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Mzambiya thanks Matebele for lifeline

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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.   

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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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