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Local umpire returns from Australia

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The just ended 2018 Commonwealth Games held in Gold Coast, Australia were an eye opener for local Badminton Umpire Emmanuel Kgaboetsile who was officiating at the event.

Kgaboetsile is a Badminton World Federation (BWF) Accredited Umpire who was privileged enough to form part of the four African Umpires who officiated at the prestigious event. Kgaboetsile arrived back in Botswana this past Monday. Speaking to Sun Sports in an interview this week, Kgaboetsile said his was not only about umpiring at the event but fishing out valuable expertise and skills, which he intends to share with umpires in Botswana, particularly Botswana Badminton Association (BBA).

In his observation, BBA has a long way to go as far as competing at major competitions such as the Commonwealth Games. The experienced umpire said there is need for change in the mind set of players and coaches. Kgaboetsile said the BBA must strive for active participation in international competitions. The BBA last participated at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Scotland through Gaone Tawana. However, the BBA failed to send athletes to the 2018 games. “We are a bit far, our performance is currently low to an extent that countries that we used to dominate are now better than us in the game,” Kgaboetsile said. According to Kgaboetsile, African countries that are currently doing well in Africa include Mauritius, South Africa Ghana and Algeria. “We won two medals at the Gaborone Youth Games and we walked all over those countries but now we cannot even compare ourselves to them. We have dropped drastically in performance. One thing they are doing well is development and maybe we should adopt the strategy,” he said.

In addition, Kgaboetsile said local players also need to be thirsty for the game, adding that the level of player indiscipline was also a contributing factor to the declining performance. In some occasions Kgaboetsile alleged that athletes sometimes bring alcohol to the games and this behaviour impacts negatively on their play. The international umpire said given high level of competitiveness at the recent Commonwealth Games, it was evident that majority of international players had confidence while hitting the shuttlecock. “Athletes need to be kept active, we cannot produce desired results when we host one local tournament a year. Our players will never be able to compete on the international stage against better rivals.”Given his rich umpiring background, Kgaboetsile said he will continue sharing his experiences with local players, club representatives and officials during tournaments. Kgaboetsile was accompanied by another local Emmanuel Saakane to Australia. Saakane is a BWF certified Line Judge.

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makwala iaaf issue ignored

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President of Botswana Athletics Association (BAA) Mooketsi Thari this week revealed that International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) president Sebastian Coe is coming to Botswana for other matters surrounding BAA, not the infamous Isaac Makwala saga that occurred during the 2017 World Championships staged in London.

In fact, BAA has no intention to demand answers or even mention the Makwala issue to the IAAF president. A staunch Thari said the BAA will not even ask for any form of compensation following the Makwala debacle. Thari was addressing members of the press about the on-going preparations ahead of the IAAF president’s arrival in Gaborone this coming Saturday.

Makwala, the world famous local 400m sprinter and the men’s 2018 Commonwealth Games gold medalist was controversially barred by IAAF from running at the 2018 London World Championships over allegations that he might have contracted the contagious Noro Virus bug.

The nation watched with bleeding hearts as reports flooded across borders that Makwala was ruled out of the world 400m final. Makwala endured further heartache after being pulled out of the 200m heats and later went on a spotlight stealing a solo run in rainy weather.

After all the dust seemed to have settled over the mishap, that is when news surfaced that Coe would come to Botswana in 2018. The announcement compelled many to believe that Coe ‘s visit wouldshed light to Batswana an understanding of what exactly happened in London. However, Thari says for them, that is water under the bridge.

“Many think the IAAF president is coming for the Makwala issue, well, that is not the case, he had long promised that he will visit even before the London controversy,” Thari said. “That issue has been resolved and there is nothing more to it.

We dealt with the matter, even if we were to take it to court that would have happened at a later stage and Makwala would have missed his run,” he said.The BAA president went on to say that they did all they could and actually took pride in that they made history by ensuring that IAAF grants Makwala a special 200m qualification run.

The solo run saw Makwala beat the alleged stomach bug and qualified for the 200m final. Thari explained that instead, they need IAAF’s assistance to help develop athletics in Botswana. As one of the best performing codes in Botswana, Thari said it would come in handy if IAAF helps the local association with funding.

“We will show him a plot that we were long allocated but finding it hard to develop. We also need to reinforce grassroots development,” Thari said.

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GU welcomes Zapata at Rollers

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It would have been an intriguing welcome back to Botswana for Rodolfo Zapata if he were to lead the BTC premiership defending Champions Townships Rollers during their week 10 match against Gaborone United this coming Saturday at the national stadium.

However, Zapata who arrived in Botswana this past Saturday can only watch from the stands, as he is yet to be confirmed as head coach by the Rollers management. Rollers recently confirmed that they are in negotiations with the former Gaborone United coach.The passionate Argentine tactician has already met with the Rollers technical side and the players this week.

As of this past Tuesday, Sun Sports learnt that Zapata is yet to put pen to paper. “We are almost done with our negotiations and still processing his work permits. Only the government processes will determine how long he stays out,” said Rollers spokesperson, Bafana Pheto in an interview.

Pheto revealed that Zapata met the team on Tuesday morning during their training session. However, Zapata, played his cards close to his chest and said he will only comment after he signs a contract with Rollers.“I do not have all the details right now and I hope the Rollers management is working on my permits also,” he said.

Nevertheless, it would still be an emotional game for Zapata when he watches a team he used to coach play against a team he is expected to soon lead.Zapata dumped Gaborone United for a Kenyan side AFC Leopards back in April this year. Zapata had signed a two -year deal with the Kenyan side until about four weeks ago when he decided to leave.

Rollers were quick to show interest on the high profiled coach when their coach, Nikola Kavazovic shockingly decided to abandon the formidable side of Mapalastina early this month.Meanwhile Sun Sports has learnt that there might still be a standoff between GU management and Zapata.

Zapata has told this publication that GU has not paid him his dues yet. Nevertheless, GU is reported to still be nursing an open wound following Zapata’s decision to abandon the then sinking Money Machine.

It is alleged that Zapata has a running contract with GU until 2019 and there were certain procedures he had to follow as per the contract, “We cannot comment anything on the Zapata issue because it may have some legal implications.

We will wait for a time to sit down with Zapata and resolve our pending issues because Zapata has not even contacted us yet,” said GU chairman, Boitumelo Nsunge.

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