow becomes a barrier for one champion out there not to utilise their talent,” he said.
Kepaletswe is of the view that most parents of Tswana medium schools do not really support Basketball players, adding that it poises the sport as being undermined. “The sport also lacks sponsorship to the extent that the league is not running since the teams are not able to meet some requirements,” he said. He stated that Basketball is the second most watched sport after football in the world and the second fastest sport after ice hockey, thereby if taken seriously in Botswana it can create better jobs for the young upcoming Basketball players.
Meanwhile the Botswana Basketball Association, Boineelo Hardy said that she really believes much in Kepaletswe because he has been in Basketball for a long time. In an interview this week, Hardy labelled him as a dedicated person in local basketball. “I am grateful for people like him because he is dedicated to the growth of Basketball. Just recently he was one of the coaches that were drafted into mobilising the three on three for fewer than 18 and as usual he is taking it on board.
They don’t even get paid but he definitely gives his time to Basketball and since he became a BISA coach in 2012, the team has always brought medals home.” Hardy said people like Kepaletswe offer inspiration and motivation for children in the sport. “They work for these activities to happen for children and not themselves. Without people like him Basketball would have a very hard time growing because we do not have enough funds to pay people to do it but he does it out of love and he does it well too,” explained Hardy. Through his skill, he has also collaborated with BDF 5 and organised an annual pre-season tournament and coaching clinic, while recruiting and helping upcoming coaches in Basketball.
He has also been a full time coach for BISA under 17 girls team for COSASA Games since 2012 to date. Kepaletswe’s dream is to see coaches and players of Basketball being sent to countries like The USA and Cuba to learn more. “It would also be ideal to at least send them to countries including Angola, Egypt, Tunisia or Senegal as these are some of the power houses of Basketball in Africa.” Kepaletswe is confident that Botswana teams will play better during the anticipated Zone VI Basketball Champions Cup to be held in Gaborone next month.
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.”