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Curtain falls for Chikanda

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BY NEO MASANAKO The 2016 Botswana National Sports Commission (BNSC) sports man of the year Zibani Chikanda has decided to hang up his boxing gloves. Chikanda’s last bout was during the national championships held last year in Gaborone, He easily defeated his opponent 3-0 to retain his title as the under 75kg champion, a position he held for the past nine years. Chikanda’s journey in the boxing fraternity began almost a decade ago and now at the age of 33, Chikanda feels that his body has had enough.

According to the athlete, the time has come to let it all go and make way for fresh blood to take local amateur boxing forward. He is currently an assistant coach at his club, Eastern Military Garrison (EMG) and is waiting for the right time to make a permanent move into the coaching sphere.‘ I am not getting any younger, I now want to be to a coach, God willing I am also eyeing become a national team coach in future,’ Chikanda said in an interview recently. Nevertheless the hard- hitting Chikanda said he will miss competing in the ring mostly, especially when he battled rivals from Diamond Trading Company Botswana (DTCB) boxing club including Thabang Motsewabeng and Kagiso Bagwasi.

In addition, Chikanda mentioned the likes of Lentswe Zwinila of Glen Valley Club and Mmusi Tswiige of Prisons as some of the athletes who made his boxing days both exciting and memorable. He defined Motsewabeng as a best friend that helped him mature fast in the combat sport. However during matches time, they often turned into sworn enemies, “ He always gave me stiff competition in the ring and I will always cherish our moments together.”

Meanwhile Chikanda commands an illustrious international career having won gold at the Zone 4 competitions held in Pretoria in 2015, he also went on to grab silver at the African Championships held in Morocco. It was still in the year 2015 that he managed to qualify for the World Championships staged in Doha, he however exited in the preliminary stages. Looking back, Chikanda has no regrets but said he had wished to compete at the Olympics and the Commonwealth games before he retired.

Nevertheless he said he will find comfort in working tirelessly to assist upcoming boxers realize their dreams. His former coach Emmanuel Galeboe defined Chikanda as a boxer to reckon with, “I believed he was still an asset to the country however there is an end to everything, he needs to rest,” Galeboe said. Galeboe further said the athlete was highly disciplined and implemented all his instructions in the ring. The coach said it was only through perseverance and determination that Chikanda managed to remain a champion for nine years.

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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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