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Van Niekerk, Semenya for GIM

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South African superstar sprinter Wayde Van Niekerk and middle-distance heroine Caster Semenya may be on their way to local shores. The 2018 Gaborone International Meet (GIM) Local Organising Committee (LOC) is currently hatching a plan to bring the high profile duo to compete before local track and field supporters. Preparations for the eagerly anticipated 2018 GIM are well underway.

According to the event organiser Glody Dube, the ambitious LOC is going all out to bring a world-class track and field event to Gaborone. Dube was speaking to Sun Sport recently in an interview. “Semenya has already shown interest and our negotiations are at an advanced stage, Van Niekerk on the other hand is yet to respond, we are in talks with his manager,” said an optimistic Dube. According to Dube, the aim is to dazzle local track and field supporters with star power and the aura surrounding the two world champions who recently conquered the IAAF World championships in London.

“Batswana admire these athletes when watching them on television but have never had the opportunity to actually see them live during a track and field event,” he said. Hosting famous athletes like Van Nerikek and Semenya comes at a huge cost including travel expenses and appearance fees. However they LOL are currently running without a title sponsor. “We cannot solely run the event with amateurs, we need to popularise the event as much as possible or else we will lack mileage,” he said.

Quizzed on the how far they were with securing a sponsors progress on securing a title sponsor, Dube said, “We are moving in the right direction and some companies have shown interest in partnering with us.” Nevertheless, he expressed delight over interest from South African SuperSport Television Channel who has shown interest in broadcasting the event live.The former 800m runner and Botswana Athletics Association (BAA) administrator said they also expect the participation of star athletes including 800m runner Nijel Amos, 400m sprinter Isaac Makwala, 400m ladies side of Amantle Montsho and Lydia Jele. During the GIM LOC planning workshop held recently in Gaborone, Keenese Katisenge serving as head of Sales and Marketing said they want to fill up the stadium, “We are targeting 20 000 spectators.” Katisenge said they needed to close all the gaps in order to organise an entertaining show.

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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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