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Nagging injuries haunt Thebe

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Botswana Athletics Association (BAA) national team coach Mogomotsi Otsetswe this week said sensational sprinter Babuluki Thebe will now concentrate in 400m races only. In a recent interview Otsetswe said as the 2018 Australia Commonwealth games fast approaches, Thebe has to stay focused in his main category. The young athlete will no longer be competing in 100m or 200m events for the remaining BAA track and field events. Thus far, Mogomotsi said he was impressed by the athlete performance since the beginning of the season.

Thebe just recovered from recurring injuries that have been threatening his running career and Otsetswe said they have to be cautious with him in training. Thebe’s performance this past weekend at the BAA super night track and field event held in Lobatse might have also contributed to the coach’s decision fearing unexpected injuries. In his 400m run at Lobatse, Thebe came in third after Karabo Sibanda and Onkabetse Nkobolo. The athlete appeared to have picked yet another injury in the last 200m of the race, he struggled to reach the finishing point. However, he managed to push himself and recorded 46.20s. Thebe’s teammate Karabo Sibanda who was competing for the first time this season managed to clock an impressive 45.58s that saw him claim first position.

“I do not know what could be wrong because I have not spoken to him yet, but I saw that he was struggling towards the finishing point. We have to be careful with Thebe and I have advised him that every time he feels that he cannot run any further, he should pull back because we still need him,” Otsetswe said. Thebe described his visible thigh pain as a minor muscle strain and nothing serious.

The athletes brushed off the injury, adding that he would be fine in a few days and ready for the next race. The African 400m champion said he has to put in more effort during training, “ I had an early warm up and our race was the last one of the eight heats. I believe that is what triggered this pain,” Thebe said. Quizzed on whether he will be going back to sprint races anytime soon, Thebe explained that he uses the short races to improve his speed but he has to follow his coach’s instructions. The ambitious Maun native said he is aiming to finish in the top three at the upcoming Commonwealth games.

Other elite athletes who performed wonders on the day are former world champion Amantle Montsho who easily won the 400m women clocking 51.78s. “For me this was like a test, its good to begin the season with 51s, I am really impressed. If I can qualify for the IAAF Diamond league this season I will be really happy.” Montsho said shortly after her race. Loungo Matlhaku also was an unstoppable force in the 100m women, defeating Christine Botlogetswe with a time of 11.56s while Botlogetswe came second with a time of 11.81s.

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makwala iaaf issue ignored

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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

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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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