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TOP 8: THE RETURN

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Orapa United have their sights squarely on the 2015/16 Mascom Top 8 trophy, and as they invade Extension Gunners’ territory this Friday at the National Stadium for their second leg of the quarter final encounter, nothing but victory will satisfy their ambitious plans.

The two sides played to a one-all draw in the first leg encounter played at the Itekeng Stadium in Orapa three weeks ago. Of all the eight teams competing for the P1 200 000 prize money after only five games, it is the Ostriches of Orapa who are the hungrier for success as also seen in their league performance.

Ever since arriving in the premier league some three seasons back, the Ostriches have gone from strength to strength, and in the process pulled upset after upset over bigger rivals already accustomed with premiership life for years – Gunners included. As things stand, Orapa United know that they stand a better chance of winning their first trophy in the form of the Mascom Top 8 than with the marathon full year league competition that demands stamina and enduring consistency.

Label them ‘dark horses’ or ‘wild card’ at your own peril, the Ostriches are in for the kill, and their previous impressive results against the big guns of the elite league can attest to their credentials as potent challengers to the ‘Tse Di Tona’ title. Owing to the previous upsets they have meted on the teams in this competition, they actually have a realistic chance of winning the lucrative cup. Their first hurdle to this cup glory comes in the form of Gunners whose plummeting form will be very encouraging to the team from the diamond mining town.

When the two meet, the Ostriches who once again have been on scintillating form once this season, will deploy their entire attacking prowess to overwhelm a vulnerable Gunners who have not known victory for time immemorial now. Internal strife at the Lobatse outfit has not been helpful to the metal state of the players and United may need little resources to push them aside the scoring ability of Thabang Sesinyi as well as the experience of both Patrick Lenyeletse and Patrick Motsepe. Besides, the Orapa lads this time have yet another ace up their sleeves in the form of   multiple championship winning headcoach Madinda Ndlovu.

The Zimbabwean coach knows a lot about winning championships, albeit with big clubs. Ndlovu’s storied career in Botswana has seen him coach big clubs like Mochudi Centre Chiefs and Township Rollers to championship glory and such experience may also be enough to see his Ostriches go easily past the Gunners who are clearly out of sorts lately. With his eyes set on the gratification of carrying his winning exploits to a relatively new team, Ndlovu most likely employ an attacking formation to breach the somewhat miserly Mapantsula defence that despite their string of losses, has given away very little.
The Ostriches’ spokesperson Tebalo Hule made it clear that his team was in the Top 8 to win the coveted trophy and not just to participate. “We believe we have the right squad for the job and we   have no pressure at all. We have played against most of the teams in the tournament and we have done well in the encounters, thus our confidence,” he said.

Hule attributed the team’s recent good run and success to good administration. “We try by all means to be organised and make sure that the teams’ welfare is taken care of, including both transport and accommodation.”also, Hule said the team’s support base has grown tremendously as they manage to fill up their home stadium whenever they host games. “The support base is important for motivating the players, we hope to see them fill up the away stadium when we play Gunners.”

Gunners on the other hand might just find themselves in a pleasant moment to turn their fortunes around, and the Ostriches are better warned to tread with care as wounded predators are often the most dangerous. The players at the Lobatse outfit may also be extra-motivated by knowing what is at stake as their club has been struggling to pay them. Veteran coach Daniel ‘Chico’ Nare recently replaced former headcoach Keitumetse ‘Pio’ Paul and he is still looking for his first victory at the club although a goalless draw will be enough to see his Gunners proceed to the semi-finals on the away–goal rule.

The match will herald the start of an eventful weekend where on Saturday another second leg quarter final match will see BDF XI will take on Gaborone United at the Molepolole Sports Complex. Matebele come into the game with a 1-0 advantage that could see them send the defending champions down the exit door. The third quarter final encounter pits Township Rollers with Police XI at the Molepolole Sports Complex on Sunday. Rollers won the first leg in An awesome 4-2 comeback thriller following the cops’ early 2-0 lead. The stage concludes on Monday evening, still at the Molepolole Sports Complex, where Mochudi Centre Chiefs will take on Gilport Lions.

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Heelang, hands off journalists!

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In our last edition, we touched on athletes who need to be media savvy, however it appears the vaccine needs to be administered on sports leaders too.

There is a highly contagious disease spreading rapidly in the sports space with those in power having a wrong perception of owning the media or somehow entitled to publicity. Such people want to literally dictate what should be broadcast or published, fa ba bata go go nyantshetsa o utwa gotwe, write and send back so I crosscheck.

That equals disrespecting and undermining a journalist to the lowest level; it is more like wanting to teach a scribe how to do their work. If you are in a wrong profession at your respected workplace, please kindly send in your Curriculum Vitae (CV) to newsrooms, you might land that Editor- In Chief position. Then there are those who will make scribes feel like they signed a death warrant, why did you not cover my event? You are not reliable; you are only good at chasing certain individuals. Heelang! Stop crucifying journalists, they do not owe anyone anything and realistically speaking cannot cover everything to please all.

Oops and there are those who never want anything bad or controversial associated with their name. They start off as bosom buddies, discussing ‘non offensive’ issues and once in a while a compliment thrown their way. Once the dark days come knocking and gears are changed, suddenly the same journalist ke moloi wa meno a 4 mo ganong. Really now? So, all along the witch was not visible and now that the tables have turned and it hurts like never before, things have become clearer? Perhaps, you forget what the real job of a scribe is? You cannot befriend a journalist my friends, if you do, then something is seriously wrong! Expect the good together with the bitter taste of unwanted publicity.

There is also a time when the scribes are labelled bomma dijo le bo Rradijo. To an extent that you even emphasize that there will be food at your events, so the more the merrier! I agree, generally only a few can say NO to free food but it becomes a bit untidy when you put a food price tag to your events. Ga re gane, there are some colleagues with a huge appetite and they are not even shy about it but isn’t it that there are people like that all over.

Le re tshabisa go ja, please! Another trend, initially good but now disturbing is that of organisations spoiling some rotten journalists by travelling with them to certain places, all expenses fully paid for. This includes food, accommodation and transportation. Things then become cozy when a drink or two is thrown in, nice but at what expense? Is it out of good will or tantamount to bribery?

Some associations tend to confuse it all with rubbing off bad publicity. Kgantele e nna, ao laitaka, o lebala o robetse ko Cresta Hotel ke go reketse biri? A guilty conscience then kicks in and stories are shelved. It is only a few that manage to look beyond the fancy trips and royal treatment and uphold journalism principles. Better you spoil journalists but without undue expectations, accept both the bad and the good coming your way.

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Abidal punches ticket to TS Galaxy

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[PHOTO:www.facebook.com/TownshipRollersFC]

Township Rollers’s defensive Midfielder Gape ‘Abidal’ Mohutsiwa has confirmed that he will be plying his trade at South African based TS Galaxy next season.

This follows rife speculation that Mohutsiwa’s deal with Galaxy might have somehow fallen off. The strong suspicions came about last week when the national first division side communicated the team’s new signings. Local based players of Mosha Gaolaolwe, Thero Setsile and Ezekiel Morake were mentioned in the list and Mohutsiwa’s name was suspiciously omitted. As if that was not enough, the team went on to show off pictures of the trio signing contracts with the team management but still no mention of Mohutsiwa.

Speaking to Sun Sport this week, Mohutsiwa explained that he had seen the communication but made nothing from it. “I am still going because even my work permit is ready, all is well and there is no need to panic,” he said.

The 22-year-old pointed out that TS Galaxy had informed that they will communicate dates to join them in South Africa. He is expecting their call anytime after completing the season this coming weekend.

“I also saw those pictures with the management and its is not like they signed the contracts last week. I suspect that they were just appreciating the performance made by my fellow colleagues Morake and Setsile during the COSAFA championships staged in Durban South Africa,” said Mohutsiwa.

The young Abidal as he is well known is convinced that the TS Galaxy management was just ‘boasting’ about the kind of talent they are bringing to their team. “I did not perform to the best of my ability during COSAFA championships but I cannot say they were neglecting me, I am actually fine with it,” he said.

Mohutsiwa added that as young as he is, he believes that he has a lot to offer and the intention is not to return home in a year or so. He has been signed for three years and the expectation is that he completes his term and perhaps find other lucrative deals out there.

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