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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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Local boxers ready for regional tourney

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CONFIDENT: Newly unveiled LOC is confident that the regional tourney will be a success

Botswana Boxing Association (BoBA) this past Tuesday officially unveiled a Local Organising Committee (LOC) that has been tasked with preparing for the upcoming Zone 4 championships that are to be held in Botswana.

The team is headed by celebrated boxing legend France Mabiletsa and is expected to host more than seven countries that are expected to descend in Botswana in the next two weeks. Officiating at the event, Botswana National Sport Commission (BNSC) Vice Chairperson Tsoseletso Magang said that BoBA officials should refrain from interfering with the task given to the LOC. She noted that many sporting codes often give the LOC the responsibility of delivering an event only for the code members to bully themselves into the affairs of the LOC and disrupts the preparations.

Magang warned that there is little time left before the tournament, and with that, the LOC will need all the support to ensure they deliver a successful event. She noted that hosting the regional tournament gave Botswana an upper hand of fielding more athletes that will have an opportunity to qualify for the Africa Championships scheduled for later this year.

For his part, Mabiletsa noted that they have already hit the ground running and confident that the event will be a success. The competition will be hosted in Botho College and they are in talks with Ave Maria to accommodate athletes. “Life will be made much easier for athletes if they are accommodated at Ave Maria because it is closer to the competition venue,” he said.

He explained that the zone is made up of 12 countries of Lesotho, Angola, Malawi, South Africa and Zimbabwe among others. However as of this past Tuesday, only seven had confirmed participation and they expect to finalize the logistics by the end of the week.

Meanwhile, a formidable national boxing team of eight men captained by Mmusie Tswiiige (60kg) and three ladies led by Lethabo Modukanele (48kg) will represent the country at the regional tournament.

According to the Head coach Lechedzani ‘Master’ Luza, the team has been on camp for the past three weeks. In his opinion, the team is ready to compete. “Generally, they are not bad, we need to work on a few things such as power and speed on some boxers, the defence department is also not bad,” he said.

Luza noted that Botswana has always established herself as a powerhouse and there is no doubt that majority, if not all team Botswana members will win a medal during competition time. He explained that the competition was one of the many leading to Tokyo 2020 Olympics and will give local boxers an opportunity to qualify for the Olympics.

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Branch does it again

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Local motorcycle racing sensation Ross Branch has continued his stellar form after securing overall second position in the internationally renowned Merzouga Rally. The race came to a conclusion this past weekend and Branch has proven his mettle amongst some of the best rally motorcyclists in the world.

The podium finish is expected to take the Dakar Rally racer to even greater heights in the hugely competitive and expensive sport. It has been barely two months since the talented local rider emerged as a top class racer at the Dakar Rally where he finished 13 and walked away with the fastest rookie of the 10 000 km odyssey.

At Merzouga, things seemed a little better for the rider as the terrain offer sand and rock as opposed to the treacherous dunes in Dakar. Branch who was using a different navigation system in Morocco showed his pace after winning the fourth stage of the race last week Thursday.

Prior to his podium finish Branch said Merzouga was only his second rally and he was willing to learn from some of the top riders in the sport. The KTM 450cc rider said he was now setting his sights on other major races including the 2020 Dakar Rally that has been confirmed for Saudi Arabia.

Since returning from the Dakar, Ross has stayed busy and competed at the cross-country championship in Kwazulu Natal in South Africa, where he finished fourth. The local rider is expected to compete at the upcoming 1000 km Toyota Desert Race, an event he has won more than seven times.

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