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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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Well-endowed Galaxy

Isaac Pheko

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FIRE POWER: Galaxy await Rollers

It is only the third week of the 2018/19 BTC Premiership and things are already heating up. Leading the charge is a marauding Jwaneng Galaxy who have already thrown a heavy-handed gauntlet at their rivals after recording a highly impressive 10 goals in just two games.

Galaxy’s intention has been made clear this season after leaving their first two opponents with bloody noses and tails tucked between their legs. The former Mascom Top 8 champions are in a relentless war path with the premier league title on their radar. This weekend, Galaxy host bitter rivals Township Rollers in Jwaneng in what is expected to be a football grudge match. Rollers have been a prickly thorn in Galaxy’s quest to claim the premiership silverware for the past two seasons.

This means the weekend fixture will be the most compelling of the new season. However, Galaxy seem to be packing more heat coming into the Saturday fixture having annihilated both Prisons XI (5-0) and Security Systems (5-0). Galaxy are currently occupying first position alongside second place Sharps Shooting Stars at six points apeice. The game against Popa this weekend will be a litmus test for Galaxy. If the Debswana backed side beats the reigning champions they will establish themselves as potential contenders for the 2018/19 title honours. On the flipside, a loss against Rollers will only mean the first two games were short of a bluff.

Pound for pound Mapalastina have the best squad in the domestic league but a new look Galaxy are well endowed in their own right. In an interview this week, Galaxy spokesperson Tankiso Morake said they played Rollers three times last season and all the games ended in a draw. “Remember we played Rollers in the Mascom Top 8 in Lobatse,” an up-beat Morake said. Morake further said they expected their new coach to receive his permits and start manning the bench when they play Rollers this weekend. “Our supporters have told us that they expected nothing less than league honours this season.” Morake attributes the positive result to a great pre-season.

“You will remember that there was a fake list in the media indicating that we have parted ways with most of our players. You can see that the likes of Ayanda Molefe and Isaac Paeye are still part of the team. There is a lot of competition in our team because we mostly have young players in the team including Lebogang Ditsile who played at Highlands Park in South Africa.” Furthermore, Morake conceded that Rollers are a strong team but argued that they will win the games from the technical bench. “You will remember that we started the last season back tracking but this time things are different.”

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Bridge team fails to impress

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The local team comprised of under 16, under 21 and under 26 categories. In an interview this week, BBF spokesperson Mbakiso Malilo did not mince his words when he described the team’s performance as terrible with all the three teams failing to qualify for the quarter finals.

“Making it to the quarter finals was our target following a good showing in the online championship by our junior team. I believe we can work on improving the playing standard for kids (under 16) as they still stand a chance to compete in the under 21 and under 26 categories for future championships,” he said.

However, Malilo explained that the local youth team gained a lot of experience as the played against more advanced rivals. Quizzed on challenges they faced with a predominantly youthful team, Malilo said: “the trip was too long and for most of the players this was their first experienced of travelling such a great distance. The jet lag ended up affecting the team’s performance as they showed signs of fatigue.” Malilo said their objective was to train young players and give them exposure to the game early on.

“We managed to network with bridge power houses like the Netherlands. Official from the European country expressed interest in training our kids through bridge clinics and enhancing the standard of play and bidding.” Malilo said they selected the junior team that travelled to China through local tournament that was held in Gaborone earlier this year. The tournament was attend by mostly tertiary school students and out of school youth in the junior and youngsters’ category. For the under 16 category we invited student from secondary schools.

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