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BAA’s cross country series this weekend

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Long distance race fans will be in for a treat this weekend when Lefika Athletics Club hosts the 3rd round of the Botswana Athletics Association (BAA) cross country series at Kopong village in the Kweneng district.  

However, one of   the favourites in the 10 km senior men’s category Sesebo Matlapeng has confirmed that he will not be taking part in the race this weekend as he is already preparing for the event’s grand finale to take place in a fortnight.

Matlapeng has already booked a place in the final of the series and has opted not to tire himself with the weekend race. It has been the rivalry between Matlapeng and his nemesis Rapula Diphoko that previously enthralled the hordes of marathon  supporters.

Matlapeng’s absence thus means that Diphoko is likely to have a field day in the competition on Saturday. Moreover, race organiser, Ipolokeng Ramatshaba said that last year’s national cross country champion Godiraone Nthomphe is yet to be confirmed for the race, adding that the runner has not been attending races consistently.

“This   race will be important for all the runners as they will be   preparing themselves for the cross country final which will take place two weeks after the final round of the series scheduled for the northern part of the country next week,” Ramatshaba said.

He added, “To qualify for the finals, the   runners have to compete in two editions of the cross country series. However, any runner can register to compete in the cross country finals but they will not be crowned as national champions if they win that event without previously competing in the series.”

The IAAF has since changed the cross-country rules by reducing the senior men’s category length from 12 to 10 km, according to Ramatshaba. He added that the senior women’s   and junior men’s category remain at 8 km while the junior women’s category is 6km.

The runners to look out for in the women’s category will be Onneile Dintwe of Sports View Club, Tiango Nema of SSKB, Maria Maano (SSKB) and Joyce Tau (Gaborone Runners Club). Ramatshaba has since called on Kopong residents and those from surrounding areas to attend the race, adding that it was not often that such an event is staged in the area.

The start-finish line will be at Macheke ward next to Kopong Junior Secondary School. Entries will be allowed an hour before the race. The event is expected to start at 9am.

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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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