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Magosi seek shock upset

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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.

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Gaborone United Football Club has finally handed Township Rollers the release letter of its (Rollers) Head coach, Rodolfo Zapata, Sun Sports can confirm.

Since Zapata’s appointment as Rollers head coach last month, he is yet to sit on the bench. GU has been holding tight to Zapata’s work permits that he dumped early this year for a job in Kenya. He then resurfaced last month as Rollers coach but things have been stagnant with Zapata not able to coach as he had an active work permit that needed to be cancelled.

This week, both GU Chairman Boitumelo Nsunge and Zapata confirmed that there has been an exchange of the letter. “Yes we have given him the release letter and agreed to cancel his work permit with GU,” Nsunge said.

The GU chairman however noted that they are still to discuss the alleged debt saying they have asked Zapata to furnish them with prove that indeed they owe him money over P300 000. The news will see Rollers management breath a sigh of relief as they have been trying for several weeks now, to work on the GU Zapata saga.

This publication has been reliably informed that the president of Rollers, Jagdish Shah was running out of ideas and was bound to make a decision regarding the matter some time last week. Actually speculations have been rife that Zapata would soon be replaced before he even starts official work at Rollers.

However as it stands now, anytime is teatime. Rollers is eagerly waiting on the Department of Immigration to process Zapata’s work permit with Rollers. It is not clear if the work permit will be available latest today, which will see Zapata on the bench tonight when they play Notwane Football Club, or the Argentine will have to wait for the year 2019 to start his duties.

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Olopeng’s last answer as sports minister

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Before vacating his office at the Ministry of Youth Empowerment, Sports and Culture Development, Minister Thapelo Olopeng was confronted with one last controversial question from MP for Francistown Buti Billy last week.

The MP asked about an update on the commercialisation of sport. The issue has been a hot potato since the Botswana National Sports Commission Act was amended in order to professionalise local sports. However, the process has proven to be an uphill battle. The following is an excerpt from the Parliament Hansard in which the former sports minister responded to the question.
Buti Billy (Francistown East): Asked the Minister of Youth Empowerment, Sport and Culture Development to update this Honourable House on how he is commercialising sport and if there is any strategy in place to carry out that mandate.

Thapelo Olopeng: Thank you very much Mr Speaker. The transition from Botswana National Sport Council (BNSC) to the Commission in 2014 was the first step towards professionalisation of sport in terms of setting up structures. Sport is at different levels of commercialisation in the different sport codes depending on the level of professionalism. We have a number of teams or codes which are already at semi-professional.

In football, several clubs have their players contracted and remunerated as per signed contracts. Sport also sells broadcast rights to generate revenue. Merchandising is another way that sport has commercialised. There has been establishment of local companies that manufacture sport apparel, and these have grown in popularity over the years. We have also witnessed sport such as Boxing, Athletics, and Golf, to name but a few. We witnessed them professionalise their operations and more are expected to follow. In some of the sport codes, individual sportsmen and women play professional sport internationally.

Mr Speaker, the Botswana National Sport Commission Strategy 2028, which commenced in January 2013, is an overarching strategy towards professionalising of sport, and thus commercialisation. The strategy seeks to promote sport excellence and enhance the contribution of sport to the economy. Billy: Supplementary. Ke a leboga Tona. Fa re lebeletse sports in general; all sports codes, a Minister o itumelela gore he had created employment jaaka a bua gore other sports codes di setse di simolotse go dirwa commercial? (Looking at all sport codes in general, is the Minister of sports happy he has created employment as he says with other sport codes becoming commercial)?

Olopeng: Thank you very much Mr Speaker. Thank you very much Honourable Member. Mr Speaker, my answer to that is yes, because just as at Premier League in soccer, we have 16 teams and every player within these 16 teams is on a payroll; they are paid by those individual clubs, that is creation of employment. We have our international athletes, those who participate outside the country at different events; they are paid.

We have other players, our athletes in football, netball and those who are hired by teams outside Botswana, I can just give example of teams in South Africa which have hired our players right here from Botswana and those young boys are paid by these particular teams. We have not reached where we want to reach, that is the reason why we are still developing our strategy of 2028 with Botswana National Sports Commission (BNSC) to make sure that we turn sports into an industry.

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