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Constituency tournament snowed under in Thamaga



Thamaga-Kumakwane Constituency Tournaments are faced with challenges of lack of sporting facilities. Tournaments’ Committee Chairman Lele Pheto says they don’t have playing grounds in Thamaga although the number of their participating teams has increased. He says the most affected code is football.

“Most of the playing grounds belong to the ministry of local government and rural development. So they hardly lend us their football pitches, which often compels us to postpone our games. We once had an agreement with some of the teams under the  Botswana Football Association (BFA) to use their grounds but this couldn’t bear fruit as well,” he said.

Pheto, who was speaking during a meeting between Member of Parliament for Thamaga-Kumakwane Tshenolo Mabeo and Thamaga youth, says the initial agreement was that the committee would assist the BFA member teams grade their football pitches. They then reached an agreement with the department of roads for assistance but when the time came, the department declined to assist.

“In an as much as we try to improve this tournament, this is one of the setbacks that we find ourselves encountering. At one point teams were forced to discontinue some games as owners of the football pitch ordered us to vacate it since they wanted to use it.”

Another challenge is payment for teams that have won during the competitions. Pheto says the arrangement with Botswana Post has been suspended and now payments are being delayed. “We are struggling ever since the arrangement with Botswana Post was suspended. When we start a new cycle of competition we find that teams have not been paid for the previous cycle.

This has demotivated the youth in our area. We have not achieved much in our constituency because our youth are now not active as before. This is now rendering our efforts to help our youth futile.”

Youth Sub-District Officer in Thamaga-Mogoditshane District under the Ministry of Youth Sport and Culture, Kefentse Phoi admitted to being aware of the payment problem. He says their district office has problems with resources especially shortage of staff.

Phoi promised to follow up on the issue of payment. He applauded the Thamaga-Kumakwane Constituency Tournament Committee for always working hard to ensure that the tournaments succeed regardless of limited resources.

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Local boxers ready for regional tourney



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



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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