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BCF to assemble national team

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Following a highly competitive Metropolitan Chess Championships held in Gaborone over the Easter Holidays, Botswana Chess Federation (BCF) is expected to assemble a formidable national team of ten players by the end of this month. The team is expected to represent the country at the Chess Olympiad scheduled for September 2018 in Batumi, Georgia. So far, only four athletes being International Master (IM) Providence Oatlhotse, Fide Master (FM) Phemelo Khetho, Women International Master (WIM) Onkemetse Francis and Kgaleleo Botlhole are certain of their places as the national team list is yet to be finalised. According to BCF spokesperson Kutlwano Tatolo, they will host another tournament to select the remaining best six players. She explained that they have to pick three best players on the ladies section and three more in the open section.

However, Kutlwano said it would not be an easy task given the level of seriousness portrayed by players on the board. She said majority of players appear thirsty to compete at the Olympiad and the weekend results are a testimony to this. “The tables have turned, Chess is no longer a one man show, even our former champions found it hard to defend their titles despite the level of determination and the splendid performance,” she said. Coming into the 2018 Olympiad, it is the sincere hope of the BCF that local players will manage to improve their rankings or better win a category medal despite the stiff competition ahead.

Back in 2016 at Baku Azerbaijan, WIM Boikhutso Mudongo Onkemetse Francis, WCM Thapelo Francis, Mbo Mabedi and Palesa Mooketsi represented the ladies team while the male team included the likes of Candidate Master (CM) Ndawana Mosenya, Moakofhi Nota, Keletshabile Monnaatsheko, CM Thuso Mosutha and Otsile Mapini. Francis is looking ready to make history at the event after maintaining an unbeaten streak before the last four rounds of her competition. New Zealand spoiled the party after beating her 3-1 in round eight. The Botswana women’s team was ranked 87th after the Olympiad, while Botswana men’s team debutants Mosutha and Mapini earned themselves Candidate Master titles. 

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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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