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BVF hosts Howard University team

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The women’s national volleyball team is expected to benefit massively from a partnership forged between the Botswana Volleyball Federation (BVF) and Howard University from the USA. The BVF is currently hosting the Howard University National Collegiate Athletics Association (NCAA) women’s volleyball team for friendly matches and potential future collaborations. Speaking during a press conference in Gaborone earlier this week, BVF president Daniel Molaodi said they will get an opportunity to collaborate with the NCAA and further cement a relationship with the US university sports organisation. Molaodi said a number of local athletes have benefitted from the NCAA including former Zebras striker Diphetogo ‘Dipsy’ Selolwane. Molaodi said the NCAA Division 1 is a strong league and some members of the US Olympic team are usually acquiring from this structure.

“Howard are a strong team and we want to learn from them. This year will come with a number of qualifiers for numerous games and playing against Howard will give out girls the much needed exposure,” Molaodi said. The BVF president said the Howard team, which is predominantly African American is expected to conduct coaching clinics at selected schools including primary and secondary schools. Furthermore, Molaodi said they expected another visit from one or two teams from the US in the future. Speaking during the same occasion Howard University team coach Shann Kupferberg said the student athletes in his team are all African American and this makes them feel a kinship with Africa. “This is an exciting moment for them as this is their first time in Africa.

The biggest part of the experience will be education,” he said. In addition, Kupferberg said he was looking forward to training with local athletes. Among other things in the five-day trip, the Howard team will be expected seminars for local coaches. The US team is expected to conduct training sessions the men’s senior national team. The trip will include a motivational game with the Botswana ladies Under 20 team that is being prepared for the AUSC Region 5 games. The Howard team will donate volleyball equipment to the BVF and schools. After their visit to Botswana, the Howard team is expected to travel to neighbouring Zimbabwe.

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Local boxers ready for regional tourney

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CONFIDENT: Newly unveiled LOC is confident that the regional tourney will be a success

Botswana Boxing Association (BoBA) this past Tuesday officially unveiled a Local Organising Committee (LOC) that has been tasked with preparing for the upcoming Zone 4 championships that are to be held in Botswana.

The team is headed by celebrated boxing legend France Mabiletsa and is expected to host more than seven countries that are expected to descend in Botswana in the next two weeks. Officiating at the event, Botswana National Sport Commission (BNSC) Vice Chairperson Tsoseletso Magang said that BoBA officials should refrain from interfering with the task given to the LOC. She noted that many sporting codes often give the LOC the responsibility of delivering an event only for the code members to bully themselves into the affairs of the LOC and disrupts the preparations.

Magang warned that there is little time left before the tournament, and with that, the LOC will need all the support to ensure they deliver a successful event. She noted that hosting the regional tournament gave Botswana an upper hand of fielding more athletes that will have an opportunity to qualify for the Africa Championships scheduled for later this year.

For his part, Mabiletsa noted that they have already hit the ground running and confident that the event will be a success. The competition will be hosted in Botho College and they are in talks with Ave Maria to accommodate athletes. “Life will be made much easier for athletes if they are accommodated at Ave Maria because it is closer to the competition venue,” he said.

He explained that the zone is made up of 12 countries of Lesotho, Angola, Malawi, South Africa and Zimbabwe among others. However as of this past Tuesday, only seven had confirmed participation and they expect to finalize the logistics by the end of the week.

Meanwhile, a formidable national boxing team of eight men captained by Mmusie Tswiiige (60kg) and three ladies led by Lethabo Modukanele (48kg) will represent the country at the regional tournament.

According to the Head coach Lechedzani ‘Master’ Luza, the team has been on camp for the past three weeks. In his opinion, the team is ready to compete. “Generally, they are not bad, we need to work on a few things such as power and speed on some boxers, the defence department is also not bad,” he said.

Luza noted that Botswana has always established herself as a powerhouse and there is no doubt that majority, if not all team Botswana members will win a medal during competition time. He explained that the competition was one of the many leading to Tokyo 2020 Olympics and will give local boxers an opportunity to qualify for the Olympics.

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Branch does it again

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Local motorcycle racing sensation Ross Branch has continued his stellar form after securing overall second position in the internationally renowned Merzouga Rally. The race came to a conclusion this past weekend and Branch has proven his mettle amongst some of the best rally motorcyclists in the world.

The podium finish is expected to take the Dakar Rally racer to even greater heights in the hugely competitive and expensive sport. It has been barely two months since the talented local rider emerged as a top class racer at the Dakar Rally where he finished 13 and walked away with the fastest rookie of the 10 000 km odyssey.

At Merzouga, things seemed a little better for the rider as the terrain offer sand and rock as opposed to the treacherous dunes in Dakar. Branch who was using a different navigation system in Morocco showed his pace after winning the fourth stage of the race last week Thursday.

Prior to his podium finish Branch said Merzouga was only his second rally and he was willing to learn from some of the top riders in the sport. The KTM 450cc rider said he was now setting his sights on other major races including the 2020 Dakar Rally that has been confirmed for Saudi Arabia.

Since returning from the Dakar, Ross has stayed busy and competed at the cross-country championship in Kwazulu Natal in South Africa, where he finished fourth. The local rider is expected to compete at the upcoming 1000 km Toyota Desert Race, an event he has won more than seven times.

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