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We will win the league

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A year ago chasing after the coveted green boot was a far-fetched dream for red-hot Orapa United striker Thabang Sesinyi.

During that time, the evergreen 23-year-old former Limkokwing University student was not even playing for the Ostriches. But six months later Sesinyi’s antics on the pitch have been a living proof that with ambition, talent and focus, dreams can be realised in the short term. The lanky star’s meteoric rise to the top parallels that of Orapa United in the premier league.  

Currently, Sesinyi who was an unknown entity less than   12 months ago, is tied at 12 goals apiece with Mochudi Centre Chiefs’ Lemponye Tshireletso and breakout star Moatlhodi Ralesotla of Gaborone United at the summit of the top goal scorer charts. This is by any means an incredible feat for a premier league rookie.

“I joined Orapa United last year around July after I had come for trials and immediately impressed the technical team. At the time, I did not even think I could make it into the first 18 squad at the team,” Sesinyi told Sun Sports.Before joining the mighty Ostriches under headcoach Madinda Ndlovu, Sesinyi was playing for 2nd Division outfit Field Masters.

“When I arrived at Orapa the coach gave me a lot of motivation and I also derived courage from my team mates on the pitch.” The Palapye-born striker says he does not have any particular formula for his scoring prowess in the pitch, adding that it was all down to hard work. “Right now my main focus is to help the team to acquire maximum points for all the remaining games in the league,” he said.

Sesinyi also expressed confidence that the Ostriches would out-muscle bitter rivals Township Rollers to snatch the 2015/16 premier league title. He added however that his team would also be squarely focused on the lucrative Mascom Top 8 where they have reached the semi-finals.

Although the youthful striker is currently tied at the top of the goal scorer standings, he has downplayed his chances of walking away with the green boot, arguing that there was still a lot to play for in the remaining games.

Meanwhile, Orapa headcoach expressed satisfaction with the rest of his team adding that he could not ask for anything else from his charges following a consistent showing in their last 21 games. “It would be unfair to ask for more from the team. These boys have consistently shown character,” said the championship winning coach.

Nevertheless, Ndlovu said the Ostriches still need to work on their finishing. The Orapa outfit failed to score in their past weekend’s game where they drew 0-0 with Jwaneng’s Galaxy FC, but they are hopeful to redeem themselves this Friday evening when they take on Miscellaneous in Serowe.

“We now need more of some intelligent finishing,” Ndlovu concluded.

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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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