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BONA engages Malawian coach

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Botswana Netball Association (BONA) has roped in seasoned Malawian coach Griffin Saenda in a bid to turn the national team into world-beaters. Saenda comes with an illustrious resume after he previously led the Malawian netball team to world championships on more than one occasion. The Southern African nation continues to maintain a top twenty-world ranking. Saenda has already hit the ground running having held senior national team selections this past weekend in Gaborone. BONA netball courts were turned into a stomping ground as national team aspirants competed for positions in anticipation of World championships scheduled for August later this year in the United Kingdom.

In an interview this week, BONA president Malebo Raditladi said have engaged someone with valuable experience in the sport as the netball level of play in the country continues to grow over the years. “The management agreed on sourcing someone who has worked with high level athletes because choosing athletes for national team engagements requires skill and experience hence only the highly knowledgeable coach was required for the job,” Raditladi said.

Moreover, Raditladi said the turn out for the two-day trails was satisfactory adding that most parts of the country were represented. “We have not been able to host our league in the past year. The league assisted in assessing potential national team players, so we had to come up with an alternative, which was to bring a pool of players under one setting and select a team from them.” In an interview with Sun Sports, Saenda said local ladies have the talent to compete with other high level netballers from across Africa.

“The opportunity to work with Botswana players was wonderful. The players are open to advice and that made everything easy for us,” Saenda said. Nevertheless, Saenda said there were a number of concerns regarding the players such as low levels of fitness. The coach said local player lack in agility, which is one major requirement in netball. “Botswana players need further training before August because other Associations are certainly working harder day in and day out to attain results for the games,” he warned.

For her part, BONA Vice technical advisor Lorato Thebekgosi said the exercise was transparent and fair. All the candidates were awarded the same opportunity to showcase their skills. “We are faced with a daunting task of producing results and maintaining good reputation for the association after hosting a successful Netball Youth World Cup. According to Thebekgosi successful candidates will be notified as early as possible and training calendar will be communicated to them in time.

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Zapata takes charge

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TAKING CHARGE: Zapata assumes his position

Township Rollers Head Coach Rodolfo Zapata was this past Tuesday in charge of the team’s training session, a first since he was appointed Rollers coach in November 2018.

Sun Sports has been reliably informed by sources that were present at the morning session that the Argentine coach was at the grounds and it was all clear that he is now the man in control of the team.

Zapata was made to jump through hoops before he could finally take over the reins at Rollers. First he had to battle with his former club, Gaborone United to cancel his active working permit with the team. The matter dragged for more than a month.

When GU finally gave in, Zapata’s qualifications as a coach were questioned. This came as shocking given that Zapata is GU’s former coach. Nevertheless, a source within Botswana Football Association (BFA) circles has told this paper that Zapata was cleared by CAF last week. As things stand Zapata will be expected on the bench this coming Friday when they play Notwane. If not, then his first job will be the Mascom Top 8 Semi-final against GU next week.

The Rollers management could not be reached yesterday as their phones rang unanswered and repeated efforts revealed that the team spokesperson, Bafana Pheto is currently across borders.
Meanwhile, Zapata’s arrival comes at a crucial time following Rollers ‘s embarrassing defeat to the hands of rivals Jwaneng Galaxy this past weekend. Galaxy cut short the endless winning streak of the defending championships to serve them their second loss since the beginning of the league with a score line of 3-1.

Of late , unconfirmed reports suggest that players had grown impatient with the caretaker coach, Thabo Motang. They differed and questioned his decisions on the pitch. Motang is now reported to have gone back to the department he knows best, goalkeeper coach.

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Moluba wants a replica of previous success

Tshepo Kehemile

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PLAY MAKER: Moalosi is a prolific goal scorer

Township Rollers influential midfielder, Edwin Moalosi confirmed his ambitions to help his team to repeat their run in the previous season to win both Botswana Telecommunication (BTC) Premiership league and the Mascom Top 8. Moluba as he is affectionately known said this after their 3-1 loss to Jwaneng Galaxy at the National Stadium this past Saturday.

Rollers 2018/19 BTC league campaign have been impressive thus far as they are still at the summit of the log despite their loss over the weekend. The Galaxy loss was their second, having lost to the other mining team, Orapa United. However, they have already reached the semi-finals of the Mascom Top 8.

Moalosi told Sun Sport that this season is not going to be a walk in the path, “It is not easy being the defending Champions as you become the team to beat, every team will try hard not to give you space to play or attack hence all the games we play become a mammoth task,” said Moalosi.

Moalosi further stated that being eliminated from the Confederations of African Football (CAF) Champions league early was a blessing in disguise, “We are now out of the CAF Champions league and we can now focus on doing well in the domestic league and cup tournament (Mascom Top 8).

In addition, we need to double our efforts as players so that we reach our ultimate goals,” he said.
Quizzed about his individual goals as a player despite picking so many injuries this season, he said, “Injuries are part of the game, it only depends on every player as to how you respond to it, I am always positive regardless of the circumstances I come across. I want to increase my goal tally and hopefully improve my assists as well,” explained.

However, Jwaneng Galaxy Captain, Olebogeng Malebye who scored a marvellous curler on the day said they are going to give Rollers a run for their money this season, “We are going to fight to death to try and leapfrog Rollers and eventually win the league as it has been our aim for a long time. And finally, we managed to beat them after a very long time trying with no success,” said Malebye.

Jwaneng Galaxy’s season is slowly improving as they are now second on the log, and Orapa United seems to be struggling a bit but the league is still open. Another round of BTC Premiership league matches is expected to continue this coming weekend with a couple of interesting fixtures to look out to including Township Rollers and Notwane FC on Friday at Molepolole and Security Systems and Mochudi Centre Chiefs on Saturday at the same venue, just to mention a few.

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