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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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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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