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Orapa United beat GU to set up Top 8 date with Rollers

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Orapa United and Township Rollers will meet in the Mascom Top 8 final for the second time in three years after the Ostritches eased 4-1 past a hapless Gaborone United in the second semi final played this Saturday evening at the National Stadium.

Rollers on the other hand reached the final on the away goal rule advantage after they drew 1-1 with Jwaneng Galaxy on Friday night at the same venue. The two had drawn 2-2 in the first leg played in Lobatse, ending the contest with a 3-all draw that sees Rollers go through since they scored more goals away from home. Many had hoped for a dream Gaborone derby in the final of the seventh edition of the tournament but obviously Orapa United had other ideas. Fresh from a 1-0 first leg victory at home a week ago, Orapa only needed a draw to gain passage to the final, but they made sure of the progression by putting fout goals past GU’s goal minder Goitseone Semelamela.

When in the 31st minute Kabelo Seakanyeng converted a penalty for GU, there was hope for a tough contest, but Tendai Nyumasi’s equaliser 8 minutes later dampened the spirits of the Gaborone lads who to win had to then score two more goals with Orapa not responding. But it was never to be as Onkabetse Makgantai scored a second for the Ostritches in the 50th minute. GU were surely left with a mountain to climb and their body language after that goal told a story of a team that had given up on making a comeback. 

Things became even more easier for Daniel Nare’s charges as they utilised the wings with telling effect to punish GU, with Kobamelo Kebaikanye scoring a coffin-nailing brace in the 80th and 88th minute to win the match 4-1. GU coach Rudolf Zapata praised Orapa for playing a great game, saying the Ostritches deserved the win. Nare on the other side said he was surprised at the ease with which they beat GU, saying he had only expected a one-goal gap scoreline.

Orapa’s win means they are making it to the final for the third consecutive year having won it in 2015 against Rollers, then losing it in the 2016 final to Jwaneng Galaxy. Both sides, Rollers and Orapa, will be looking to win the cup for the second time. Gaborone United are the only side to have won the competition twice with Rollers having reached five finals. The final is set for later this month on February 24 at a venue to be confirmed – either the national stadium or the Francistown Sport Complex.

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Local boxers ready for regional tourney

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CONFIDENT: Newly unveiled LOC is confident that the regional tourney will be a success

Botswana Boxing Association (BoBA) this past Tuesday officially unveiled a Local Organising Committee (LOC) that has been tasked with preparing for the upcoming Zone 4 championships that are to be held in Botswana.

The team is headed by celebrated boxing legend France Mabiletsa and is expected to host more than seven countries that are expected to descend in Botswana in the next two weeks. Officiating at the event, Botswana National Sport Commission (BNSC) Vice Chairperson Tsoseletso Magang said that BoBA officials should refrain from interfering with the task given to the LOC. She noted that many sporting codes often give the LOC the responsibility of delivering an event only for the code members to bully themselves into the affairs of the LOC and disrupts the preparations.

Magang warned that there is little time left before the tournament, and with that, the LOC will need all the support to ensure they deliver a successful event. She noted that hosting the regional tournament gave Botswana an upper hand of fielding more athletes that will have an opportunity to qualify for the Africa Championships scheduled for later this year.

For his part, Mabiletsa noted that they have already hit the ground running and confident that the event will be a success. The competition will be hosted in Botho College and they are in talks with Ave Maria to accommodate athletes. “Life will be made much easier for athletes if they are accommodated at Ave Maria because it is closer to the competition venue,” he said.

He explained that the zone is made up of 12 countries of Lesotho, Angola, Malawi, South Africa and Zimbabwe among others. However as of this past Tuesday, only seven had confirmed participation and they expect to finalize the logistics by the end of the week.

Meanwhile, a formidable national boxing team of eight men captained by Mmusie Tswiiige (60kg) and three ladies led by Lethabo Modukanele (48kg) will represent the country at the regional tournament.

According to the Head coach Lechedzani ‘Master’ Luza, the team has been on camp for the past three weeks. In his opinion, the team is ready to compete. “Generally, they are not bad, we need to work on a few things such as power and speed on some boxers, the defence department is also not bad,” he said.

Luza noted that Botswana has always established herself as a powerhouse and there is no doubt that majority, if not all team Botswana members will win a medal during competition time. He explained that the competition was one of the many leading to Tokyo 2020 Olympics and will give local boxers an opportunity to qualify for the Olympics.

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Branch does it again

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Local motorcycle racing sensation Ross Branch has continued his stellar form after securing overall second position in the internationally renowned Merzouga Rally. The race came to a conclusion this past weekend and Branch has proven his mettle amongst some of the best rally motorcyclists in the world.

The podium finish is expected to take the Dakar Rally racer to even greater heights in the hugely competitive and expensive sport. It has been barely two months since the talented local rider emerged as a top class racer at the Dakar Rally where he finished 13 and walked away with the fastest rookie of the 10 000 km odyssey.

At Merzouga, things seemed a little better for the rider as the terrain offer sand and rock as opposed to the treacherous dunes in Dakar. Branch who was using a different navigation system in Morocco showed his pace after winning the fourth stage of the race last week Thursday.

Prior to his podium finish Branch said Merzouga was only his second rally and he was willing to learn from some of the top riders in the sport. The KTM 450cc rider said he was now setting his sights on other major races including the 2020 Dakar Rally that has been confirmed for Saudi Arabia.

Since returning from the Dakar, Ross has stayed busy and competed at the cross-country championship in Kwazulu Natal in South Africa, where he finished fourth. The local rider is expected to compete at the upcoming 1000 km Toyota Desert Race, an event he has won more than seven times.

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