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United show Oris and Drago the door, await a Dutchman

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Coach Dragojlo Stanojlovic still cannot believe what befell him over the past festive break. The ink had hardly dried on his two-year contract with Gaborone United, but the club ruthlessly fired him from his positions as Technical Director and stand-in coach.

His fate was actually sealed a few days before New Year’s Day but the killer blow on him was delivered this week. The nomadic Serbian,  formerly with Extension Gunners and Mochudi Centre Chiefs, was reportedly brought into the Reds’ fold by United’s director and financier Nicolas Zakhem a season ago to serve as Technical Director while buying  time as the club was preparing  to get rid of the then club mentor  Rahman Gumbo who was later fired. 

Later the Serbian assumed the reigns under unclear circumstances with club officials failing to come out in the open on who between him and their then new recruit  Oris Boyo Radipotsane was the coach. Boyo  had joined United  after being fired by premiership rookies  Galaxy FC for poor results. At one point many thought that Drago was just paving way for Boyo to take over the reins for the next season, but the latter was fired as well.

Many United supporters have taken to social media to criticize United’s management  for firing Drago, saying the man could have been retained to assist as part of the technical team. Despite one heavy 4-0 loss against an unprepared and disjointed Nico United, he was still seen as what the doctor had ordered for the struggling Money Machine, based on his hard work and passion for the game.

United have also been bundled out of the prestigious Mascom Top 8 cup they were defending after winning it last season. Since winning the inaugural beMobile Premier League championship, United have been an inconsistent side characterised by infighting, further renowned for chopping and changing coaches in a short space of time.

Many times the excuse is hinged upon the failure of coaches to win titles whereas the overriding factor is often the internal wrangling that always works against the club’s success on the field.

In their usual demeanor, the United management was over the weekend denying the sacking of their coaches, saying there was no substance in what he called ‘rumours.’ This past weekend, Chairman Rapula Okaila dismissed the sacking of their coaches as just talk without substance, but that was hours before they would officially sack the Serbian. Yet the club is due to  kick start their pan African campaign in the CAF Confederations Cup.

However, the same weekend, fresh reports were suggesting that United could be taken over by Dutchman Mart Nooij. The 61-year old has vast experience working with clubs and national teams on the African continent having first come to Africa in 2003 as Burkina Faso national under 23 team coach and led them to FIFA World Youth Championship.

Still in Africa four years later, he assumed the reins in Mozambique as national team coach where in his five year-stint he qualified them to the 2010 AFCON finals in Angola only for him to resign after failing to qualify the Mambas to the 2012 finals. 

Sources close to the events have hinted to Sun Sports that Nooij will come along with an unnamed Serbian physical trainer who is currently based in Zambia. United have since parted ways with Radipotsane as well and a surprised Drago says he will stay on in the country with the hope of finding another team.

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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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