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AUSC-R 5 overshadows Bots Games

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The Minister of Youth Empowerment Sports and Culture Development Thapelo Olopeng this week said the 2017 Botswana Games will be a drill for the upcoming 2018 AUCSR 5 regional show piece. Olopeng was speaking during the launch of the 2017 Botswana Games in Gaborone on Tuesday this week. Addressing members of the media and sports affiliates, Olopeng said the Botswana Games are slated for December and will be part of the preparations for the 2018 African Union Sports Council Region 5 games (AUCSR) games slated for Gaborone.

The popular Botswana Games pitting different districts against one another will be a precusor to the regional games formerly known as Supreme Council for Sports in Africa (SCSA). Olopeng said the multisport showpiece will go a long way in preparing Botswana to host the regional spectacle, which is expected to attract all the SADC countries. Moreover, Olopeng emphasized the need to take sports seriously in the country, adding that there is a need for professionalism in the industry. “The time is now for us to professionalise sports, we cannot afford to be amateurs for the rest of our lives,”Olopeng said.

According to the Minister, the Olympic type of games deserve high mileage in advertising in order to attract the private sector. Olopeng said private companies have to be lured into partnership with government for such auspicious events in the sporting calendar. Olopeng reiterated the need to take sports seriously and develop careers out of the industry.“There are a lot of sports personalities who have used sport to turn their lives around. These athletes have used incentives and opportunities to launch sports careers both locally and internationally to improve their lives. It is important for upcoming athletes to follow suit,” he stressed.

Botswana Games,which have been growing steadily over the years are aimed at school going and out of school athletes. The games have over the years attracted young athletes from all corners of the country and pitted them against each other in fourteen sporting codes. Some of the popular athletes that have emerged from the Botswana Games includes the likes of Karabo Sibanda, Baboloki Thebe, Galefele Moroko and Boifang Kenaope.

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Netball regresses

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When successfully hosting of the 2017 Netball Youth World Cup (NYWC) this past year under the Tebogo Lebotse Sebego regime, Botswana netball team (Under 21) showcased a crème dela cream squad, boasting exceptional players such as Pearl Maribe, Sarona Hans, Florence Poane and Cheludo David, just to mention a few.

This left many people anticipating for a smooth transition to the senior team and continue with their impressive performances at elite stages. However, this has not been the case as the national team has been performing dismally, failing to book a spot at the 2018 Africa Netball World Cup back in August, which will be hosted in England, Liverpool next year.

Prior the 2018 Africa Netball World Cup qualifiers staged in Zambia, Botswana roped in a mentor from South Africa, Dorette Badenhorst who confidently said in an interview with Sun Sport before departing to Zambia with team, that the team was in good shape. The results, however did not show and the coach was gone.

In an interview with Sun Sport this week, Botswana Netball Association (BONA) Public Relations Officer (PRO) Theresa Hirchfeld explained why the international coach (Badenhorst) left immediately after the qualifiers, “We had no money to hire an international coach but we desperately needed one hence Spar came to our rescue to bring Dorette Badenhorst on board to help us specifically qualify for the 2019 Netball World Cup edition.

We had to part ways with her because we did not have funds to continue with her,” she explained. According to BONA PRO, the continued absence of the domestic league can be pointed as the main reason why the national team has not been performing well recently, “We do not have a league running at the moment, hence resorting to meeting only on weekends in preparation for important tournaments.

However, I think we did fairly well at the just ended Diamond Challenge tournament held in South Africa looking at the fact that we were not able to go with our full squad due to Police Department events that hindered the selection of players from the Police side,” said the BONA PRO.

The 2018 Diamond Challenge Netball tournament in South Africa, Limpopo was played by Botswana, South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Zambia and South Africa’s president XII. The local team did not fare well as they lost most of the games they played, but only managed to salvage one consolation win.

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Knockout Football tournament returns

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The thrills, spills and high stakes of knock out football have returned to the local scene following the announcement of the new Orange FA Cup.

The mobile telecommunication company announced a P12.6 million, three-year deal that will see over 30 teams competing for the first prize of P700 000.After years of FA cup drought since the much-loved Coca Cola cup, 48 teams from the BTC Premiership, Debswana National First Division (DNFD) and regions are expected to slug it out for honour and glory in the newly introduced tournament scheduled for 2019. Addressing members of the media and other football stakeholders in Gaborone this week, BFA President Maclean Letshwiti said sponsorship remains a challenge to local football and other sporting codes.

“I am excited that the regions will finally get a platform to have an event which they can look forward to, with the prospect of generating income,” Letshwiti said. “Sponsorship is key to football as this is how our industry can grow and change the lives of footballers. When we crafted this sponsorship, we wanted an arrangement that can assist regional teams.” Letshwiti said Orange Botswana is no stranger to football as the company has been in football before and they are currently proud sponsors of CAF.

“A platform like the FA Cup offers a great -opportunity for all our league and structure to be scouted and seen by national team coaches across the board. We also now get an opportunity to close the gap between our leagues and increase competition for participation or qualification into the cup.”

Speaking during the same occasion, the Orange Botswana Chief Executive Officer Dr Patrick Benon said the sponsorship will be approximately P4.2 million per football season for a total of three seasons.

“This initiative demonstrates Orange Botswana’s strategy to cultivate talent and support local sports development in line with previous sponsorships like the Kabelano Charity Cup, the Orange Phikwe National Marathon and also the official Zebras National team sponsorship ahead of the historic appearance at the AFCON finals in 2012,” he said. Through these sponsorships, Benon said they have realised the significance of sport activities beyond entertainment.

“It is also about uniting communities, strengthening relationships and supporting activities. The sponsorship by Orange will cover prize money, individual awards, team kits, tournament administration fees and travelling, to name a few.” The competitions will kick off with eight teams from both the DNFD north and south. The first round will also include 16 regional teams. The second round will include 16 winners from the first round and 16 BTC Premiership teams. The second round is expected to produce the last 16 teams who will proceed to the quarter finals.

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