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Kepaletswe a gift to local basketball

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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.

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Makwengwe promises fire and fury

Isaac Pheko

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ON A MISSION: Makwengwe

Gaborone United (GU)headcoach Philimon Makwengwe has sent a chilling message to his future opponents following a 0-1 loss to reigning BTC Premiership champions Township Rollers this past weekend.

A buoyant Makwengwe who is searching for at least two hungry strikers at GU declared that there will be nothing but misery in store for his future opponents. Following the closely contested Gaborone derby Makwengwe said:

“I have to improve in attack, I am not scoring goals, and I need to change my position on the log. I know the buzz was around the Gaborone Derby but that was never my concern. My team is currently in the red and I needed the points. I have to get out of the red and attacking my opponents is necessary”.

The unrelenting coach made it clear that Moyagoleele should not perform below their showing against Rollers last weekend. Makwengwe said the Money Machine will need to be “attack minded” in their next fixtures.

“What people should know is that Township Rollers have beaten me three times. They beat me twice back in 2012 during the Mascom Top 8. That was not the last time as they defeated me again at Prisons Airwick means this is now the fourth time.

The local tactician said losses to the Mma-Masire outfit should be a wake-up call for him. Nevertheless, Makwengwe said Rollers are the champions and one of the best teams not only in the country but the rest of the region.

“This is a team that gives a good brand of Botswana football. I am a champion myself, I am not a loser but I cannot beat Rollers alone.” Regarding the rest of the first round, Makwengwe said they will hit the ground running, I have no time to lament on negatives, I will not bemoan so many things.

My next opponents should stand in line and prepare to become victims.” The experienced coach said GU are a big brand and they should move away from where they are in the log standings. Losing 0-1 to a team like Rollers shows that we have to work on consistency.

The coach conceded the fact that he needs to make changes in his squad. I need about eight players including a fast winger on the left, I need a striker or two and these should be real strikers not people who play upfront.

Makwengwe said the current strikers at the team include a local who is a work in progress and a foreigner who is not giving enough to the team.“People want me to hide and I cannot, when you come into this country and you brush aside a local and even the labour law says you have to be better than them(locals), I bet in any profession.

If you want to play a striker for me, work harder.” The coach said he does not have an outright striker, which leaves a gap in the team. “A striker is somebody who pushes and is busy. If he doesn’t score himself, he has to use other players. It doesn’t matter if he is alone against four.”

Makwengwe said he needs two strikers to avoid changing the team too much. “In January, I am going into the market and I am going to buy. My next game is against Miscelleneous and they are coming down. I will have no mercy. Whoever comes I will have no mercy.”

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Old rivals faceoff

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BITTER RIVALS: Notwane Head coach Pio Paul

Notwane Football Club (Sechaba) and Mochudi Centre Chiefs (Magosi), are to battle it out in a potentially massive encounter as both clubs are coming from draws in their previous matches against Prisons IX and Black Forest respectively.

The clash is scheduled to take place at 4pm this Saturday at Molepolole Sports Complex.Sechaba, as Notwane is affectionately known were relegated back in 2015 while Magosi has been going through a financial crisis that hit the club recently.

Having played 9 games a piece, Notwane FC, currently on the 9th position in the BTC Premiership league log standings have won two, drew four and lost three games whereas Centre Chiefs who are occupying the 12th spot have won one, drew five and lost three games.

In a brief interview with Sun Sport this week, Notwane FC Public Relations Officer (PRO) Mogomotsi ‘Ace’ Orapeleng said, “We are going all out to win this fixture, taking nothing away from Centre Chiefs, we are not going to read much into what they have been going through lately hence our approach to the match will be of ‘great’ respect.

This past weekend we dropped a massive two points which could have made a difference against Prisons IX thus making us more desperate to collect three (3) points in this coming clash with Centre Chiefs,” he said.

Questioned about the anxiety brought by this particular contest he said: “Notwane FC and Mochudi Centre Chiefs are big brands of Botswana football, we are aware of the fact that the personnel have changed; new players, management and even sponsors but the ultimate truth is that these two have great following and most people are anxious to see how the events will turn out on the weekend,” said Orapeleng.

For his part, Mochudi Centre Chiefs Vice-Chairman, Clifford Mogomotsi confirmed their aim is to try and improve their position in the league log standings, “In every match we play, our approach is to always expand our position on the log, regardless of which team we play against. Notwane FC is a fantastic team but we are going to fight until the end to win the match,” said Mogomotsi.

Mogomotsi further pointed out that playing against Notwane FC has always been exulting, “Notwane FC has always given us entertaining football as we almost play a similar style of play,” said the Vice-Chairman.

On the possibility of losing points through the impending verdict after failure to honour their game against Miscellaneous a fortnight ago: “Our date with Botswana Premier League (BPL) Disciplinary Committee (DC) has been set, and we are awaiting that,” he explained.

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