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Galaxy, Costa in CAF scuffle

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Mascom Top 8 reigning champions Jwaneng Galaxy will face Mozambique giants Costa Do Sol in a CAF Confederations Cup preliminary stage second leg match this evening (Wednesday) at the national stadium. The Jwaneng based outfits are aiming to reverse a 1-0 loss they suffered at the hands of Do Sol in Maputo a fortnight ago.

The home ground advantage will give Galaxy a new lease of life. Galaxy need at least 2-0 score line to advance in the CAF competition. Speaking during a press conference in Gaborone this week, Galaxy head coach Zlatko Krmpotic said his team lost the first encounter due to the psychological strain. “We did have an idea of what kind of team we were going to play against in Maputo, it was going to be difficult but we have learnt our lesson.

We are now familiar with the kind of team visiting us and we can turn the game in our favour,” he told reporters at Lekidi yesterday. In addition, Krmpotic said they would play with a single high pressing midfielder and unleash counter attacks most of the time as they need to attack the opponents before they settle down and play their usual game. “We will attack with cautiousness and restrain, we know they are a dangerous side and we need to respect them and not go all out, we need to focus and be at our usual best to beat this side because they are a good side.”

For his part, Galaxy captain Boitumelo Mafoko believes his leadership and the experience in the team will play an enormous role in the game. “We are experienced, we have almost nine players who have played in the national team and four who are still playing so this kind of games don’t faze us, we have the confidence to play big games.” On the flip side, Costa Do Sol headcoach Rvi Evura said they have respect for Galaxy but they came to win the game.

“We respect Galaxy they play beautiful football, you can see the processing of their play and their intentions but we also play good football and we can win this game.” Evura said they will miss a few key players, however they always focus on playing as a team.” We play as a team and we focus a lot on team play not individuals.” The game will be played tonight at the national stadium at 7 pm, tickets for the game are sold at Galaxy Stores and will be available as of today at all Sports Shops in Main Mall.

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Local boxers ready for regional tourney

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CONFIDENT: Newly unveiled LOC is confident that the regional tourney will be a success

Botswana Boxing Association (BoBA) this past Tuesday officially unveiled a Local Organising Committee (LOC) that has been tasked with preparing for the upcoming Zone 4 championships that are to be held in Botswana.

The team is headed by celebrated boxing legend France Mabiletsa and is expected to host more than seven countries that are expected to descend in Botswana in the next two weeks. Officiating at the event, Botswana National Sport Commission (BNSC) Vice Chairperson Tsoseletso Magang said that BoBA officials should refrain from interfering with the task given to the LOC. She noted that many sporting codes often give the LOC the responsibility of delivering an event only for the code members to bully themselves into the affairs of the LOC and disrupts the preparations.

Magang warned that there is little time left before the tournament, and with that, the LOC will need all the support to ensure they deliver a successful event. She noted that hosting the regional tournament gave Botswana an upper hand of fielding more athletes that will have an opportunity to qualify for the Africa Championships scheduled for later this year.

For his part, Mabiletsa noted that they have already hit the ground running and confident that the event will be a success. The competition will be hosted in Botho College and they are in talks with Ave Maria to accommodate athletes. “Life will be made much easier for athletes if they are accommodated at Ave Maria because it is closer to the competition venue,” he said.

He explained that the zone is made up of 12 countries of Lesotho, Angola, Malawi, South Africa and Zimbabwe among others. However as of this past Tuesday, only seven had confirmed participation and they expect to finalize the logistics by the end of the week.

Meanwhile, a formidable national boxing team of eight men captained by Mmusie Tswiiige (60kg) and three ladies led by Lethabo Modukanele (48kg) will represent the country at the regional tournament.

According to the Head coach Lechedzani ‘Master’ Luza, the team has been on camp for the past three weeks. In his opinion, the team is ready to compete. “Generally, they are not bad, we need to work on a few things such as power and speed on some boxers, the defence department is also not bad,” he said.

Luza noted that Botswana has always established herself as a powerhouse and there is no doubt that majority, if not all team Botswana members will win a medal during competition time. He explained that the competition was one of the many leading to Tokyo 2020 Olympics and will give local boxers an opportunity to qualify for the Olympics.

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Branch does it again

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Local motorcycle racing sensation Ross Branch has continued his stellar form after securing overall second position in the internationally renowned Merzouga Rally. The race came to a conclusion this past weekend and Branch has proven his mettle amongst some of the best rally motorcyclists in the world.

The podium finish is expected to take the Dakar Rally racer to even greater heights in the hugely competitive and expensive sport. It has been barely two months since the talented local rider emerged as a top class racer at the Dakar Rally where he finished 13 and walked away with the fastest rookie of the 10 000 km odyssey.

At Merzouga, things seemed a little better for the rider as the terrain offer sand and rock as opposed to the treacherous dunes in Dakar. Branch who was using a different navigation system in Morocco showed his pace after winning the fourth stage of the race last week Thursday.

Prior to his podium finish Branch said Merzouga was only his second rally and he was willing to learn from some of the top riders in the sport. The KTM 450cc rider said he was now setting his sights on other major races including the 2020 Dakar Rally that has been confirmed for Saudi Arabia.

Since returning from the Dakar, Ross has stayed busy and competed at the cross-country championship in Kwazulu Natal in South Africa, where he finished fourth. The local rider is expected to compete at the upcoming 1000 km Toyota Desert Race, an event he has won more than seven times.

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