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Volleyball women prepare for Rio



Botswana women’s volleyball team has been in training camp over the past week as it prepares for a grueling African Olympic Qualifier tournament to be played in Cameroon next month. A squad of about 18 players from four different league teams was assembled for the training routine that takes place every morning and evening at the Botswana National Youth Council (BNYC) Hall.

As usual from over the past decades, top clubs Kutlwano and Mafolofolo with five players each dominate the number of call-ups with Kalavango and Dynamites each contributing three players. Tracy Chaba who has been playing for Abu Dhabi’s Al Wadha Volleyball Club also adds to the team that will eventually be trimmed to 12 players.

Botswana Volleyball Federation’s (BVF) Sports Development Officer Peaceful Seleka – who recently released the list of players called to camp – told Sun Sports this week that there could be changes in personnel as doubts still linger on the availability of some players for varied reasons.

Seleka himself has been working with the team on the interim as the BVF awaits the release of appointed coaches who are yet to report for camp. The team’s head coach Manuel Torres is expected to arrive this week from Cuba while it is not clear when his assistants Kabo Ntshinogang and Gareanna Makgetha will be available as they still have to be released by their respective employers.

The Olympic qualifiers’ tournament for Africa is set to begin on February 15 and will run until February 19 in Cameroon’s capital of Yaounde where the ultimate winner will gain automatic qualification for the Rio showpiece. Teams finishing in second and third places will have another chance to proceed to Brazil  through participation at a second World Qualification Tournament that will include countries from all participating continents.

Each continent will have a single automatic qualifier from winning their respective continental qualifier tournaments, with the five continental winners joining hosts Brazil as well as China who qualify by virtue of being 2015 FIVB Women’s World Cup winners. Another team that has already qualified is Serbia who gained the automatic slot after emerging runners up at last year’s Women’s World Cup in Japan.

Continental qualifiers for Europe, North America and South America were decided at their tournaments that concluded over the past weekend – with Russia, USA and Argentina emerging winners for the said continents respectively. In all, a total of 12 teams will compete at the Rio games and only six slots are yet to be filled.

Only Asia and Africa are yet to decide their automatic qualifying countries. The remaining four places will then be fought for by runners up and third-place finishers from the continents at the World Olympic Qualification Tournament set for the period between May 14 and June 5.

At the Cameroon tournament, Botswana will find other sixteen nations lying in wait, among them traditional powerhouses Tunisia, Kenya, Egypt, Algeria and the hosts. Other nations include Nigeria, Ghana, Cape Verde, Uganda, Mozambique, Gabon and Burkina Faso.

The last two automatic qualification spots for Beijing 2008 and London 2012 Olympics were snatched by Algeria. It thus remains to be seen how the Botswana women will negotiate their way past these giants of African volleyball after years of playing second fiddle. But the local team’s captain Tebogo Sejewe has expressed confidence in her team’s readiness, saying most in the camp are experienced players who finished in the top four at the All Africa Games last year.

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Makwengwe promises fire and fury

Isaac Pheko



ON A MISSION: Makwengwe

Gaborone United (GU)headcoach Philimon Makwengwe has sent a chilling message to his future opponents following a 0-1 loss to reigning BTC Premiership champions Township Rollers this past weekend.

A buoyant Makwengwe who is searching for at least two hungry strikers at GU declared that there will be nothing but misery in store for his future opponents. Following the closely contested Gaborone derby Makwengwe said:

“I have to improve in attack, I am not scoring goals, and I need to change my position on the log. I know the buzz was around the Gaborone Derby but that was never my concern. My team is currently in the red and I needed the points. I have to get out of the red and attacking my opponents is necessary”.

The unrelenting coach made it clear that Moyagoleele should not perform below their showing against Rollers last weekend. Makwengwe said the Money Machine will need to be “attack minded” in their next fixtures.

“What people should know is that Township Rollers have beaten me three times. They beat me twice back in 2012 during the Mascom Top 8. That was not the last time as they defeated me again at Prisons Airwick means this is now the fourth time.

The local tactician said losses to the Mma-Masire outfit should be a wake-up call for him. Nevertheless, Makwengwe said Rollers are the champions and one of the best teams not only in the country but the rest of the region.

“This is a team that gives a good brand of Botswana football. I am a champion myself, I am not a loser but I cannot beat Rollers alone.” Regarding the rest of the first round, Makwengwe said they will hit the ground running, I have no time to lament on negatives, I will not bemoan so many things.

My next opponents should stand in line and prepare to become victims.” The experienced coach said GU are a big brand and they should move away from where they are in the log standings. Losing 0-1 to a team like Rollers shows that we have to work on consistency.

The coach conceded the fact that he needs to make changes in his squad. I need about eight players including a fast winger on the left, I need a striker or two and these should be real strikers not people who play upfront.

Makwengwe said the current strikers at the team include a local who is a work in progress and a foreigner who is not giving enough to the team.“People want me to hide and I cannot, when you come into this country and you brush aside a local and even the labour law says you have to be better than them(locals), I bet in any profession.

If you want to play a striker for me, work harder.” The coach said he does not have an outright striker, which leaves a gap in the team. “A striker is somebody who pushes and is busy. If he doesn’t score himself, he has to use other players. It doesn’t matter if he is alone against four.”

Makwengwe said he needs two strikers to avoid changing the team too much. “In January, I am going into the market and I am going to buy. My next game is against Miscelleneous and they are coming down. I will have no mercy. Whoever comes I will have no mercy.”

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Old rivals faceoff



BITTER RIVALS: Notwane Head coach Pio Paul

Notwane Football Club (Sechaba) and Mochudi Centre Chiefs (Magosi), are to battle it out in a potentially massive encounter as both clubs are coming from draws in their previous matches against Prisons IX and Black Forest respectively.

The clash is scheduled to take place at 4pm this Saturday at Molepolole Sports Complex.Sechaba, as Notwane is affectionately known were relegated back in 2015 while Magosi has been going through a financial crisis that hit the club recently.

Having played 9 games a piece, Notwane FC, currently on the 9th position in the BTC Premiership league log standings have won two, drew four and lost three games whereas Centre Chiefs who are occupying the 12th spot have won one, drew five and lost three games.

In a brief interview with Sun Sport this week, Notwane FC Public Relations Officer (PRO) Mogomotsi ‘Ace’ Orapeleng said, “We are going all out to win this fixture, taking nothing away from Centre Chiefs, we are not going to read much into what they have been going through lately hence our approach to the match will be of ‘great’ respect.

This past weekend we dropped a massive two points which could have made a difference against Prisons IX thus making us more desperate to collect three (3) points in this coming clash with Centre Chiefs,” he said.

Questioned about the anxiety brought by this particular contest he said: “Notwane FC and Mochudi Centre Chiefs are big brands of Botswana football, we are aware of the fact that the personnel have changed; new players, management and even sponsors but the ultimate truth is that these two have great following and most people are anxious to see how the events will turn out on the weekend,” said Orapeleng.

For his part, Mochudi Centre Chiefs Vice-Chairman, Clifford Mogomotsi confirmed their aim is to try and improve their position in the league log standings, “In every match we play, our approach is to always expand our position on the log, regardless of which team we play against. Notwane FC is a fantastic team but we are going to fight until the end to win the match,” said Mogomotsi.

Mogomotsi further pointed out that playing against Notwane FC has always been exulting, “Notwane FC has always given us entertaining football as we almost play a similar style of play,” said the Vice-Chairman.

On the possibility of losing points through the impending verdict after failure to honour their game against Miscellaneous a fortnight ago: “Our date with Botswana Premier League (BPL) Disciplinary Committee (DC) has been set, and we are awaiting that,” he explained.

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