The most enticing game of the BTC Premiership this weekend is arguably between Kgatleng sleeping giants Mochudi Center Chiefs and 2016/17 reigning champions Township Rollers at the National stadium. In recent history, neither form nor the impressive roster from each side has decided the outcome of the match. This is the sort of fixture where the character of players will always lead to spectacular goals being scored and amazing acrobats in the goal line. The 12th man is also a big factor as tempers flare in the stands and errors being severely punished.
Thus far, Magosi have have had a torrid early part of the season while the sizzling Popa Popa have been in great form. However that doesn’t declare Popa as the winners of the match considering their the sizzling form. Magosi have always given Mapalastina a torrid time and this makes for entertaining football. Lately Rollers have seen their side form a more organized side under Serbian Coach Nikola Kavazovic, the side has a hard rock defense which has left attackers sweating and failing to get behind with Semisane Mathumo, Edwin Olerile, Mosha Gaolaolwe and Tshepho Mothabankwe who have all formed an unshakable defensive mechanism at the back.
Kavazovic has played a leading role early after taking up the job, with his onus of changing play during the game being fruitful as players respond positively and look more comfortable with the tasks. Kovazovic can switch from 4-5-1, 4-4-2 and 4-3-3 in the blink of an eye. The coach will have to be cautious on his approach this time and play his trusted 4-5-1 formation which will give him shape at the back, with this formation Kovazovic will use Tshepho Matete and Motsholetsi Sikele as the full backs, tasking them with attacking and defensive duties while the back line remains in place most of the time.Maano Ditshupo will be the guard in the center of the park while Lemponye Tshireletso will be unleashed to play a free role, with his creativity in the midfield expected to impact on the leading striker Mthokozisi Msomi in the absence of leading goal scorer Joel Mogorosi who is out on injury.
The last time Rollers lost a league game was last year November against a stubborn Magosi side at the same venue and the MmaMasire based side will not want to see their unbeaten run sail away from them in discarded fashion. On the other hand, Chiefs can send shock waves through the Rollers faithful as they go into the game without anything to lose, the Kgatleng based side has seen their performance decline over the past season and it doesn’t look different this season as their start to the season cannot be looked at with both eyes.
Innocent Morapedi’s troops will have to dig deep if they plan a shock upset over the star studded Mapalastina who have gone unbeaten for more than 20 games in the league now. Morapedi will obviously call to task his trusted and ancient 4-4-2 formation with four flat defenders, Thato Kebue, Charles Mutero, Gosegonna Molapise and Katlego Keobake, the four will be holding the high line for Magosi. Magosi will need a lot of energy and speed in the midfield with Captain Lesego Galenamothale missing out on suspension, Thato Ogopotse and Lawrence Majawa will fit in the center of the park and try to control the tempo of the game.
Magosi will put up pacey wingers in Lesego Lubinda and Thatayaone Ramatlapeng who will put to test the aging Township Rollers defenders, the set of wingers are expected to play in crosses a lot of the time targeting their lethal strikers Khumoitsile Kufigwa and Tendai Nyamadzao who will pose aerial threat to Popa. Newly appointed Magosi coach Kinnah Phiri will be watching his side from the stands as he continues to wait for his work permit, his presence can turn motivational to the current crop of demoralized Magosi players however.
Local boxers ready for regional tourney
Botswana Boxing Association (BoBA) this past Tuesday officially unveiled a Local Organising Committee (LOC) that has been tasked with preparing for the upcoming Zone 4 championships that are to be held in Botswana.
The team is headed by celebrated boxing legend France Mabiletsa and is expected to host more than seven countries that are expected to descend in Botswana in the next two weeks. Officiating at the event, Botswana National Sport Commission (BNSC) Vice Chairperson Tsoseletso Magang said that BoBA officials should refrain from interfering with the task given to the LOC. She noted that many sporting codes often give the LOC the responsibility of delivering an event only for the code members to bully themselves into the affairs of the LOC and disrupts the preparations.
Magang warned that there is little time left before the tournament, and with that, the LOC will need all the support to ensure they deliver a successful event. She noted that hosting the regional tournament gave Botswana an upper hand of fielding more athletes that will have an opportunity to qualify for the Africa Championships scheduled for later this year.
For his part, Mabiletsa noted that they have already hit the ground running and confident that the event will be a success. The competition will be hosted in Botho College and they are in talks with Ave Maria to accommodate athletes. “Life will be made much easier for athletes if they are accommodated at Ave Maria because it is closer to the competition venue,” he said.
He explained that the zone is made up of 12 countries of Lesotho, Angola, Malawi, South Africa and Zimbabwe among others. However as of this past Tuesday, only seven had confirmed participation and they expect to finalize the logistics by the end of the week.
Meanwhile, a formidable national boxing team of eight men captained by Mmusie Tswiiige (60kg) and three ladies led by Lethabo Modukanele (48kg) will represent the country at the regional tournament.
According to the Head coach Lechedzani ‘Master’ Luza, the team has been on camp for the past three weeks. In his opinion, the team is ready to compete. “Generally, they are not bad, we need to work on a few things such as power and speed on some boxers, the defence department is also not bad,” he said.
Luza noted that Botswana has always established herself as a powerhouse and there is no doubt that majority, if not all team Botswana members will win a medal during competition time. He explained that the competition was one of the many leading to Tokyo 2020 Olympics and will give local boxers an opportunity to qualify for the Olympics.
Branch does it again
Local motorcycle racing sensation Ross Branch has continued his stellar form after securing overall second position in the internationally renowned Merzouga Rally. The race came to a conclusion this past weekend and Branch has proven his mettle amongst some of the best rally motorcyclists in the world.
The podium finish is expected to take the Dakar Rally racer to even greater heights in the hugely competitive and expensive sport. It has been barely two months since the talented local rider emerged as a top class racer at the Dakar Rally where he finished 13 and walked away with the fastest rookie of the 10 000 km odyssey.
At Merzouga, things seemed a little better for the rider as the terrain offer sand and rock as opposed to the treacherous dunes in Dakar. Branch who was using a different navigation system in Morocco showed his pace after winning the fourth stage of the race last week Thursday.
Prior to his podium finish Branch said Merzouga was only his second rally and he was willing to learn from some of the top riders in the sport. The KTM 450cc rider said he was now setting his sights on other major races including the 2020 Dakar Rally that has been confirmed for Saudi Arabia.
Since returning from the Dakar, Ross has stayed busy and competed at the cross-country championship in Kwazulu Natal in South Africa, where he finished fourth. The local rider is expected to compete at the upcoming 1000 km Toyota Desert Race, an event he has won more than seven times.
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