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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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Zapata takes charge

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TAKING CHARGE: Zapata assumes his position

Township Rollers Head Coach Rodolfo Zapata was this past Tuesday in charge of the team’s training session, a first since he was appointed Rollers coach in November 2018.

Sun Sports has been reliably informed by sources that were present at the morning session that the Argentine coach was at the grounds and it was all clear that he is now the man in control of the team.

Zapata was made to jump through hoops before he could finally take over the reins at Rollers. First he had to battle with his former club, Gaborone United to cancel his active working permit with the team. The matter dragged for more than a month.

When GU finally gave in, Zapata’s qualifications as a coach were questioned. This came as shocking given that Zapata is GU’s former coach. Nevertheless, a source within Botswana Football Association (BFA) circles has told this paper that Zapata was cleared by CAF last week. As things stand Zapata will be expected on the bench this coming Friday when they play Notwane. If not, then his first job will be the Mascom Top 8 Semi-final against GU next week.

The Rollers management could not be reached yesterday as their phones rang unanswered and repeated efforts revealed that the team spokesperson, Bafana Pheto is currently across borders.
Meanwhile, Zapata’s arrival comes at a crucial time following Rollers ‘s embarrassing defeat to the hands of rivals Jwaneng Galaxy this past weekend. Galaxy cut short the endless winning streak of the defending championships to serve them their second loss since the beginning of the league with a score line of 3-1.

Of late , unconfirmed reports suggest that players had grown impatient with the caretaker coach, Thabo Motang. They differed and questioned his decisions on the pitch. Motang is now reported to have gone back to the department he knows best, goalkeeper coach.

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Moluba wants a replica of previous success

Tshepo Kehemile

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PLAY MAKER: Moalosi is a prolific goal scorer

Township Rollers influential midfielder, Edwin Moalosi confirmed his ambitions to help his team to repeat their run in the previous season to win both Botswana Telecommunication (BTC) Premiership league and the Mascom Top 8. Moluba as he is affectionately known said this after their 3-1 loss to Jwaneng Galaxy at the National Stadium this past Saturday.

Rollers 2018/19 BTC league campaign have been impressive thus far as they are still at the summit of the log despite their loss over the weekend. The Galaxy loss was their second, having lost to the other mining team, Orapa United. However, they have already reached the semi-finals of the Mascom Top 8.

Moalosi told Sun Sport that this season is not going to be a walk in the path, “It is not easy being the defending Champions as you become the team to beat, every team will try hard not to give you space to play or attack hence all the games we play become a mammoth task,” said Moalosi.

Moalosi further stated that being eliminated from the Confederations of African Football (CAF) Champions league early was a blessing in disguise, “We are now out of the CAF Champions league and we can now focus on doing well in the domestic league and cup tournament (Mascom Top 8).

In addition, we need to double our efforts as players so that we reach our ultimate goals,” he said.
Quizzed about his individual goals as a player despite picking so many injuries this season, he said, “Injuries are part of the game, it only depends on every player as to how you respond to it, I am always positive regardless of the circumstances I come across. I want to increase my goal tally and hopefully improve my assists as well,” explained.

However, Jwaneng Galaxy Captain, Olebogeng Malebye who scored a marvellous curler on the day said they are going to give Rollers a run for their money this season, “We are going to fight to death to try and leapfrog Rollers and eventually win the league as it has been our aim for a long time. And finally, we managed to beat them after a very long time trying with no success,” said Malebye.

Jwaneng Galaxy’s season is slowly improving as they are now second on the log, and Orapa United seems to be struggling a bit but the league is still open. Another round of BTC Premiership league matches is expected to continue this coming weekend with a couple of interesting fixtures to look out to including Township Rollers and Notwane FC on Friday at Molepolole and Security Systems and Mochudi Centre Chiefs on Saturday at the same venue, just to mention a few.

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