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Radipotsane braces for tough mission at Chouka-chouka

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The Palapye based outfit still sits within the relegation bracket at the foot of the table but with an ambition to remain in the top tier. The devastating truth is that they have a mere eight games left for them to turn their fortunes around.

With the number of games played so far, it makes sense to believe that Motlakase Power Dynamos is terrifyingly close to relegation but the acquisition of Radipotsane at the beginning of this year was seen as a solution to their persistent problems. With a traceable reputation of winning games with meagre squads, Radipotsane believes they can avoid relegation by the end of the season but he is acutely aware of the mammoth task facing him.

“We have nine games left. Out of these games, we just have to win seven and we will be safe. There are fewer gaps between us and the few teams above,” he told Sun Sports ahead of their past weekend’s game against Nico United, which they went on to win 2-1. “If Galaxy can win five games in a row, then it is possible with us. It is an achievable feat,” Radipotsane added confidently. Although he is not a coveted coach who has won many championships, Radipotsane deserves an instant respect in dealing with small teams that usually constitute smaller and meagre squads with little mix of experienced players.

He has shown his mettle before. With a relatively small squad, he once guided Motlakase to a top 8 bracket in the top tier league. “The boys must believe in themselves. The management must believe in us and offer the necessary support. If we all pull together then we can make it.

“There is a slight improvement. This team has been conceding more goals. About five or four per game and it has since changed,” he added. It is widely known that Motlakase is in dire financial straits and that most premiership and seasoned performers are far from Motlakase’s financial reach, leaving Radipotsane to work with what is at his disposal – a crop of unproven players who in most cases are campaigning in the premiership for the first time.

But the guttural coach believes his players are competent enough. “I believe the team is competent. If they can match the likes of Township Rollers then there is no need to doubt them. They must keep fighting until the end,” he said.

His mission to help Motlakase survive relegation started well as he helped them to their third victory of the season. Moreover, their rampant approach in the transfer window could be another showing that the former Jwaneng Galaxy and Gaborone United mentor is taking the task seriously. During the just ended transfer window, Motlakase signed 12 players; the highest number registered at the Botswana Premier League (BPL) offices.

They have registered Thero Ntau, Lapologang Motlogi, Mpho Odubeng, Maphakela Ramoraka, Moemedi Mothibi, Phetogo Lerato,  Ishmael Mengwe, Aobakwe Solomon, Mogakolodi Balatotse, Gabathomphe Tsheko, Otsile Seanego and Vusimusi Sibiya. Of all the 12 players, only four were recruited from the premier league teams. The rest were recruited from teams campaigning in the lower divisions.

However, in the process of recruiting during the transfer window, they failed to hold on to their influential players. Former Extension Gunners marksman Othusitse Mahube has since joined division one side Morupule Wanderers in Palapye.

Youngster Thato Kebue who was a key figure in the team has signed for Mochudi Centre Chiefs. Experienced midfielder Botshelo Lerato has signed for Gaborone United. Nico United snatched Phineas Kgotlaang.

Radipotsane is inheriting a team that has struggled severely since the beginning of the season. The side has served their supporters with a horrifying and dull brand of football, registering more losses and draws.

But Radipotsane’s arrival was praised as he was once the envy of most fans. Most of the Motlakase faithful have put behind their frustration of seeing Radipotsane slap them with a heart-breaking move from their team to a then first division outfit Jwaneng Galaxy.

Based on the history, they believe the gaffer will save them. Their weekend victory against Nico United must instil in them the belief that indeed their task of keeping their premier league status is achievable.

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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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