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Zapata wants Moloi in Kenya

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Former Gaborone United (GU) Headcoach Rodolfo Zapata is ready to snatch a number of players from the ailing Money Machine. Experienced attacking midfielder Dirang Moloi is reported to be a top priority in the Argentine coach’s wish list. Zapata who dumped GU a few weeks back in favour of struggling Kenyan giants AFC Leopards. This week, the outspoken coach said he had affection for GU players because they respected him and executed his instructions well on the pitch.

Given the current financial difficulties facing GU, Zapata said he has already been contacted by some of his former players who are ready to terminate their contracts with the stricken Money Machine. Reports coming out of GU are that the whole squad wants to jump ship and team management was officially informed by the Footballers Union of Botswana (FUB) last week. This past weekend during GU’s BTC Premiership game against Police XI in Molepolole, only eight players turned up for the fixture. The match was called off in the first 20 minutes of the game when two GU’s players suffered injuries and the team remained with only six players. “We are still in talks, he is a good player with a lot of potential and I hope Leopards will manage to bring him on board. He is an asset,” Zapata said when addressing his interest in the midfield maestro.

Moloi is arguably one of the most talented players in Botswana and to thus far, he has enjoyed a cordial relationship with Zapata. Quizzed on his interest in the aging player, Zapata confidently said he understands Moloi better, adding that he is one of the best players Botswana has ever produced. In fact, Zapata believes that Moloi is overqualified for local football. The 33- year old Moloi has played for local teams such as Notwane, Mochudi Centre Chiefs and Township Rollers in the Botswana Premier League (BPL). Outside Botswana, Moloi has played for Vasco Da Gama in the South African Premier Soccer League in 2010 and later joined DR Congo side CS Don Bosco in 2013. In a brief interview, GU Managing Director Olebile Sikwane said Dirang can be released if he wishes to leave the team. However, he mentioned that other players were contract bound and certain procedures have to be followed. All efforts made to reach Moloi for comment proved futile.

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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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