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Toronto ready for BPL campaign

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One of the most popular football fan in the country Tlhabano ‘Madrid’ Gala is adamant that his beloved Notwane FC are going to competitive when they arrive in the BTC Premiership next season.

Toronto gained automatic promotion to the Premier league after beating Mochudi Rovers 3-0 in a Debswana First Division (DFS) game held in Mochudi this past weekend. Both charismatic and not afraid to speak his mind, Madrid said Toronto will not be mere participants in the Premier League. “Everyone is expected to do their job, from players to supporters and management. I urge Notwane supporters to come in numbers. Motivation is the key to everything,” he said. The elated fan who oozes both passion and undying love for the Gaborone club said supporters will ensure that they resemble hosts every game they play in the Premier’s League.

By this, I mean that supporters will be coming in huge numbers to back the team in every game. Notwane relegated to the dusty grounds of the DFD league after being choked out of the Premier League in unspectacular fashion over three years ago. Toronto’s well documented fall from the Premier League was characterised by supporter apathy and a drastic decline in performance. It was during their uninspired run in the Premier league when Toronto were duped by bogus investor Gift Mogami who virtually orchestrated their ultimate fall to the lower leagues. However, Notwane took their DFD league by storm and some of their supporters started crawling out of the woodwork as the team embarked in a rebuilding process away from the pressures of the Premier League.

The arrival of former Botswana Football Association (BFA) president, Tebogo Sebego saw the Gaborone outfit uniting like never before and ultimately dominated the DFD south league. Staunch supporter Madrid, who is named after Spanish giants Real Madrid was quick to acknowledge Sebego’s contribution to both the team’s success and promotion to the Premier League. Macat, as Notwane are affectionately known launched a stellar campaign that saw them going on an undefeated streak in the first round of the league. For his part, Notwane headcoach Kakale Mabechu said their job has finally being completed. Mabechu said they achieved their goal after beating their title rivals Prison XI. “The campaign was difficult, teams were tough and knew what they wanted. We need to go and beef up the squad in preparation for the premier league.

We aim to keep 98 percent of our players as most of they are still on the young side,” he said. In a post-match interview veteran defender Mpoeleng “Stopper” Mpoeleng said Notwane is the club that introduced him to the premier league. My heart has always been with Notwane even though I have played for other teams. Mpoeleng said he has even kept old team regalia that was used by the team during their earlier campaign. The player said he has no intention of retired even at the advanced age of 38. “I will stop playing around age 42 if when my legs will not be able to carry me.” Mpoeleng attribute his longevity to healthy life style.

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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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