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A match to drool over

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The Botswana Boxing Association’s (BoBA) annual series of interclub tournaments began this past Saturday with the most entertaining and technically superior match of the day pitting together Ofentse Kompone of SSKB Club and Motlatsi Mokobeng of EMG.

The tournament held at Ledumang Senior Secondary School saw the two boxers displaying skill and determination before a raucous crowd at the school hall. However, Mokobeng of the Eastern Military Garrison (EMG) outfit pulled a huge upset over a more fancied Kompone of the Sir Seretse Khama Barracks (SSKB) side.

“This was a very difficult match up. It was so close and I am surprised after the decision,” said Mokobeng after he was declared the winner.

“This is not even my division, I normally compete at 60kg (lightweight), for this match up I came in at 67kg to face a welterweight at 69kg.”

The 29 year old conceded that 69kg was a tough division, adding that he was going back to his   natural division after the tournament. The Selebi Phikwe-based pugilist added that he was out of contention for the whole of last year after succumbing to an injury.

He in fact revealed that his fiercest rival was 60kg boxing wonder kid Kagiso Bagwasi who is currently in the national team. The Serowe native said his future boxing aspirations were to compete at the Olympic Games.

Meanwhile, Kompone, who came into the match as a favourite, partly blamed the effects of a long layoff from the sport for his loss.“I think I should take my time. I believe I will recover to full fitness in three or four months. I came back to boxing last year November,” said the welterweight contender.

Nevertheless, Kompone said the fight was close as they were neck and neck in the first and second rounds before Mokobeng edged him in the third.
Another interesting match was between 1-2-5 Club debutant, Hamal Jajbhai and Karabo Mogorosi of Mafika Boxing Club.

The match drew a lot of cheers and screams from the crowd as the two novice boxers got fiercely combative and occasionally tripped over each other during the bout. Mogorosi was eventually crowned the winner after three rounds.

The well-attended tournament hosted by the Diamond Trading Company (DTCB) Boxing Club featured a total of 22 bouts with nine clubs attending. On the other hand, the tournament   did not feature national team boxers who are currently on a break.

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Netball regresses

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When successfully hosting of the 2017 Netball Youth World Cup (NYWC) this past year under the Tebogo Lebotse Sebego regime, Botswana netball team (Under 21) showcased a crème dela cream squad, boasting exceptional players such as Pearl Maribe, Sarona Hans, Florence Poane and Cheludo David, just to mention a few.

This left many people anticipating for a smooth transition to the senior team and continue with their impressive performances at elite stages. However, this has not been the case as the national team has been performing dismally, failing to book a spot at the 2018 Africa Netball World Cup back in August, which will be hosted in England, Liverpool next year.

Prior the 2018 Africa Netball World Cup qualifiers staged in Zambia, Botswana roped in a mentor from South Africa, Dorette Badenhorst who confidently said in an interview with Sun Sport before departing to Zambia with team, that the team was in good shape. The results, however did not show and the coach was gone.

In an interview with Sun Sport this week, Botswana Netball Association (BONA) Public Relations Officer (PRO) Theresa Hirchfeld explained why the international coach (Badenhorst) left immediately after the qualifiers, “We had no money to hire an international coach but we desperately needed one hence Spar came to our rescue to bring Dorette Badenhorst on board to help us specifically qualify for the 2019 Netball World Cup edition.

We had to part ways with her because we did not have funds to continue with her,” she explained. According to BONA PRO, the continued absence of the domestic league can be pointed as the main reason why the national team has not been performing well recently, “We do not have a league running at the moment, hence resorting to meeting only on weekends in preparation for important tournaments.

However, I think we did fairly well at the just ended Diamond Challenge tournament held in South Africa looking at the fact that we were not able to go with our full squad due to Police Department events that hindered the selection of players from the Police side,” said the BONA PRO.

The 2018 Diamond Challenge Netball tournament in South Africa, Limpopo was played by Botswana, South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Zambia and South Africa’s president XII. The local team did not fare well as they lost most of the games they played, but only managed to salvage one consolation win.

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Knockout Football tournament returns

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The thrills, spills and high stakes of knock out football have returned to the local scene following the announcement of the new Orange FA Cup.

The mobile telecommunication company announced a P12.6 million, three-year deal that will see over 30 teams competing for the first prize of P700 000.After years of FA cup drought since the much-loved Coca Cola cup, 48 teams from the BTC Premiership, Debswana National First Division (DNFD) and regions are expected to slug it out for honour and glory in the newly introduced tournament scheduled for 2019. Addressing members of the media and other football stakeholders in Gaborone this week, BFA President Maclean Letshwiti said sponsorship remains a challenge to local football and other sporting codes.

“I am excited that the regions will finally get a platform to have an event which they can look forward to, with the prospect of generating income,” Letshwiti said. “Sponsorship is key to football as this is how our industry can grow and change the lives of footballers. When we crafted this sponsorship, we wanted an arrangement that can assist regional teams.” Letshwiti said Orange Botswana is no stranger to football as the company has been in football before and they are currently proud sponsors of CAF.

“A platform like the FA Cup offers a great -opportunity for all our league and structure to be scouted and seen by national team coaches across the board. We also now get an opportunity to close the gap between our leagues and increase competition for participation or qualification into the cup.”

Speaking during the same occasion, the Orange Botswana Chief Executive Officer Dr Patrick Benon said the sponsorship will be approximately P4.2 million per football season for a total of three seasons.

“This initiative demonstrates Orange Botswana’s strategy to cultivate talent and support local sports development in line with previous sponsorships like the Kabelano Charity Cup, the Orange Phikwe National Marathon and also the official Zebras National team sponsorship ahead of the historic appearance at the AFCON finals in 2012,” he said. Through these sponsorships, Benon said they have realised the significance of sport activities beyond entertainment.

“It is also about uniting communities, strengthening relationships and supporting activities. The sponsorship by Orange will cover prize money, individual awards, team kits, tournament administration fees and travelling, to name a few.” The competitions will kick off with eight teams from both the DNFD north and south. The first round will also include 16 regional teams. The second round will include 16 winners from the first round and 16 BTC Premiership teams. The second round is expected to produce the last 16 teams who will proceed to the quarter finals.

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