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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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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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