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BTC premiership outfit Orapa United will be looking to pull an upset over archrivals Township Rollers when the two clash at the Molepolole Sports Complex this weekend. The Ostriches vs. Popa is fast becoming one of the most compelling fixtures in the domestic league. Moreover, Orapa are quickly building a reputation as Popa’s hoodoo team. An even more interesting fact is that Popa remain undefeated in seven games.

Thus far, Popa have had a good run of results under Coach Nikolas Kavazovic who has been successfully guiding the team to victories since taking over this season. Rollers have since accumulated a staggering 24 points out of eight games and keeping a clean track record with 100 percent winning streak. Nikolas Kavazovic has introduced his charges to new tactics and they have adapted to his formation without a sweat.

The 3-4-3 formation has been a revelation for Popa with Tshepho Matete and Motsholetsi Sikele taking fresh roles as full backs. With Mosha Gaolaolwe out on injury, the once forgotten Oscar Ncenga will be brought back to make up the three men backline alongside Simisani Mathumo and Tshepho Motlhabankwe, who will be complimented by the full backs will fortify the defence. Mapalastina are expected to field an impeccable midfield including Maano Ditshupo and Lemponye Tshireletso interchangeably leading the attacks and frequently helping in defence.

The trio of Edwin Moalosi, Segolame Boy and Mthokozisi Msomi leading the attacks in front of goal, a rather Sharp Moalosi will be preying on the defense. Meanwhile Orapa United caretaker coach Daniel Nare will have a mammoth task of trying to balance the unstable Ostriches. Orapa are currently stuck on position six with 11 points after eight fixtures. Nare has been doing well at previous club Miscellaneous after leading the club to a comfortable third position with 13 points. Nare will have to take up Madinda Ndlovu’s staggering formation for the time being while trying to get the team back on track after their fortunes declined under the leadership of the Zimbabwean mentor.

Thanking Mosige and Olekantse Mambo will be in the heart of the defense while Lesenya Ramoraka and Kealeboga Molebatsi will occupy the left back and right back respectively keeping a stable four men rigid defense. Kemmy Pilatwe and Tapiwa Nyamanjiva will be the pair in the midfield to take up the battle against Lemponye Tshireletso and Maano Ditshupo, although their pairing has been a headache.

Orapa supporters will expect that the reunion of Kemmy Pilatwe and Nare yield positive results for the Debswana mining company sponsored outfit. Lemogang Maswena and Gift Moyo will both be playing out wide challenging the likes Tshepho Matete and Motsholetsi Sikele. Explosive speed and hard tackling will be expected to grace the sides of the pitch. Nare will trust Omaatla Kebatho to test Keagile Kgosipula’s goalposts with Tendai Nyumasi coming from deep to support the lone striker.

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makwala iaaf issue ignored



President of Botswana Athletics Association (BAA) Mooketsi Thari this week revealed that International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) president Sebastian Coe is coming to Botswana for other matters surrounding BAA, not the infamous Isaac Makwala saga that occurred during the 2017 World Championships staged in London.

In fact, BAA has no intention to demand answers or even mention the Makwala issue to the IAAF president. A staunch Thari said the BAA will not even ask for any form of compensation following the Makwala debacle. Thari was addressing members of the press about the on-going preparations ahead of the IAAF president’s arrival in Gaborone this coming Saturday.

Makwala, the world famous local 400m sprinter and the men’s 2018 Commonwealth Games gold medalist was controversially barred by IAAF from running at the 2018 London World Championships over allegations that he might have contracted the contagious Noro Virus bug.

The nation watched with bleeding hearts as reports flooded across borders that Makwala was ruled out of the world 400m final. Makwala endured further heartache after being pulled out of the 200m heats and later went on a spotlight stealing a solo run in rainy weather.

After all the dust seemed to have settled over the mishap, that is when news surfaced that Coe would come to Botswana in 2018. The announcement compelled many to believe that Coe ‘s visit wouldshed light to Batswana an understanding of what exactly happened in London. However, Thari says for them, that is water under the bridge.

“Many think the IAAF president is coming for the Makwala issue, well, that is not the case, he had long promised that he will visit even before the London controversy,” Thari said. “That issue has been resolved and there is nothing more to it.

We dealt with the matter, even if we were to take it to court that would have happened at a later stage and Makwala would have missed his run,” he said.The BAA president went on to say that they did all they could and actually took pride in that they made history by ensuring that IAAF grants Makwala a special 200m qualification run.

The solo run saw Makwala beat the alleged stomach bug and qualified for the 200m final. Thari explained that instead, they need IAAF’s assistance to help develop athletics in Botswana. As one of the best performing codes in Botswana, Thari said it would come in handy if IAAF helps the local association with funding.

“We will show him a plot that we were long allocated but finding it hard to develop. We also need to reinforce grassroots development,” Thari said.

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GU welcomes Zapata at Rollers



It would have been an intriguing welcome back to Botswana for Rodolfo Zapata if he were to lead the BTC premiership defending Champions Townships Rollers during their week 10 match against Gaborone United this coming Saturday at the national stadium.

However, Zapata who arrived in Botswana this past Saturday can only watch from the stands, as he is yet to be confirmed as head coach by the Rollers management. Rollers recently confirmed that they are in negotiations with the former Gaborone United coach.The passionate Argentine tactician has already met with the Rollers technical side and the players this week.

As of this past Tuesday, Sun Sports learnt that Zapata is yet to put pen to paper. “We are almost done with our negotiations and still processing his work permits. Only the government processes will determine how long he stays out,” said Rollers spokesperson, Bafana Pheto in an interview.

Pheto revealed that Zapata met the team on Tuesday morning during their training session. However, Zapata, played his cards close to his chest and said he will only comment after he signs a contract with Rollers.“I do not have all the details right now and I hope the Rollers management is working on my permits also,” he said.

Nevertheless, it would still be an emotional game for Zapata when he watches a team he used to coach play against a team he is expected to soon lead.Zapata dumped Gaborone United for a Kenyan side AFC Leopards back in April this year. Zapata had signed a two -year deal with the Kenyan side until about four weeks ago when he decided to leave.

Rollers were quick to show interest on the high profiled coach when their coach, Nikola Kavazovic shockingly decided to abandon the formidable side of Mapalastina early this month.Meanwhile Sun Sports has learnt that there might still be a standoff between GU management and Zapata.

Zapata has told this publication that GU has not paid him his dues yet. Nevertheless, GU is reported to still be nursing an open wound following Zapata’s decision to abandon the then sinking Money Machine.

It is alleged that Zapata has a running contract with GU until 2019 and there were certain procedures he had to follow as per the contract, “We cannot comment anything on the Zapata issue because it may have some legal implications.

We will wait for a time to sit down with Zapata and resolve our pending issues because Zapata has not even contacted us yet,” said GU chairman, Boitumelo Nsunge.

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