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Zoro loses his spikes

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Fans of local track and field star Nijel Amos maybe be thinking that they suffer from a curious case of déjà vu… following their idol’s repeated slump at world class competitions.

Since the 2016 Rio Olympic games the once promising track star has systematically botched every major event he has entered which left his followers wondering whether he will ever find his speed again. Six years ago, Amos made arguably the greatest sporting moment in the country’s history when he won Olympic silver in 800m with a blistering 1.41.73sec when he finished behind Kenya’s indomitable David Rudisha.

The Rio Olympics saw Amos suffering an embarrassing fall before moving on to the 2017 IAAF World Championships when he dashed the hopes of his fans after finishing outside a podium place. After winning silver in London, the local middle-distance star moved on to the 2014 Glasgow, Scotland Commonwealth Games when he defeated his arch nemesis David Rudisha and won gold.

The 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games were Zoro’s next chance to defend his 800m title and reignite his fading track career. However, the question on the lips of his supporters is what happened to the swift and charismatic Zoro. The problem it seems is that the young runner has not stayed and trained in one place for satisfactory amount of time.

For the past six years the celebrity athlete has trained in Botswana, South Africa, Kenya and now USA. Experts in the field have argued that this has diminished the runner’s chances finding his form and consistently finish in podium places. In an interview this week, Botswana Athletics Association (BAA), Thari Mooketsi said Amos has travelled to different places in the world after the contract he signed with Nike some years ago.

Mooketsi said the contract has seen Amos joining other athletes from all over the world who have benefitted from the same shoe brand contract. However, Mooketsi said his Association is troubled by Amos’ recent slump in performance. “He is not performing well and we wonder if these are just injuries or there are other elements involved.” The BAA president said there was no need for contact with the people that manage and train Amos. “We should be monitoring him a lot closer and we have not done that. It is not a good situation.

Mooketsi said they frequently check on the athlete through telephone and he usually gives positive responses. Quizzed on whether Amos is exposed to highly advanced and experimental performance enhancers in the US, Mooketsi said, there might be a possibility. The BAA president said he is aware that Americans are highly advanced and experimental when it comes to top athletes and their performance on the field.

Mooketsi gave an example of a previous case in which Americans had interest in 400m Queen Amantle Montsho. “After winning her gold medal at the World Championships, Americans did research on Montsho’s hormone genetic makeup to establish what made her perform on the track. They even interviewed her parents and did research on her background to see what made her a top athlete.” Nevertheless, Mooketsi said Amos had signed a contract that might be left with only one year.

In addition, Mooketsi said they will soon be in contact with the athlete to consider possibilities of coming back to Botswana. Commenting on the matter, former 800m national team runner Glody Dube said Amos must be asking himself what he is doing wrong at the moment. Dube said it does not help that the runner has been based in many countries which has come with its own problems. “He must come back home, he has been given the opportunity to travel around the world.

This happens with every athlete if they have opportunities.” Dube questioned why Amos is based in the US as the country is not even good at 800m races as they specialise in sprints.” It is true that Americans are all about performance and there are possibilities they do experiment on athletes.” Dube who has travel and competed around the world said he has been aware of cases where blood is taken from athletes during their peak only for the blood sample to be transfused back into their systems when they take a slump in performance. “Such things exist, it is not only in the US but also Russia. Nijel should come back home. When he was based here he ran 1:41 sec but now he can’t even run 1:45sec. He was younger then, we expected him to gain speed as he grew older. However, we still believe in him.”

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Zapata takes charge

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TAKING CHARGE: Zapata assumes his position

Township Rollers Head Coach Rodolfo Zapata was this past Tuesday in charge of the team’s training session, a first since he was appointed Rollers coach in November 2018.

Sun Sports has been reliably informed by sources that were present at the morning session that the Argentine coach was at the grounds and it was all clear that he is now the man in control of the team.

Zapata was made to jump through hoops before he could finally take over the reins at Rollers. First he had to battle with his former club, Gaborone United to cancel his active working permit with the team. The matter dragged for more than a month.

When GU finally gave in, Zapata’s qualifications as a coach were questioned. This came as shocking given that Zapata is GU’s former coach. Nevertheless, a source within Botswana Football Association (BFA) circles has told this paper that Zapata was cleared by CAF last week. As things stand Zapata will be expected on the bench this coming Friday when they play Notwane. If not, then his first job will be the Mascom Top 8 Semi-final against GU next week.

The Rollers management could not be reached yesterday as their phones rang unanswered and repeated efforts revealed that the team spokesperson, Bafana Pheto is currently across borders.
Meanwhile, Zapata’s arrival comes at a crucial time following Rollers ‘s embarrassing defeat to the hands of rivals Jwaneng Galaxy this past weekend. Galaxy cut short the endless winning streak of the defending championships to serve them their second loss since the beginning of the league with a score line of 3-1.

Of late , unconfirmed reports suggest that players had grown impatient with the caretaker coach, Thabo Motang. They differed and questioned his decisions on the pitch. Motang is now reported to have gone back to the department he knows best, goalkeeper coach.

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Moluba wants a replica of previous success

Tshepo Kehemile

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PLAY MAKER: Moalosi is a prolific goal scorer

Township Rollers influential midfielder, Edwin Moalosi confirmed his ambitions to help his team to repeat their run in the previous season to win both Botswana Telecommunication (BTC) Premiership league and the Mascom Top 8. Moluba as he is affectionately known said this after their 3-1 loss to Jwaneng Galaxy at the National Stadium this past Saturday.

Rollers 2018/19 BTC league campaign have been impressive thus far as they are still at the summit of the log despite their loss over the weekend. The Galaxy loss was their second, having lost to the other mining team, Orapa United. However, they have already reached the semi-finals of the Mascom Top 8.

Moalosi told Sun Sport that this season is not going to be a walk in the path, “It is not easy being the defending Champions as you become the team to beat, every team will try hard not to give you space to play or attack hence all the games we play become a mammoth task,” said Moalosi.

Moalosi further stated that being eliminated from the Confederations of African Football (CAF) Champions league early was a blessing in disguise, “We are now out of the CAF Champions league and we can now focus on doing well in the domestic league and cup tournament (Mascom Top 8).

In addition, we need to double our efforts as players so that we reach our ultimate goals,” he said.
Quizzed about his individual goals as a player despite picking so many injuries this season, he said, “Injuries are part of the game, it only depends on every player as to how you respond to it, I am always positive regardless of the circumstances I come across. I want to increase my goal tally and hopefully improve my assists as well,” explained.

However, Jwaneng Galaxy Captain, Olebogeng Malebye who scored a marvellous curler on the day said they are going to give Rollers a run for their money this season, “We are going to fight to death to try and leapfrog Rollers and eventually win the league as it has been our aim for a long time. And finally, we managed to beat them after a very long time trying with no success,” said Malebye.

Jwaneng Galaxy’s season is slowly improving as they are now second on the log, and Orapa United seems to be struggling a bit but the league is still open. Another round of BTC Premiership league matches is expected to continue this coming weekend with a couple of interesting fixtures to look out to including Township Rollers and Notwane FC on Friday at Molepolole and Security Systems and Mochudi Centre Chiefs on Saturday at the same venue, just to mention a few.

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