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Local boxers get international exposure

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 Three local boxers are expected to compete in the international Fox Sports Africa boxing in Mbabane, Swaziland this Friday. The international boxing bill follows a simillar event that was held in Gaborone last year December. Fox Sports,a global leader in premium sports broadcasting continues to pack a mean punch with its fifth edition of Africa Boxing which includes multiple events.

The boxing bill will be beamed to the European and American markets giving countries like Botswana much needed exposure in professional boxing. The Friday bill will see Africa’s finest up and coming boxers take to the ring at The Royal Swazi Spa, and will be broadcast across 22 countries in Africa, and distributed to more than two million Fox Sports subscribers across Africa. Through a statement Kyle de Klerk, Director of Commercial and Business, FOX Sports Africa said, “The Africa Boxing fight bill for the 23rd of February sees two South African champions defend their titles.

Ayanda Nkosi will be defending his WBA Pan African Lightweight Title over 12 rounds against Michael Odiambo (Kenya) while Rofhiwa Maemu will be defending his WBA Pan African Featherweight Title against Haidari Mchanjo (Tanzania). “With all the fights sanctioned by the WBA (World Boxing Association),  FOX Sports Africa is working closely with local boxing associations to broadcast exclusive high-quality production to its millions of local viewers. And we are excited to be taking boxing to our viewers all around the country and we have eight more boxing bonanza events planned for 2018”. Meanwhile, three local professional boxers from the D Scud boxing stable in Gaborone are expected to compete in Mbabane.

The three boxers include Kabelo Bagwasi (60kg), Kutlwano Ogaketse (58.6 kg) and Tshepang Babui (56kg). In an interview this week, D Scud headcoach Thuso ‘Scud missile’ Khubamang said preparation for the Friday event are going well. “We are currently in camp. We never took a break since the last event held in Gaborone. We are currently focusing on improving power on all the three boxers,” Khubamang said. A former professional boxer in his own right Khubamang said he is doing a lot of pad work and bags with all the boxers. “They need to have a spark of power in their punches. Ogaketse and Bagwasi will be competing in six round bouts against South African opponents while Babui will be competing in a four rounder (against SA).”

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Well-endowed Galaxy

Isaac Pheko

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FIRE POWER: Galaxy await Rollers

It is only the third week of the 2018/19 BTC Premiership and things are already heating up. Leading the charge is a marauding Jwaneng Galaxy who have already thrown a heavy-handed gauntlet at their rivals after recording a highly impressive 10 goals in just two games.

Galaxy’s intention has been made clear this season after leaving their first two opponents with bloody noses and tails tucked between their legs. The former Mascom Top 8 champions are in a relentless war path with the premier league title on their radar. This weekend, Galaxy host bitter rivals Township Rollers in Jwaneng in what is expected to be a football grudge match. Rollers have been a prickly thorn in Galaxy’s quest to claim the premiership silverware for the past two seasons.

This means the weekend fixture will be the most compelling of the new season. However, Galaxy seem to be packing more heat coming into the Saturday fixture having annihilated both Prisons XI (5-0) and Security Systems (5-0). Galaxy are currently occupying first position alongside second place Sharps Shooting Stars at six points apeice. The game against Popa this weekend will be a litmus test for Galaxy. If the Debswana backed side beats the reigning champions they will establish themselves as potential contenders for the 2018/19 title honours. On the flipside, a loss against Rollers will only mean the first two games were short of a bluff.

Pound for pound Mapalastina have the best squad in the domestic league but a new look Galaxy are well endowed in their own right. In an interview this week, Galaxy spokesperson Tankiso Morake said they played Rollers three times last season and all the games ended in a draw. “Remember we played Rollers in the Mascom Top 8 in Lobatse,” an up-beat Morake said. Morake further said they expected their new coach to receive his permits and start manning the bench when they play Rollers this weekend. “Our supporters have told us that they expected nothing less than league honours this season.” Morake attributes the positive result to a great pre-season.

“You will remember that there was a fake list in the media indicating that we have parted ways with most of our players. You can see that the likes of Ayanda Molefe and Isaac Paeye are still part of the team. There is a lot of competition in our team because we mostly have young players in the team including Lebogang Ditsile who played at Highlands Park in South Africa.” Furthermore, Morake conceded that Rollers are a strong team but argued that they will win the games from the technical bench. “You will remember that we started the last season back tracking but this time things are different.”

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Bridge team fails to impress

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The local team comprised of under 16, under 21 and under 26 categories. In an interview this week, BBF spokesperson Mbakiso Malilo did not mince his words when he described the team’s performance as terrible with all the three teams failing to qualify for the quarter finals.

“Making it to the quarter finals was our target following a good showing in the online championship by our junior team. I believe we can work on improving the playing standard for kids (under 16) as they still stand a chance to compete in the under 21 and under 26 categories for future championships,” he said.

However, Malilo explained that the local youth team gained a lot of experience as the played against more advanced rivals. Quizzed on challenges they faced with a predominantly youthful team, Malilo said: “the trip was too long and for most of the players this was their first experienced of travelling such a great distance. The jet lag ended up affecting the team’s performance as they showed signs of fatigue.” Malilo said their objective was to train young players and give them exposure to the game early on.

“We managed to network with bridge power houses like the Netherlands. Official from the European country expressed interest in training our kids through bridge clinics and enhancing the standard of play and bidding.” Malilo said they selected the junior team that travelled to China through local tournament that was held in Gaborone earlier this year. The tournament was attend by mostly tertiary school students and out of school youth in the junior and youngsters’ category. For the under 16 category we invited student from secondary schools.

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