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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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Makwengwe promises fire and fury

Isaac Pheko

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ON A MISSION: Makwengwe

Gaborone United (GU)headcoach Philimon Makwengwe has sent a chilling message to his future opponents following a 0-1 loss to reigning BTC Premiership champions Township Rollers this past weekend.

A buoyant Makwengwe who is searching for at least two hungry strikers at GU declared that there will be nothing but misery in store for his future opponents. Following the closely contested Gaborone derby Makwengwe said:

“I have to improve in attack, I am not scoring goals, and I need to change my position on the log. I know the buzz was around the Gaborone Derby but that was never my concern. My team is currently in the red and I needed the points. I have to get out of the red and attacking my opponents is necessary”.

The unrelenting coach made it clear that Moyagoleele should not perform below their showing against Rollers last weekend. Makwengwe said the Money Machine will need to be “attack minded” in their next fixtures.

“What people should know is that Township Rollers have beaten me three times. They beat me twice back in 2012 during the Mascom Top 8. That was not the last time as they defeated me again at Prisons Airwick means this is now the fourth time.

The local tactician said losses to the Mma-Masire outfit should be a wake-up call for him. Nevertheless, Makwengwe said Rollers are the champions and one of the best teams not only in the country but the rest of the region.

“This is a team that gives a good brand of Botswana football. I am a champion myself, I am not a loser but I cannot beat Rollers alone.” Regarding the rest of the first round, Makwengwe said they will hit the ground running, I have no time to lament on negatives, I will not bemoan so many things.

My next opponents should stand in line and prepare to become victims.” The experienced coach said GU are a big brand and they should move away from where they are in the log standings. Losing 0-1 to a team like Rollers shows that we have to work on consistency.

The coach conceded the fact that he needs to make changes in his squad. I need about eight players including a fast winger on the left, I need a striker or two and these should be real strikers not people who play upfront.

Makwengwe said the current strikers at the team include a local who is a work in progress and a foreigner who is not giving enough to the team.“People want me to hide and I cannot, when you come into this country and you brush aside a local and even the labour law says you have to be better than them(locals), I bet in any profession.

If you want to play a striker for me, work harder.” The coach said he does not have an outright striker, which leaves a gap in the team. “A striker is somebody who pushes and is busy. If he doesn’t score himself, he has to use other players. It doesn’t matter if he is alone against four.”

Makwengwe said he needs two strikers to avoid changing the team too much. “In January, I am going into the market and I am going to buy. My next game is against Miscelleneous and they are coming down. I will have no mercy. Whoever comes I will have no mercy.”

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Old rivals faceoff

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BITTER RIVALS: Notwane Head coach Pio Paul

Notwane Football Club (Sechaba) and Mochudi Centre Chiefs (Magosi), are to battle it out in a potentially massive encounter as both clubs are coming from draws in their previous matches against Prisons IX and Black Forest respectively.

The clash is scheduled to take place at 4pm this Saturday at Molepolole Sports Complex.Sechaba, as Notwane is affectionately known were relegated back in 2015 while Magosi has been going through a financial crisis that hit the club recently.

Having played 9 games a piece, Notwane FC, currently on the 9th position in the BTC Premiership league log standings have won two, drew four and lost three games whereas Centre Chiefs who are occupying the 12th spot have won one, drew five and lost three games.

In a brief interview with Sun Sport this week, Notwane FC Public Relations Officer (PRO) Mogomotsi ‘Ace’ Orapeleng said, “We are going all out to win this fixture, taking nothing away from Centre Chiefs, we are not going to read much into what they have been going through lately hence our approach to the match will be of ‘great’ respect.

This past weekend we dropped a massive two points which could have made a difference against Prisons IX thus making us more desperate to collect three (3) points in this coming clash with Centre Chiefs,” he said.

Questioned about the anxiety brought by this particular contest he said: “Notwane FC and Mochudi Centre Chiefs are big brands of Botswana football, we are aware of the fact that the personnel have changed; new players, management and even sponsors but the ultimate truth is that these two have great following and most people are anxious to see how the events will turn out on the weekend,” said Orapeleng.

For his part, Mochudi Centre Chiefs Vice-Chairman, Clifford Mogomotsi confirmed their aim is to try and improve their position in the league log standings, “In every match we play, our approach is to always expand our position on the log, regardless of which team we play against. Notwane FC is a fantastic team but we are going to fight until the end to win the match,” said Mogomotsi.

Mogomotsi further pointed out that playing against Notwane FC has always been exulting, “Notwane FC has always given us entertaining football as we almost play a similar style of play,” said the Vice-Chairman.

On the possibility of losing points through the impending verdict after failure to honour their game against Miscellaneous a fortnight ago: “Our date with Botswana Premier League (BPL) Disciplinary Committee (DC) has been set, and we are awaiting that,” he explained.

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