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GU SEE RED, BLUES ROLL ON

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It never rains but pours at Gaborone United. Actually, the past seven days have not borne any good news at the club.

Friday was particularly not a great day for anyone to be the club’s supporter as both Township Rollers and Mochudi Centre Chiefs dented their remaining pride in a matter of hours.

No sooner had The Reds’ faithful been left with an egg on the face regarding Ofentse Nato’s change of heart than they were slapped 2-0 by Chiefs some hours later.

With the club’s management playing hide and seek with the media on emerging issues at the club, it has not been established why Nato, their loyal servant of many years, reneged on signing for the club at the last minute after he had been reported to be on the verge of signing.

Nato on Friday signed for Rollers in what was seen as a shock move, and emerging news is that United were still fighting internally over whether to sign him or not when Rollers came up with a concrete offer. Nato reportedly opted for a more serious Rollers as the argument for and against signing him at United continued.

One group felt that while Nato was their loyal servant, there was no justification to sign him while the club no longer had anything to fight for this season. The party that was opposing the signing of Nato reasoned that already they were out of league contention and the Mascom Top 8. Nato’s Indian side Atletico de Kolkata has gone for recess until September this year, but have agreed to have the player getting some game time while in Botswana.

Ahead of his signing for Rollers, his agent had reportedly been toying with the plan to take the player to France. Besides the procrastination at United, sources say Rollers dangled a mouthwatering carrot before the former Bidvest Wits star, an offer he found difficult to resist.  

Now it means that in a space of two weeks, Rollers have signed two big names – Nato and their former Zimbabwean prolific forward Terrence Mandaza. The duo is expected to feature in Rollers’ Mascom Top 8 Semi-Finals in Francistown against Chiefs.

Township Rollers president Dick Gabanakgosi confirmed to Sun Sports that indeed his club was working around the clock to finalise paper work for the duo. “We are expecting to start work on Mandaza’s work permit this Wednesday and by Friday we will be in a good position to know when he will feature.

As for Nato, we are finalising his paper work too”, Gabanakgosi said.Meanwhile, United are facing the wrath of CAF after pulling out of the CAF Confederation’s Cup at the eleventh hour.

United said they would need about P500 000 for their planned Zanzibar trip alone but did not have enough money to make the trip possible. They were supposed to play Tanzania’s Jeshi La Kujenga Ucumi FC.

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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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