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Rollers dominate Top 8 nominiees

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BTC Premiership log leader Township Rollers are leading the pack with three nominations at the 2017/18 Mascom Top 8 awards scheduled for the Gaborone International Convention Center (GICC) this evening (Wednesday). The indomitable Mapalastina looks set to walk away with all the three awards that they are nominated for. Rollers captain Maano Ditshupo is expected to walk away with the Player of the Tournament award. Consistent performance and leadership qualities led his side to a historic Mascom Top 8 triumph at the Francistown Sports Complex last month.The box to box midfield was a revelation this season and his pursuant performance was enough to earn him a nomination and make him a favourite for the award.

Although Ditshupo richly deserves it there are two strong candidates competing for the award. The two include Kobamelo Kebaikanye(BDF XI) and Gilbert Baruti (Black Forest). The two have been outstanding in the tournament but they stand a fat chance of winning the award bring in the quality that Ditshupo showcased. On the other hand, Mapalastina coach Nikola Kavazovic is the favorite to walk away as the coach of the tournament, which will earn him an enviable trophy haul with a glittering season for the Serbian. However, Daniel Nare was a fundamental factor in Orapa United’s bumpy ride to the final. The local coach is the biggest threat to Kavazovic. Jwaneng Galaxy’s current assistant Coach Matshidiso Moseki is a dark horse in this race for best coach. Moseki bowed out in the semis after giving Rollers a run for their money.

However, he knocked out Mochudi Center Chiefs inspiring his side to a stellar comeback. In the goalkeeper’s category another Rollers player Keagile Kgosipula is favoured to win the award looking back at his sensational short stopping performance and the impressive saves that led Popa to the finals. Meanwhile, Ezekiel Morake (Jwaneng Galaxy) and Mosimanegape Robert (Orapa United) will be to blame for their downfall in this category after making huge errors that cost their teams the big prize. Morake gave away cheap goals against Rollers in the semis while Robert also gave away his award against the semi opponents this time at the final stage. Meanwhile Obonye Maome of Gaborone United has no competitors for the Golden Boot, the midfielder scored five goals in the tournament. In the officials category the Best Referee of the Tournament pits together Tirelo Mositwane, Joshua Bondo and Lekgotla Johannes while Best Assistant Referee of the Tournament will see, Ookeditse Keitseope, Botsalo Mosimanewatlala and Moemedi Monakwane battle it out.

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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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