Former Orlando Pirates and national team creative winger Phenyo Mzambiya Mongala has thanked his coach Beston ‘Quicksilver’ Chambeshi together with BDF XI management for supporting him.
The army outfit, popularly known as Matebele, gave Mongala a lifeline to continue his football career following a short and unsuccessful spell at Don Bosco in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Beginning of this season Matebele gave Mzambiya a 12-month contract to return from the wilderness and play again. Mzambiya, the once celebrated iconic star, formed the nucleus of the deadly Zebras that qualified for the first ever AFCON finals, which were held in Equatorial Guinea and Gabon.
Mongala was instrumental in the qualifiers as he scored decisive goals which catapulted the national side to win the AFCON group. Mzambiya rose to international stardom when playing for University of Pretoria” Amatuks’ when they were campaigning in the then Mvela league, the South African first division under the tutelage of Steve Barker now with Amazulu.
Memorably, things started to go well for Mzambiya; it was during the Nedbank finals against Kaizer Chiefs, a few years ago when Mzambiya won the hearts of the football masses as he made a mockery of Kaizer Chiefs captain Jimmy Tau with his dazzling skills and the latter left him unmarked in the pretext that he had a tussle and Mzambiya went on to score.
The Amatuks went on to win the finals after which different clubs began jostling for Mongala’s signature. However, the wheels started to go off for the winger when he signed for Orlando Pirates. He struggled for game time. The little action he was given was never enough as he was left wanting in match fitness.
Later on, Mzambiya was released and he joined local glamour side Mochudi Centre Chiefs where he assisted them in winning the league that year. They went on to represent the country in inter-continental tournament CAF Champions league where they ended in second round of the preliminary qualifiers.
Unfortunately their journey ended against TP Mazembe. Nevertheless Mzambiya together with the duo of Dirang Moloi and Jarome Ramatlhakwane caught the attention of Mazembe sister club Don Bosco.
After being on the sidelines for a while, finally BDF XI extended him an olive branch. In the past the army side has been known for reviving players careers, amongst others were Boitumelo Mafoko, Master Masitara and Ofentse Mmipi.
After the one-all draw against Orapa United at Itekeng Stadium, this past weekend Mongala told Sun Sports that his wish as his contract nears end, is for his bosses to extend it. He also thanked them for resurrecting his career.
Mzambiya’s experience proved handy on the day as he jelled well with new recruit Patrick Kaunda, Sadiki Takunda and seasonal campaigner Kumbolani Madziba.
Mzambiya told Sun Sports that their objective is to be in the finals of the Mascom Top 8 and was satisfied with their performance as they have scored a crucial away goal which will favour them in the second round.
Tomorrow [Thursday] Mzambiya’s experience will be tested as the army side faces relegation candidate Gilport Lions in a crucial beMOBILE premiership encounter.
Local boxers ready for regional tourney
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.
Branch does it again
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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