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Mystery sponsor resurrects volleyball

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The Botswana Volleyball Federation (BVF) national league is expected to commence next month (May), BVF Sports Development Officer Peaceful Seleka has revealed.

BVF is reported to have finally secured a league sponsor that is yet to be unveiled, more to that, BVF has already informed clubs to start preparing for the upcoming league. When reached for comment this week, Seleka confirmed the reports, “I can confirm that indeed we have signed a deal with one sponsor and we intend to make an announcement very soon. With that, the league will definitely happen this year,” Seleka said in an interview with Sun Sports.

Seleka revealed that they have since held a special congress meeting with BVF affiliates last week to inform them of the new development. He said it is their sincere hope that the teams will be ready to compete when the league commences, following a one-month notice from the Federation. Seleka remained cagey about the identity of the new sponsor, adding that they are not ready to divulge anything until the agreed dates between the sponsor and BVF. The federation failed to host the league in 2017 after the departure of their main sponsor Mascom Wireless, “It was not easy to secure the sponsorship and we had to up our game so that the unfortunate 2017 events does not happen again,” he said.

The inactivity at BVF threatened to set the sports code back following reports that some players had joined the controversial Constituency League. The moral was reported to be waning in many top clubs and coaches with coaches failing to motivate players who found no reason to attending training sessions. Coach Kabo Ntshinogang of Mafolofolo club said they are happy for the imminent league return. However, he said as defending champions, they have become weaker due to lack of activity. Meanwhile, Ntshinogang lost some of his key players like Tsholofelo Retshabile, Garesepe Mashaola and Gaolefeletse Gasekgonwe during the transfer window early this year. For now, the coach said his main aim is ensuring that his new players settle well in the team. “I opted for new faces instead of those already in the BVF structures and they will need time to get into the team, we will think about winning the title next year however we intend to compete,” Ntshinogang said.

For his part, Yaros coach Mmoloki Gaobone explained that the absence of the league was hard for his players who had resorted to abandoning training sessions. Gaobone said he is mostly working with young players and his biggest concern was that some of them will be dropped from the national team because they are not fit. Gaobone further said the one-month notice was not enough for a proper league preparation, however under the circumstances, they will make the best out of it. He anticipates a slow league start saying that players will come into in the game a bit rusty.

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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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