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Fencing in anti-climax year finale

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The troubled Botswana Amateur Fencing Society (BAFS) held its national championships in Gaborone this past weekend. The championships marked the end of the tumultuous 2017 calendar for the fairly new sport code. BAFS has had its fair share of controversy this year with a divided committee that spilled over to affect affiliates.

Nevertheless, the last BAFS event of the year dished out some entertaining duels. One of the most entertaining matches featured the 2014 Africa youth games athletes being Aobakwe Modise and Thabile Pilane. The two athletes met in at BAFS senior women finals. The senior women epee category was an entertaining student vs. Master duel were Aobakwe Modise against her apprentice Thabile Pilane.

The student versus teacher clash saw Modise emerge as winner against Pilane who is also her teammate. Modise who is among the three local fencing masters locally proved to be a level above her opponent. “I still want to play as opposed to coaching. I want to be an Olympian,” said the ambitious Modise. Pilane lost the match 16-15, though she defeated her master 5-3 during the pool stage.

“We always give each other competition. I am hoping to do well in the future,” explained the 2014 Africa Youth Games quarter finalist. Pilane is positive that she will soon become a master by beating her mentor. Boikobo Nkwe got a gold medal without competing due to shortage of competitors. “I was playing against boys, I think I did very well though I lost all games,” said Nkwe.

The 20 year old Tlokweng based athlete expressed disappointment over winning gold after failing to get an opponent. Chape confirmed that Boikobo walked through to the finals because she did not have opponents on the day. Meanwhile BAFS technical director Stan Chape said the tournament went well even though attendance was poor on the day.

Moreover Chape explained that internal politics at BAFS affected their calendar of events negatively as BNSC suspended their activities at one point. “We were placed on hold by BNSC for some time due to unforeseen circumstances, this is our second tournament this year,” explained the BAFS TD. Chape is however hopeful that they will have another tournament before the end of the year.

BAFS has about seven affiliated clubs, mostly academies and schools. Fencing has four age categories, which includes the Benjamins aged between 7-9 years, the Cadets aged 9-14 years, the 15-19 category is known as juniors and the seniors from 20-39 years old. According to Chape, the BAFS plans to add a veteran’s category in the future which will include adults from 40 year plus.

Chape, Karabo Thobega and Modise are the only trained officials to umpire and coach fencing sport. The three were sent for training in Senegal a few years ago. BAFS rank athletes before considering them for national team. The tournament winner gains 8 points, silver medallist 6, position 3 and 4 gain 4 points apiece.

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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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