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The day English football legend Robbie Fowler visited eKasi

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Christmas came rather too early for 38-year-old White City woman, Gaobotse Talane, many thanks to her decision to open a bank account with Barclays bank of Botswana in September.

Talane, a machine operator at Kromberg Fchubert factory in Gaborone, challenged herself to start investing for the future and just decided to open an account with Barclays bank.  She was not aware that the bank was running a competition of any kind and is surprised that her decision has paid dividends in just under three months.

Talane couldn’t contain her joy when she heard that she was the proud winner of a DStv Explora decoder which comes with a one year subscription and free installation from Multi-Choice Botswana. In addition she had the honour to host at her two roomed house in White City location in Gaborone, the Barclays Premier league legend and one of the greatest football strikers ever to come from England and Liverpool FC, Robbie Fowler last Saturday.

Not only did Talane benefit from the good gesture extended by Barclays bank who are the official sponsors of the England Premier League, but it was also a dream come true for her boyfriend, her eldest sibling and her boyfriend’s work manager. Her boyfriend’s boss is a great supporter of Liverpool and never thought he would live to meet, hug and share jokes with Fowler, the player he used to admire most during his playing days. Talane says she is still shocked that she won because she never entered for any competition. In fact she suspected that the caller on the other side of the line from Barclays bank who told her that she is among the four winners who recently entered the competition run by the bank was just a swindler.

“I told the caller in crystal clear terms that I never entered for any competition and advised them to keep away from me”.  Further, she has never won anything in her lifetime.  The bank staffer wouldn’t let her go and even offered to come to her house, Plot 1404 in White City to talk to her face to face. When the bank staffers arrived they asked her if she follows Barclays Premier league football to which she said no. “I told them although at times I watch local football, but I am not interested that much, she remembers.

The bank staffers told her that as a winner, she would host in her house a visitor from England. “They asked me to nominate four people of my choice who understand football they also asked me to give them T-shirt sizes for the people I had nominated and the names of their Premier league teams.” The sizes were for home and away replica shirts of the clubs that they support. She chose her boyfriend and father of her two children Kgotla Boitumelo, an employee of Furniture Mart in Mogoditshane and his boss Kgopolelo Khowa. “Others were my elder sister, Keitumetse Talane and my nephew Onkokame Mmualefhe who both live in Lobatse.”

The DStv Explora couldn’t have come at a better time as the family is currently without a television set since they had sent it for repairs. Indeed Talane was surprised when Fowler visited her on Saturday and Multichoice presented her with the Explora decoder. Talane has never owned DStv decoder because it was out of reach for her. A representative of MultiChoice Botswana, Basadi Masimolole said her company will install the Explora and give Talane a television set. Talane says the prize is a miracle provided by God and believes many more good things are coming her way.

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Local hockey body to incur massive financial loss post Covid-19

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Botswana Hockey Association (BHA) President Unaswi Matebu has confessed that her Association will suffer major financial losses post the Covid 19 pandemic that has left the sport fraternity at a standstill.

Matebu recently told this publication that the current situation does not only have tremendous effects on their schedule, but also there will be financial implications more especially that the association does not have full time sponsors.

“We had to cancel most of our calendar activities such as tournaments, national team trainings, Board meetings, and club activities since mid-March this year, all of which have cost us money to prepare for,” Matebu remarked in an interview.

Additionally she said the planning phase for their 5-year Development Plan which was supposed to be launched in June will have to be postponed. Also there are national competitions that were postponed till further notice despite them having already set up teams and having already started preparing.

“Our Indoor Hockey Senior National teams had already started preparations for the Africa Cup of Nations – a World Cup qualifier – that was supposed to be held in June, 2020, in South Africa. Our Field Hockey Senior National teams had already begun preparations for the Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers that were supposed to be held in August, 2020 in Zimbabwe,” she added.

Moreover, it was going to be an excessively detailed and decorated year  for local hockey governing body, with the Youth National teams having  already began preparations for the Africa Youth Championships that were billed for September, 2020, in Ghana.

“Player conditioning has obviously been affected because athletes are currently not training as planned and what we had achieved so far might go to waste. We are only hoping that the Continental and World Hockey governing bodies will give us enough time to prepare for these competitions post the pandemic.”

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BFA will not declare the season null and void – yet

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Amidst wide spreading fears that Botswana’s top flight league might be canceled and considered null and void because of the crippling Covid-19 pandemic, the Botswana Football Association (BFA) has yet to make a determination on the matter and has in fact ruled out scrapping off the season altogether.

Local football observers and pundits alike have already started talking of the possibilities after similar considerations of nullifying their seasons were made in the leagues of other countries especially in Europe.  No football activity has taken place in the country since social distancing measures were imposed to avoid the spread of the corona virus.

Local football pundit Fabian Zulu is one of those who believe there is a likelihood the football season will be nullified. “If the current situation persists, then there is a high possibility of declaring the league null and void. This situation wasn’t planned, no one knew that by now we would be facing this kind of situation; so the possibility is very high.

However, in an interview this week, BFA spokesperson Tumo Mpatane said the association has not considered canceling and nullifying the season as an option yet, adding that “currently we are observing a period of extreme social distancing, the ministry  of health and wellness will obviously give advice on the possibility of getting back to football.”

Consequently the BFA still awaits the Ministry to declare that the risks of spreading the virus are reduced and come up with a contingency plan. “If the ministry says there is a reduced health risk we will play out the season; if they advise against it we will then see what steps to take. The health of our players is more important and we will be guided by the responsive authorities,” Mpatane remarked.

However, suspension or cancellation of the leagues across the world seems inevitable even as some European leagues, more specifically the English Premier League, are now contemplating a behind-closed-doors campaign to finish off the remaining matches.

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