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Botswana in another doping scandal

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A pair of local rugby sevens national team players faces a four-year ban from sport after they failed a random doping test conducted last November at the African qualifiers’ tournament for this year’s Olympic Games held in South Africa.

The two players who turn out for two university clubs in Botswana were part of the 11-man squad that played against Tunisia, Morocco and Namibia in Pool C of the qualifiers played at Kempton Park Stadium until November 23. Information reaching Sun Sports is that the local organizing body of rugby was given until December 24 to have had its players respond to the findings of the test, but failed to comply with the requirement.

Had the players responded within the stipulated time, they would rather face a two-year ban. It is an added offence to fail to respond within the given time and there are claims that the local rugby body could not reach the players because official activities at rugby had already been halted for the festive period, and their office had already closed.

Responsive authorities have since declined to comment saying it was too early to say anything lest the case of the two be compromised. “We can’t share any detailed information for now to avoid the athletes and even the doping authorities being compromised,” a rugby official told Sun Sports.

Should the two players be found guilty, it will bring to four (4) the number of Botswana athletes to have tested positive in recent years after the Athletics’ duo of Amantle Montsho and Onalenna Baloyi were banned.

The Botswana rugby sevens team was made of Ketshedile Matenanga, Omphile Debula, Ernest Eddy, Lesedi Cherry, Alpheous Mokotedi, Kaelo Mogotsi, Jeremy Dobrowsky, Kagiso Molefhi, James Shamwaka, Emmanuel Ntshiwa, Koorapetse Lesotlho and Dent Patrick. They could not go past the group phase with only Kenya qualifying for the Olympics by emerging the eventual tournament champions.

For a long time, the Botswana National Olympic Committee (BNOC) has been putting measures in place to sensitise the local sporting fraternity about doping issues, but the latest scandal will call to question the extent to which local athletes take the ongoing doping education initiatives seriously.

BNOC CEO Tuelo Serufho was at pains this week when asked to comment on the rugby saga and their role in ensuring that such cases do not occur. “For now it will be difficult to comment in any great detail until the case has been concluded. Otherwise we risk prejudicing one or more of the parties involved in the case,” he told Sun Sports, adding: “As BNOC it will be difficult to tell how the case will conclude as due process is being followed. For now we can only encourage athletes, coaches and all other members of the entourages to acquaint themselves with issues of doping.”

Serufho expressed disappointment at the recurring doping scandals engulfing the country, saying by now they expect athletes and their immediate handlers to be wiser. “For starters, a list of banned substances is released on an annual basis, which the BNOC publishes on its website. Both the BNOC and the Africa Zone VI RADO deliver education programmes targeted at various groups including athletes, coaches and administrators. In 2015, a workshop was even held for medical practitioners,” he said.

The said players can still appeal the findings based on the first test, but they will then be subjected to a second B sample test which, should it also return positive, will see the players banned for a possible four years.

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Makwengwe promises fire and fury

Isaac Pheko

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ON A MISSION: Makwengwe

Gaborone United (GU)headcoach Philimon Makwengwe has sent a chilling message to his future opponents following a 0-1 loss to reigning BTC Premiership champions Township Rollers this past weekend.

A buoyant Makwengwe who is searching for at least two hungry strikers at GU declared that there will be nothing but misery in store for his future opponents. Following the closely contested Gaborone derby Makwengwe said:

“I have to improve in attack, I am not scoring goals, and I need to change my position on the log. I know the buzz was around the Gaborone Derby but that was never my concern. My team is currently in the red and I needed the points. I have to get out of the red and attacking my opponents is necessary”.

The unrelenting coach made it clear that Moyagoleele should not perform below their showing against Rollers last weekend. Makwengwe said the Money Machine will need to be “attack minded” in their next fixtures.

“What people should know is that Township Rollers have beaten me three times. They beat me twice back in 2012 during the Mascom Top 8. That was not the last time as they defeated me again at Prisons Airwick means this is now the fourth time.

The local tactician said losses to the Mma-Masire outfit should be a wake-up call for him. Nevertheless, Makwengwe said Rollers are the champions and one of the best teams not only in the country but the rest of the region.

“This is a team that gives a good brand of Botswana football. I am a champion myself, I am not a loser but I cannot beat Rollers alone.” Regarding the rest of the first round, Makwengwe said they will hit the ground running, I have no time to lament on negatives, I will not bemoan so many things.

My next opponents should stand in line and prepare to become victims.” The experienced coach said GU are a big brand and they should move away from where they are in the log standings. Losing 0-1 to a team like Rollers shows that we have to work on consistency.

The coach conceded the fact that he needs to make changes in his squad. I need about eight players including a fast winger on the left, I need a striker or two and these should be real strikers not people who play upfront.

Makwengwe said the current strikers at the team include a local who is a work in progress and a foreigner who is not giving enough to the team.“People want me to hide and I cannot, when you come into this country and you brush aside a local and even the labour law says you have to be better than them(locals), I bet in any profession.

If you want to play a striker for me, work harder.” The coach said he does not have an outright striker, which leaves a gap in the team. “A striker is somebody who pushes and is busy. If he doesn’t score himself, he has to use other players. It doesn’t matter if he is alone against four.”

Makwengwe said he needs two strikers to avoid changing the team too much. “In January, I am going into the market and I am going to buy. My next game is against Miscelleneous and they are coming down. I will have no mercy. Whoever comes I will have no mercy.”

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Old rivals faceoff

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BITTER RIVALS: Notwane Head coach Pio Paul

Notwane Football Club (Sechaba) and Mochudi Centre Chiefs (Magosi), are to battle it out in a potentially massive encounter as both clubs are coming from draws in their previous matches against Prisons IX and Black Forest respectively.

The clash is scheduled to take place at 4pm this Saturday at Molepolole Sports Complex.Sechaba, as Notwane is affectionately known were relegated back in 2015 while Magosi has been going through a financial crisis that hit the club recently.

Having played 9 games a piece, Notwane FC, currently on the 9th position in the BTC Premiership league log standings have won two, drew four and lost three games whereas Centre Chiefs who are occupying the 12th spot have won one, drew five and lost three games.

In a brief interview with Sun Sport this week, Notwane FC Public Relations Officer (PRO) Mogomotsi ‘Ace’ Orapeleng said, “We are going all out to win this fixture, taking nothing away from Centre Chiefs, we are not going to read much into what they have been going through lately hence our approach to the match will be of ‘great’ respect.

This past weekend we dropped a massive two points which could have made a difference against Prisons IX thus making us more desperate to collect three (3) points in this coming clash with Centre Chiefs,” he said.

Questioned about the anxiety brought by this particular contest he said: “Notwane FC and Mochudi Centre Chiefs are big brands of Botswana football, we are aware of the fact that the personnel have changed; new players, management and even sponsors but the ultimate truth is that these two have great following and most people are anxious to see how the events will turn out on the weekend,” said Orapeleng.

For his part, Mochudi Centre Chiefs Vice-Chairman, Clifford Mogomotsi confirmed their aim is to try and improve their position in the league log standings, “In every match we play, our approach is to always expand our position on the log, regardless of which team we play against. Notwane FC is a fantastic team but we are going to fight until the end to win the match,” said Mogomotsi.

Mogomotsi further pointed out that playing against Notwane FC has always been exulting, “Notwane FC has always given us entertaining football as we almost play a similar style of play,” said the Vice-Chairman.

On the possibility of losing points through the impending verdict after failure to honour their game against Miscellaneous a fortnight ago: “Our date with Botswana Premier League (BPL) Disciplinary Committee (DC) has been set, and we are awaiting that,” he explained.

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