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BNOC elections this weekend

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The Botswana sports landscape is expected to change drastically this Saturday when the watershed, Botswana National Olympic Committee elects new leadership in Gaborone. As things stand, there is no clear favourite to succeed long time BNOC president Negroes Kgosietsile, who announced he would not be contesting for the seat this time around.

The five presidential candidates could not be more different, which makes the 2017 elections even more intriguing. Nevertheless, local sports industry observers and sports lovers at large have raised concerns over the unprecedented number of candidates standing for the BNOC executive committee elections. The eclectic candidates vying for the presidential seat include, Ookeditse Malesu. The former military man is the last candidate to enter the race. However, it did not come as a surprise after he lost to Kgosietsile in the last elections.

A no nonsense sports administrator, Malesu brings a lot of experience to his campaign. The ambitious sports administrator has worked for the Botswana Karate Association (BOKA), Botswana Swimming Sports Association (BSSA) and recently Malesu had a short spell at the Botswana Football Association. His multi sport code experience will come in handy against the tough competition.

On the other hand is Botsang Tshenyego, another military man who comes with a huge advantage. Tshenyego is an insider having served under Kgosietsile for the past few years. Tshenyego clearly has an advantage to succeed the outgoing president. He is clearly aware of the strings he needs to pull and the inner workings of the BNOC.

Another interesting candidate in the unpredictable race is Tebogo Lebotse Sebego, the current president of the Botswana Netball Association (BONA). Sebego was a rather shock addition to the race. She has also brought along a new angle to the race, as all of her compaigning team is women Sebego is a shrewd administrator and an over achiever who recently brought the 2017 Netball Youth World Cup (NYWC) to local shores. Sebego is buoyed by this great achievement going into the race.

Moreover, the shrewd sports leader who has led BONA for the better part of the past decade, knows how to pick a team that is built around her vision and goals. Former national team boxer and Botswana National Sports Commission (BNSC) hall of fame France Mabiletsa comes into the race with an impressive resume. In a recent interview with BG Sports, Mabiletsa outlined his plan for the BNOC and it was quite simply aligned to elite athletes with elite sports administrators.

Mabiletsa has been part of one of the most successful amateur boxing stables in the country, being UB/Tsholofelo boxing club for over a decade. Mabiletsa is also no stranger to the BNOC having been assigned as Chef de mission at one of the recent Commonwealth games. Mabiletsa believes that having been an athlete, a coach and a sports administrator gives him leverage over his competitors. Daniel Molaodi enters the race with another impeccable resume. Molaodi made his bones in the Botswana Volleyball Federation (BVF). For the past decade Molaodi has held a leadership position in the BVF as the sport code went from strength to strength. The BVF ran a successful league until recently, losing their league sponsor Mascom Wireless.

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Well-endowed Galaxy

Isaac Pheko

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FIRE POWER: Galaxy await Rollers

It is only the third week of the 2018/19 BTC Premiership and things are already heating up. Leading the charge is a marauding Jwaneng Galaxy who have already thrown a heavy-handed gauntlet at their rivals after recording a highly impressive 10 goals in just two games.

Galaxy’s intention has been made clear this season after leaving their first two opponents with bloody noses and tails tucked between their legs. The former Mascom Top 8 champions are in a relentless war path with the premier league title on their radar. This weekend, Galaxy host bitter rivals Township Rollers in Jwaneng in what is expected to be a football grudge match. Rollers have been a prickly thorn in Galaxy’s quest to claim the premiership silverware for the past two seasons.

This means the weekend fixture will be the most compelling of the new season. However, Galaxy seem to be packing more heat coming into the Saturday fixture having annihilated both Prisons XI (5-0) and Security Systems (5-0). Galaxy are currently occupying first position alongside second place Sharps Shooting Stars at six points apeice. The game against Popa this weekend will be a litmus test for Galaxy. If the Debswana backed side beats the reigning champions they will establish themselves as potential contenders for the 2018/19 title honours. On the flipside, a loss against Rollers will only mean the first two games were short of a bluff.

Pound for pound Mapalastina have the best squad in the domestic league but a new look Galaxy are well endowed in their own right. In an interview this week, Galaxy spokesperson Tankiso Morake said they played Rollers three times last season and all the games ended in a draw. “Remember we played Rollers in the Mascom Top 8 in Lobatse,” an up-beat Morake said. Morake further said they expected their new coach to receive his permits and start manning the bench when they play Rollers this weekend. “Our supporters have told us that they expected nothing less than league honours this season.” Morake attributes the positive result to a great pre-season.

“You will remember that there was a fake list in the media indicating that we have parted ways with most of our players. You can see that the likes of Ayanda Molefe and Isaac Paeye are still part of the team. There is a lot of competition in our team because we mostly have young players in the team including Lebogang Ditsile who played at Highlands Park in South Africa.” Furthermore, Morake conceded that Rollers are a strong team but argued that they will win the games from the technical bench. “You will remember that we started the last season back tracking but this time things are different.”

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Bridge team fails to impress

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The local team comprised of under 16, under 21 and under 26 categories. In an interview this week, BBF spokesperson Mbakiso Malilo did not mince his words when he described the team’s performance as terrible with all the three teams failing to qualify for the quarter finals.

“Making it to the quarter finals was our target following a good showing in the online championship by our junior team. I believe we can work on improving the playing standard for kids (under 16) as they still stand a chance to compete in the under 21 and under 26 categories for future championships,” he said.

However, Malilo explained that the local youth team gained a lot of experience as the played against more advanced rivals. Quizzed on challenges they faced with a predominantly youthful team, Malilo said: “the trip was too long and for most of the players this was their first experienced of travelling such a great distance. The jet lag ended up affecting the team’s performance as they showed signs of fatigue.” Malilo said their objective was to train young players and give them exposure to the game early on.

“We managed to network with bridge power houses like the Netherlands. Official from the European country expressed interest in training our kids through bridge clinics and enhancing the standard of play and bidding.” Malilo said they selected the junior team that travelled to China through local tournament that was held in Gaborone earlier this year. The tournament was attend by mostly tertiary school students and out of school youth in the junior and youngsters’ category. For the under 16 category we invited student from secondary schools.

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